Recently my partner and I drove across the country from Massachusetts to our new home on the West Coast — Seattle. Along the way, we found ourselves in places we never thought we’d step foot in. Chicago was an amazing city that felt so cosmopolitan. It’s like a warmer, more spacious version of New York… with a much nicer coast. And the pizza… Okay, so they aren’t that similar.
But one similarity came in how I photographed this city — from the hip. Shooting candid shots of passersby is one of my favorite things, especially when you’re in an environment where people are dressing to be seen. Check out these classic and sometimes quirky views of the “Windy City.”
Spent the early morning walking around the Back Bay. Thought I was going to do some street portraits (see them here: http://tinyurl.com/ae22ezr), but the springtime sun captured my attention more than I anticipated. Now if we could just get some leaves on the trees….
Night Lights. Got some great shots tonight of the snow and silent streets. I really love what a different world it becomes when it snows, especially at night. The way the lights reflect off the snow, and the way they take in all of the colors of the night — the streetlights and passing cars.
Taken with my Rokinon 8mm, f11, ISO100. I think there’s one HDR in there, too, for good measure.
360 degree panoramic planet of Downing Street, running through Clark University’s campus in Worcester, MA. Copyright Ashley Klann. Not to be used without consent.
Fall is such a dynamic season. Took this panoramic shot yesterday when the skies were very overcast, making the leaves pop right off the branches.
If you’re looking to learn more about this technique, visit http://www.photoguides.net/photoshopping-tiny-planets
If you’d like to see more of my planets, visit http://aeroartist.deviantart.com/gallery/39738882
Still unsure what I’m going to end up doing with these, but they’re still very inspiring.
The Vietnamese woman was a true joy. At first I thought she was misunderstanding my request to take her photo. She kept saying that there were beautiful flowers near Clark. I said, “Yes, but I like photographing people. May I take your picture?” She insisted that I walk with her to the flowers. We got to Crystal Park.
On the way we chatted. She’s lived in Worcester for 15 years. She’s from Vietnam. She doesn’t like Vietnamese people because they’re hard to talk to… and you have to be careful who you talk to on the street. (I guess I didn’t give her any bad vibes.) She was wearing a sedge hat and asked me why Americans like them so much. I said that I didn’t know. She offered to make me egg rolls next time I see her. I gave her my number and told her I’d give her a print of the photo soon.
She was very methodical in planning out the photo once we reached the park and insisted that I take a few. If one in 20 people I meet turns out like this, this project will be a thrill.
Here’s the first installation of the series of portraits, (which I’m calling for now) The Faces of Worcester. They’re shot with my Canon 50mm 1.8f lens on overcast days. I make a conscious effort to not photograph anyone I think might be a student. I ask just about everyone I pass. If they seem upset, busy, or entirely unwelcoming I don’t bother. Otherwise, I simply ask them if I may take their portrait.
Most people were fine with the idea, and it didn’t take me long to rack up over two dozen shots. The ones that decline, I wish a good day to. Usually even if they didn’t want their picture taken, they would inquire about why I was doing it, which I thought was funny.
Two things I learned today: women are way too self-conscious and Clarkies can be stuck up.
Most of the women I approached (or at least a larger percentage of them than of men) declined. I asked an older woman wearing a magenta suit jacket covered in gold broaches; she said she was too old and just waiting for the bus. She then asked my reason. I told her that I find people fascinating. She restated her previous comment, and I replied “Everyone is beautiful.” Another woman who looked Afro-Caribbean had a similar response and said that her hair was a mess. She said she would next time.
Another younger woman I asked completely ignored me, which only happened that one time. I watched her for a moment and then saw her walk onto campus.
Something else I’m learning: this project is making me less guarded. I feel like since I’ve been living in Worcester, a larger more urban area, I’ve been harboring this wall of sorts. It’s a feeling I think I should have being in this environment. Oh, don’t make eye contact unless you want to engage someone. Don’t engage anyone. This is helping me to realize how unhealthy that is. Most people are awesome.
I want to add more about my encounter with each person, but I already feel like I could write a book’s worth about each one of them. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with this series and also how I want to connect them. By emotion? How should I crop them? Sometimes someone’s outfit adds a lot to their presence; sometimes their face is the focus. Any input is appreciated!
Main South from the Clark campus. Photo by Ashley Klann.
I love the warmer weather we’ve been getting lately and the chance to open up the windows. Usually I love sleeping with the windows open, but lately I’ve noticed that it makes it incredibly hard to fall asleep. No, it’s not the traffic or sirens that I have a problem with. It’s the shopping carts full of redeemable aluminum cans that jumble down the streets of Worcester every Tuesday night.
Recently I was on my way to Traina. Usually when I put on my headphones, I’m in my own bubble, clearing my head before filling it up again in class. To my right were three people all pushing carts full of trash and cans right down the middle of the street.
Here I am a highly privileged student at a pretty well-known university. Somehow, this world brimming with flat screen TVs and expensive degrees lies next to families barely making ends meet, scratching the bottom.
Maybe it’s the socialist in me, but I can’t understand how this gap exists in a developed country. Shouldn’t taking care of these issues be our primary objective?