Life Behind The Lens
Ask me anything
A guy in braids drawing a guy in shades…
Jayson, also known as Robot DJ 6, was drawing a comic book style caricature of this young man outside of the Star Clipper shop on Sunday & I couldn’t help but stop & watch. As I checked out all of his video game inspired tattoos & immense talent I thought about the fact that we all have so many different talents & very few of us have a forum to show them to the world. I guess this is mine. For Jayson, it’s a folding table on the sidewalk. For his stage persona, Robot DJ 6, it’s probably in a club behind a mixing board. For the man being drawn it could be something equally awesome, but we all have a talent to display. I’m thankful that I have this space to share my passion. Talent is debatable, but passion I have. :)
His name is Al & I have a few pics of him, but yesterday we got the chance to chat a bit…
I asked him if he was on the internet & he explained that his son takes care of all that stuff for him because he’s “too old & dumb” for that. I told him that that was a completely untrue statement. We giggled a little & then he said that his boy had given him a newer TV than the old console he had & that he had to watch a couple of movies immediately because the picture was so beautiful.
What he said next was what made me smile. He said, “I am gonna have to learn this internet thing though because my son showed me some videos of some newer jazz & blues musicians on that YouTube place & I need to watch more. What I could learn from watching those guys would be worth the pain of learning the computer.”
NEVER stop learning, doing, trying… LIVING!
Thanks for the chat, pic & life lesson, Al! :)
"My name is Ryan, but my friends call me Green Bean!"
He teaches at the music shop in the Loop & just before I took this shot he outwardly hit on a young lady strolling down the strip. Haha We had a good laugh when he asked if I caught that. He was good spirited with a great smile. Talent never hurts either. Even if he didn’t get the girl this time, I’m sure he’s well on his way! Thanks for the laugh, Ryan! :)
I love this guy! He always says something like, “Hey beautiful!” or “Your smile always makes me happy!” when I pass him. I’ve taken several shots of him over the past couple of years & it’s always a great interaction. He sings the blues in a very raspy & unique way & I admire his passion. Whether he’s just being flattering for a tip or whether he truly means the things he says to me doesn’t matter because it always makes me feel good & I appreciate that about him.
I’m often asked if I give money to the street performers/homeless people in the city. The answer isn’t complicated…
I tip those who are performing because they are entertainers & if I can get something small in the belly of someone who needs it, I’m happy to do so. There are many who don’t agree with that or who are skeptical about what may be done with the gift, but here is the way I view that…
It is not up to me what happens to that money or that gift card, food, etc. Once it leaves my hands, it’s not my concern. My part is done. I did a kindness & I fulfilled my portion of the transaction. Where it goes now is up to them & it’s not my place to judge their character, where they are currently in their journey or what got them there. I’ll leave that to a higher power. None of us are that far removed from poverty, believe me. Give or don’t give. It’s not my place to tell anyone what’s right for them. :)
So I walked into Sunshine Daydream in The Loop, turned to my right & was greeted by this… and it was not at all unusual for this hippie store! :) I love this area for it’s unique shops & awesome people!
What would I do if I didn’t have this outlet? I can’t even imagine how boring life would be. Get out & LIVE, people!
He hadn’t seen the bath water for a little while, he had a lot of his worldly possessions with him, he played & sang from his soul & all he cared about was that I made sure to get his pooch in the shot.
No matter where you are in life, remember that it could be worse & to be thankful & cherish the things that bring joy to your life. Sometimes they’re all you have.
Driving or walking by this gorgeous mural of Nelson Mandela, that was painted by the great Peat Wollaeger, always puts a huge smile on my face! It is located on Cherokee St. (which is fitting) & it stands as a reminder to be kind & to stand up for the things you believe in. This incredible man was & still is a beacon of hope & a symbol of resilience & strength in a difficult world. Those are the humans I most admire.
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
~ Nelson Mandela
4 Hands Brewing - St. Louis, MO
I wish I could accurately describe the smell in these craft breweries. To a craft lover, it’s just plain delicious. These people take such pride in their product. The business & consumer parts of me both applaud that. It’s a labor of love to do things the right way with a little creativity in the mix. It doesn’t hurt that they usually have people working in them that appreciate the arts & are totally cool with me shooting whatever I want. :)
Now that’s a tasty tasting flight! Thanks 4 Hands Brewing, as always, for the delicious beer & awesome service. Good beer, good people. I’m down with that!
Sometimes as a street photographer you find yourself in awkward situations. The gentleman with the facial piercings was becoming increasingly agitated when I shot this photo. Everyone had an eye out for what he might do next & it turned out to be just some odd behavior before someone in the crowd rushed him away from the area.
Although many people think this should scare me or make me apprehensive about shooting in the city I love, it doesn’t. People are people & when you put a lot of them together, things sometimes get strange. It’s a fact of life.
Despite the fact that I grew up in an area that had a slight fear of anything city, I have a healthy curiosity for it & I’m incredibly thankful for that. The world is full of interesting stories & awesome humans. The sketchy events are very few & far between in my world of street photography & the positive moments FAR outweigh the negative ones.
In other words, whatever risk some think I may be taking, I don’t see what I do that way & hopefully never will. I could step in front of a bus tomorrow, but that doesn’t make me want to stay in the 4 walls of my address. Life is for the living & I plan on doing just that. :)