Wednesday, October 28, 2009


As I was strolling along Congress street in Austin, I came across a man selling his photographs on the side of a building. I stopped to look and was amazed at the quality of the pictures. We hung out and chatted for a while. He said he's been taking them with a point and click camera for 6 years.

After looking through his collection, I chose three and bought them from him for $10.

I was a happy customer with my 3 photographs from a man selling on the street. This would be the first purchase I made on this trip. As far as I am concerned, it was well worth it. I then walked into a gallery looking at more beautiful local art. When I walked in the store, I was the only person there other than the owner talking to a man seated in a chair.

As I walked closer, he stood up and said to me, "aren't those lamp shades incredible?" Since my eye was focused on things I liked looking at, I didn't notice the lampshades. I asked him, "where?" He looked at me with a puzzled eye and said in a sarcastic tone, "on the lamps." I turned to find them and when I looked back, he was gone.

As he was leaving, I heard the gallery owner say good bye to him by name. I looked closer on the shade tag and low and behold, he was the artist. But to me, he was an ass.

There is an inner artist in everyone and we have so much to learn from each other. I don't care if his art was in a museum...if he wanted to point out his work, he could have approached me in a nice manner and presented his art.

Since I was on a shopping therapy high from my $10 purchase, it got me thinking. In my eyes, the man on the street was more talented and more worthy of my money than someone featured in a gallery. When I say "someone" featured, I am referring to the ass.

In New Orleans, there were several artists on the street selling their creations. Let me tell you...this is not an easy task. Art is so subjective and it can be extremely vulnerable putting it out for all to see and sometimes openly criticize.

I've been reading a blog from another solo traveler, Tammi Dooley and she gives some photography tips I think come in handy for everyone. Each time I set out to take pictures, I think of these tips:

-If it’s not interesting, you’re not close enough. - Robert Capa.

-Don’t put the object of interest in the middle, a rule commonly called the Rule of Thirds. Offset the focal point, is easier to remember.

-Change your perspective. Get higher, go lower, or walk around to see what the scene looks like from a different angle.

-Develop your eye to search for reflection. Reflection can be created from water, mirror or glass, the cone of an airplane, a pair of reflective sunglasses, a rear view/side mirror, or someone’s retina.

My favorite tip of hers:
-Stop looking at what everyone else is doing until you’ve figured out WHAT is it YOU like.

The above tip saved me from insanity. I would get so frustrated looking at photos I loved because I didn't have the equipment for those extremely sharp, vivid images. Instead, I am taking pictures of things I like to look at. This is why you will see a lot of repetition of the same thing (as shown in my house series), birds, animals and sometimes shots of details one might overlook.

Most of all, I am having fun in the process. I would encourage you to bring out your inner artist and do something you love and that's fun for you.

Just don't be an ass.


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