Archive for the ‘Street Photography’ Category

The Big Easy   1 comment

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, LA

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I recently returned from a trip to New Orleans with my youngest son during his senior year high school spring break. New Orleans offered a varied mix of culture, history, food and local flavor deserving of  any southern city of its size.

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

My son and I avoided the decadence often associated with the city and instead, walked along the alley ways of the French Quarter meeting a few of the eclectic people and places along the way. Street musicians dotted the streets and entertained passerby’s as the sun warmed the day. I have always been intrigued by street performers. These are individuals who do what they love and despite the obvious financial hazards of street performing, are willing to entertain with a smile in the hopes of a small contribution to their well being.

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Eager to venture off the beaten path, we took a day to travel outside the city. At the top of our list of places to visit was the Oak Alley Plantation.  Cameras in hand, and tripod at the ready we waited until each room emptied or the view was unencumbered so that we could quickly set up the shot and take a few photographs. Strolling the grounds after our tour, we walked the length of the walkway lined by the live oaks, stopping as we went to photograph the plantation and take in the beauty of the magnificent trees.

Oak Alley Plantation

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The trip to New Orleans was a short one, but my son and I squeezed in a drive through St. Bernard’s Parish, a trip to a the marshes on Lake Pontchartrain, Oak Alley Plantation and plenty of walking through the city. We ate well and enjoyed each others company. It will be a lasting memory we will share.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

i paparazzi   Leave a comment

Dinner For Two

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I am often struck, as I travel throughout the world, how often I feel like any one place feels like another. That where I am in that moment could easily be a thousand miles away and look and feel exactly the same. It underscores how very much alike we all are. How we want the same things for ourselves and the ones we love. That we need to fill our hearts, minds and bodies with nourishment is no different today than it was 50 years ago. This scene is being repeated a million times over as you read this text. Don’t you think that’s crazy? And even more mind noodling, is that it will take place again and again and again beyond our days.

A recent epiphany came to me. According to a Google search I just conducted, the oldest person alive is 115 years old. That means that 116 years ago not a single living soul on this planet existed. No one, not one of us existed. Very likely in 116 years from now, none of us will exist then. It’s not a morbid fascination, but the realization that life really does go on and that this scene will be not much different in that foreseeable future. People eating, socializing, laughing, and crying, all the while as time goes by.

This is why photography so fascinates me. It stops that moment and cements it into history. A record of a single brief 1/125 of a sec when time stood ever so momentarily still.

Today we reflect on what was by comparing the history of things to the present. Black and white photography helps us put some perspective, albeit of an infinitesimal amount,  of that recorded history.

And so it is, that history repeats itself, and will again in the future, with or without me to help record it.

Dinner For Two

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

The Boutique Art Deco Hotels of South Beach, FL   Leave a comment

Rarely am I satisfied with my architectural photography. Buildings, cityscapes, right angles, and flat colors, offer little enthusiasm for photographic exploration for me. When compared to landscape, people, animals, even the studio, the subject of architecture is not high on my list of themes to explore. So it was indeed a rare opportunity and surprising pleasure for me to explore the Art Deco boutique hotels that neighbor one another along Ocean Dr. in South Beach, Fl.

Royal Palm Shorecrest

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Elongated parallel lines stretching into the sky with elements of color to accentuate the style suited my wide angle lens and a subtle use of high dynamic processing pulled out the detail that might otherwise have been lost to a “normally” exposed image. Partly cloudy skies, my favorite when photographing landscapes and now cityscapes, helped add just the right amount of contrast to the architecture to bring it to life.

Park Central Hotel

PAC_4218

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The nostalgia of South Beach was enhanced by the occasional hotelier who parked an antique car outside their front entrance. No doubt if this were a B&W photo, it could easily appear to have been taken in the 1930’s.  Below is an extract from Wikipedia regarding this particular style of Art Deco architecture called Streamline Moderne.

In the 1930s, an architectural revolution came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture  to the Beach. South Beach claims to be the world’s largest collection of Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture

Streamline Moderne, sometimes referred to by either name alone or as Art Moderne, was a late type of the Art Deco design style which emerged during the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements.

Breakwater Hotel

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

14th Street Restrooms

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Not to be overlooked, even the public restrooms that appear along the public beaches are styled in the Streamline Moderne motif.

Still Waters – The National Hotel

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Miami in February can still have a chill in the air and this empty pool was evidence of that. The early morning sun cast just enough of a shadow through the palm branches to make for a wonderful reflection in the still waters.

Miami Nightlife

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The night in Miami offers a completely different experience as the true life of the city emerges. I have long outgrown the desire for late nights and dancing; to be honest I never really had them, however if you are prone to shake a leg or move a hip at the hint of heart pounding dance music, this is your town.

Miami isn’t for everyone, but it is for many and for me it is a city I hope one day to return to.

Thanks for stopping by.

Little Five Points, Atlanta GA   Leave a comment

I Live The Answer

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

What is it about abandoned shoes that is so intriguing? Am I the only one who wonders about their bare footed owners? Abandonment is a pretty powerful emotion, one that conjures a multitude of feelings.  Abandoned objects make a great metaphor for these feelings, and something as intimate as a shoe does that for me.

