A shoutout for my local friends here in the Outer Banks NC. I sat down at home last week with the “Bokeh Bros”., Rich Coleman and Ryan Mosser, @bokeh_bros for an interview . See link in their profile to hear the podcast. They are both photographers here and do podcasts on photographers and other creatives. Thanks Rich and Ryan. Come back anytime. @bokeh_bros]]>
Jockeys Ridge, Outer Banks NC early morn 4/25/17]]>
Nairobi 2004. My photo essay about a new Africa for NatGeo Magazine. At a Nairobi party a 23-year-old lawyer, Khadija Hassan Kanyare, stands ready to make a difference. “My grandparents had to put up with colonialism,” says Hassan Kanyare. “Now we have to put up with with dictators who bully and berate people who have nothing. Hopefully, my generation can do something about it.”]]>
Retro: From my photo essay on Nairobi in 2004. “I like school,” says 11-year-old Mary Akinya, smiling shyly in her Sunday best just after church in Kibera. “I like reading in Kiswahili [Swahili].” Chances are, Mary wouldn’t be attending school except that Kenya’s newly elected government introduced free primary school education in 2003. About 1.7 million children previously excluded from the system are now enrolled. “I am reading a story about a cheetah, elephant, zebra, and lion. They are fighting over who is strongest. But the zebra is the smartest and he wins.”]]>
In 2004 I was sent to Nairobi. Unbelievably my first Africa assignment. I had done extensive work in SE Asia and in the Americas , yet Africa had escaped me. So I hit Nairobi a raw untried unschooled neophyte. Africa was a speciality for so many and I was pitching stories in the Spanish world anyway. Yet when I was offered Nairobi as part of an all Africa issue for NatGeo, I jumped. I always try to add a bit of adventure to anything , so I went to Nairobi as a street photographer BUT with 1500 wattseconds of strobe power and a 6 foot by 6 foot softbox. So with an assistant to help with the light I hit the streets. Nobody in their right mind would think they could “hang” in the bustle hustle muscle of Nairobi with that rig. Yet I did. I wanted to light up my portraits. Make them glow. This man was on his way to church. Preacher man. Sundays in Kibera a magic moment. Mud streets smoke filled air open sewers did not keep the locals from being well groomed and spotless on Sundays. Praise the Lord. I asked this one preacher to please wait for a few moments while I photographed him. Yet the railroad tracks are also a popular foot path. So many people entered the frame. Just what I hoped. 4-5 shots and my time was up. Pressure. No room for error no time and I loved this preacher man. In those moments you pray.]]>
India is a hard place to shoot. Not because there is nothing to shoot, but because there is so much to shoot. The country is filled to the brim with colorful buildings and interesting people. It can almost feel like shooting fish in a barrel. Go during the Holi festival and things get easier. The country is now engulfed with colored powder and dyed water. People fill the streets in celebration of good over evil and the coming of spring. Going into a situation like this, it can be easy to shoot at anything and everything, but I really wanted to shoot something different.
I went to India with the idea to shoot one camera with a single prime lens. This allowed me to concentrate only on the moments that fit my focal length and also saved me from chasing images that were never going to work. I didn’t have a specific story in mind while shooting, but knew I wanted the images to work in a series as well as be able to stand alone. To do this, I considered the light to be king. If there wasn’t interesting light on the subject, it didn’t make the cut. What I was left with are a set of images that are held together by the light they share.
Jason Vinson is rated as one of the top 100 wedding photographers in the US and Canada. Based in Northwest Arkansas, him and his wife run the photography company Vinson Images. They specialize in Creative and documentary photography and are inspired by light and moments.