Return, Revisit, Rework: Finding your Fetish

This week I will be continuing to rework my large collection of images that I have archived digitally, on 35mm and now on medium format film. It is a tricky business, because sometimes you walked away a year ago from a shot that will be priceless to you now that you have new Photoshop or scanning skills to bring it alive. Other times, your best images were the result of a weird way you scanned the film, and you have to accept that wrong turn was a right one. 

Stanley Park Totem

I have also found that by looking back to what I have been doing [when I am not in a mad fit of doing] can clarify just what it is I am trying to do with photography – perhaps even my life. Sort of like my collection of fire hydrant images…for the past year I have committed to taking photos of fire hydrants EVERYWHERE I go. I read somewhere that everyone should develop a fetish for something photographic, if only to ensure that you do take photos every day. I thought about motorcycles, lingerie, shoes and storefront mannequins, but it has been the simple fire hydrant that has stuck.7B6J7956

So does anyone care about my fire hydrant photos? Will these make me millions as I travel the world and hobnob with celebrities, as I discuss the intricacies of my passion for base metal? I seriously doubt it…

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Nope. But after looking over other artist’s works on Flickr, I can honestly say that there is some wicked photos out there that I may never be able to match. I looked up bicycles, and found so many Japanese guru who shoot abandoned bikes/motorcycles all over Tokyo with their old school Hasselblad 501 c/m cameras that I just wanted to cry. Their flowers and mood pictures were uber cool, too. They didn’t care about making money – they just loved being weird enough to scout all over the city to shoot powerful images of lost things for themselves and a few fetish friends. Pretty inspiring and deflating at the same time; I am trying to turn my photography into a viable business while still chasing the light in my dreamworld. 

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Hence, we come to fire hydrants…I got the fire hydrant thing down. Sorry, but my fire hydrant images are better than other people’s fire hydrant photos I have seen thus far. I have them from Vancouver, Atlanta, Toronto, Quebec, Boston and Montreal. I am collecting a solid portfolio; building on colour, manufacturer and perspective, without just resorting to taking pictures of ones painted to look like elephants by random crafty weirdos.

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Should a veterinarian ever see the brilliance of using my work for their office, then this would make sense. Imagine 16×20 prints on Kodak Endura covering the walls of a downtown vet. Their is tongue-in-cheekedness, but it also a collection of happy images that reflect some intense engineering. I would like to imagine that doggies would appreciate the efforts to surround them with their favourite fetish item.

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It is about taking the obvious and making it anything but. 

Frankly, I kind of like these shots, because I know deep down I just do them to amuse myself and be mischevious. When I was in Atlanta, Georgia, it was the eve of the presidential election. Barack Obama was about to become America’s first black president and I was fortunate enough to be there to feel the vibe. Just as dusk was setting in, I ran out from my Holiday Inn room to shoot off a few pictures before it got crazy. It was then that I took my first fire hydrant picture. 

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As I set-up the shot, a homeless man came over to share his opinions:

“Yo man, wanna take my picture?  Man, what you doin’ takin’ a picture of a fire hydrant for?  You crazee man, nobody takin’ no pictures of fire hydrants. What’s wrong with you? Take a picture of me. They oughta lock you up, geez.”

I guess he was probably right, but no one has been able to so far, and I am doing my best to make sure they can’t. Until then…I have a Tokyo Fire Hydrant on my mind, cause there were none to be found in Paris. Not a single one.

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