The shoe suspended and dangling from the wire, suspends in its presence the story of its owner. The miles walked in it, the places it has been, silent like a fly watching dutifully on the wall. I can’t look at an abandoned shoe and not think these thoughts. It overwhelms me.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

There is the abandoned and there is “the” abandoned. Little Five Points in Atlanta is an eclectic mix of bars, old record stores, clothing on consignment and restaurants all coming together at an intersection that attracts every variety of person you can imagine. There are to be sure, those whose lives have fallen on hard times and for whom Little Five Points is home.

I’ve written before about how I am attracted to and afraid of street photography. This particular visit was part of a “Photo Walk”, where photographers gather for a social gathering and to take a few photos. I felt uncomfortable taking this particular photo, but that discomfort was soon overshadowed by the gravity of the life of these two men whose life I stepped into for but a brief moment.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

Aptly named “reflection” this last image completes the triptych. I suppose I could wax on about the masks, the reflections, the sense of luxury and the hollowness of the mannequins, but it was only when I brought them together for this post did the irony hit me. Art and photography should challenge our sensibilities, it should reflect our emotions and feelings and it should juxtapose one realty with another.

Automobile Parts   Leave a comment

I’m a car guy with a non car wife, which makes me a practical car owner with impractical car dreams. 🙂

Exotic or antique cars are one of those items that make no sense to own other than the pure thrill and joy of riding and the aesthetic of a beautiful curved painted piece of metal barreling down the highway. Very close to where I live, on the first Sunday of every month, a local car show is held in an empty parking lot. I love old cars and have always longed for a 1965 Cobra (replica of course, since an original costs millions). There are always a few at the show and I am including a few pictures here. I also love the way the color and reflections of cars photograph and whenever the opportunity arises, I look for an interesting angle, reflection or closeup.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 
 
 
© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 

A couple of years ago I went to Universal Studios with the family and located in the 1950’s era theme park were the cars pictured below. It’s just too bad they don’t make cars like this today.

 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
  
 
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 

Throughout my travels, I have stumbled upon rusty old beauty’s like the ones below. Wow, if these cars could talk. I can only imagine the miles they each traveled and the stories of the many roads and occupants whose paths they crossed. Photographing in HDR brings out all the character and color of these cars and I love how the rusty clunkers are brought back to life in these images. I’ll keep photographing old cars and maybe one day I may own one. You’ll see me with the top down, screaming like a little girl. 🙂

 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 
 
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 
 
 
 
 © 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 
 

Working Hands   Leave a comment

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 

Reflecting on yesterday’s blog entry, I was reminded of a photograph I took last year while on a trip to Charleston, SC.

Up until the time I was 8 years old, my bedroom window looked out, beyond the safer boundaries of my backyard, onto a cemetery. It was not a morbid fascination I developed back then to the mysteries of death and of our society’s burial rituals, but an attraction to  the sense of place being in a cemetery so vividly creates for me. With a surname like Coffin, I guess it only stands to reason that I should be so fascinated.

On the day this photograph was taken, I wandered, as I often do, into the midst of a cemetery filled with the heavy weight that the symbols of our passing bring to us. All that was missing was a light fog rolling onto and gently over the tombstones and final resting place of so many souls, to set the scene as I experienced it that day.

Much to my surprise, as I rounded the bend of the church that stood in front of the graveyard, I almost literally stumbled into the man who sat idly and eerily quiet in front of me, resting himself and finding a peaceful quiet in the midst of the city of Charleston. I was, regrettably, afraid, an emotion one feels when confronted with the unexpected. I took pause not to disturb him, stepped back a few steps, lifted my camera and snapped a couple of pictures. He did not move a muscle, and I could feel my breath getting heavier for fear that my intrusion might also startle him.

I was filled with a multitude of emotions that are as fresh for me now as they were then. It was clear he was a working man; hands calloused by labour I could only imagine. The hood of his jacket lifted over his head to give warmth during the cool early morning hours. His shoulders pressed forward and his posture symbolic of the hopelessness of his fate and yet it was his hands, clasped and solid, strong and unflinching that have stayed with me since.

I slipped out of the cemetery unnoticed and left him as I found him, but I was not as I had arrived. Who was he and what brought him to “this” place? I wonder what those hands are laboring at today.

The Decisive Moment   1 comment

Henri Carti-Bresson has always been an inspiration to me. His iconic image “Behind-the-Gare-Saint-Lazare-1932”, shown here, is the quintessential example of the decisive moment. The moment when light hits film and epitomizes the peak of the scene observed in front of the photographer in the frame of his camera.

I have written in the past that I tend to be less technical and deliberate on compositional rules than I am for instance on tone and color. I am  inspired by Carti-Bresson when it comes to the moment in time that best represents what I see and feel and am keenly aware of the very moment when I press the shutter release and what is happening in time and space in front of the lens.

Walking by …

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography
 

As I was setting up this image, in the corner of my eye, I observed the man about to enter the frame. Walking briskly in shadow and without notice of me on his right across the street, I clicked one frame. There are a few things compositionally wrong with this image, yet it resonates with me. I wish I had framed it better to include the bottom of his leading foot for example. This particular image is a visual juggle for me. The shadows falling on the facade of the building juxtaposed with the silhouette of the walking man.

Finally, I am left wondering who was this guy, where was he going and where is he now. The photography of strangers always leaves me with these questions. The image is all that is left to document a moment when our paths crossed, and he will forever be a stranger to me.