I’m on my front porch in my fave spot looking at sand and wind and light. Darkroom ready to roll. So yea it’s a bit of nostalgia time before I hit the road again soon for a 6 week marathon. This was my first cover for NatGeoMagazine back in ’73 when I was 29. Whew! That big 30 was coming fast and I was a passionate dude. This was shot not far from where I sit OBX (also later a story in NatGeo).This boy “progging” ,going after blue crabs in the marshes on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay, helped change my life since the editors loved my first story and it had been my proposal. So I was on a roll. Yet secretly I wasn’t proud of this picture. Wasn’t my style. It was “funny” and I wanted to be taken seriously. Besides it was a horizontal cropped vertical and that killed me too. Yet overall the essay was laid out by Bill Garrett and was beautifully done. So I was in. This after 8 years of hard scrabble and married with two sons.The family of course was with me for part of this assignment and led to a pattern of us going all over the world together for NatGeo and others. Anyway I’ll post right now a few pictures from my first big magazine story. Oh yea, by the way this was an isolated culture of 875 people fishermen and families and 5 times a week church goers and no alcohol no cars and mostly no pictures allowed. Always my favorite kind of work. #tangierisland#chesapeakebay #kodachrome
It was a teary eyed moment last year @look3festival when Lois Liggins joined LOOK curator Kathy Ryan @kathyryan1 and I onstage for the launch of “Tell It Like It Is” a book I originally shot in 1967 when I was a grad school student. Lois was on the cover then and now when she was 7 yrs old and now 57. Lois told the audience in the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville Va. about the experience of having me spending a month photographing her family at home in Norfolk,Va. The LOOK3 photo fest has been a favorite destination for me since it’s beginning as a backyard show and tell at the home of Reba Peck and Michael Nichols @michaelnicknichols . It has grown and flourished and become a true international photo festival. Check it out this June 13-19 if you haven’t been prior. Top talent, terrific exhibitions, and workshops are the order of the day. Photo by @tomdalyphoto #look3
This is one of the weirdest pictures I have ever taken. I felt really weird taking it. It’s totally a found picture. All I did was reach in my bag, take out my camera, aim and shoot. Yet it was totally eerie since I had photographed this same Barbie doll about 3 years ago. Washed up in the yard of my photographer friend Mike Halminski after a hurricane . Scroll back 2-3 years on my stream here and you will see the proof. That was strange too. Barbie dolls are just scary, right? Anyway the rope is just there holding Mike’s canoe. Randomly looped. He’d put Barbie in the branch sometime after the hurricane. He had no interest in photographing her because he shoots wildlife but I did ask his permission. He just shook his head smiling. Anyway this photo has no hidden meaning , isn’t part of any project , and will most likely fade away. Yet I keep looking at that one blue shoe. And her laugh. Weird.
Rodanthe NC. May 2016. #outerbanks #storm #rodanthe
My two long time friends from the Bronx River Projects, Raza Ruckus @ruckushotboy and Uptown ( with his daughter). Ruck and Uptown write lyrics, rap, record. They both were incarcerated when they were 18 for a crime they both did commit. 10 years hard time. 10 years writing lyrics as well. I met them both when they were just out,28, and free and aiming for a better life. As felons not so easy. Yet they invited me into their world and homes and I invited them into mine. For a year we hung tight shooting in the Bronx and they are featured in my book “Living Proof” along with Kanye West, LL KoolJ, Snoop, Ice Cube and others who they would fantasize to become. Yet none of those superstars have ever been invited to rap at the National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium. Yet I made sure Ruck and Uptown went to the center stage of NatGeo. Whenever those two hit any stage they owned the audience regardless of demographics. What a hit they were!! All the lyrics in my book are theirs as well. Unfortunately I’ve lost touch with Uptown but I’m still in touch with Ruck. I cannot thank these two gentlemen enough for taking good care of me in their territory. At all times of night and day. I wish them both safe passage always. 🎈#southbronx #bronxriverprojects #rappers #hiphop
Paris, France. From my book “Living Proof” and story in NatGeo Magazine documenting the international HipHop scene. These guys may look a bit tough to some , yet they were Algerian rappers who very kindly took me into their world in the northern neighborhoods of Paris. Yet when I went in unknown ,this dude pulled out his knife and he put it right to my face. Yes, a moment of fear but I didn’t flinch. Then he gave me a hug and put it to his face and I took the picture. These guys are artists, poets, who are simply trying to express themselves through rap and clearly influenced by the movement started in the South Bronx by artists like Afrika Bambaataa and DJ Kool Herc. To work on this project the first thing I did was to read read read. I read the lyrics of all the rappers I could get my hands on because I honestly couldn’t always get it by just listening to the music. I learned a lot as I always do by digging in a bit and absorbing a culture that was so different from my own. The enlightenment of course comes in finding the basic kernel of humanity in all. We are all dealt different cards. Those who are born into oppression will express themselves by any means possible and rap originally was the artistic expression of the oppressed. Later of course rap ironically became commercialized and went mainstream as did the blues. It all goes back to the picture posted before this. A sequence of historical events creating an art form not to be denied. Some people ask me ” how, why, do you go into these dangerous neighborhoods?” My feeling is that if you treat people with respect , respect comes right back to you. Sure, you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time as anywhere. Yet it’s the job of documentary photographers to at least try to get it right. With respect .#hiphop #rappers #paris @magnumphotos
Retro. From my book “Living Proof”. Here on the West African shore where slaves were sold and shipped to Bahia, Brazil. On board those slave ships were griots like Jali with his kora ( left). Griots are the verbal scribes of Africa. Using kora and drum and voice to tell all that is known from where man began. Africa. For generations they’ve passed on history, reported the news, sung love songs, and been spiritual centers for their tribe. Held highly in society. The call and response beat, rhythm and message led to gospel, blues, jazz, reggae, rock n roll and modern rappers like the singer on the right. This night the two friends jammed on this beach in Senegal very near The Gambia River, the highway of slavery for the Spanish and Portuguese. A dark part of human history. Yet at this sunset jam were nothing but good vibes,a joy, a peace, a wholeness of spirit that deep felt music brings. I really believe that it’s art that saves us from our dark side. Or at least tries. These two even rapped a verse or two as a friendly message to me and to my lifetime Egyptian friend @laura_eltantawy who was shooting with me at the time. There are just some moments that cannot be described except by the word “magic”. This was such a time. #Senegal#gambiariver #griot #kora #rapper
Luckenbach, Texas. Just a wee bit south of Texas dead center. Hill Country. Well, just country. In the middle of the day, on a hot tin roof, struts the now famous Luckenbach rooster. Not far away is his soul mate hen just a branch or two up in the oak tree watching his every move. Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson probably summed it up best with “Luckenbach Texas” recorded in 1977 with these lyrics “The only two things in life that make it worth livin’ Is guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women I don’t need my name in the marquee lights I got my song and I got you with me tonight Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love”… I’d just spent two days watching love manifested in a wedding, so the lyrics and the rooster and the country vibe all made sense to me.#texashillcountry #luckenbachtexas
LeAnne and Matt Boyd have been married for less than a minute and walk up the aisle in the Texas Hill Country just as the sun goes down ( lucky for this photog). Matt is on the pro golf tour and LeAnne is a teacher. I wish them both a loving life together.