Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The eyes have it

Photographing people can be a real joy and at the same time one of the most difficult things to do. I enjoy the people pictures I take that capture something about the individual being photographed. Personalities can be captured at times with a depth that surprises me. Perhaps it is a moment frozen in time when a particular bit of expression shines through a normally impassive facade. Other times I'm photographing people, particularly children, who are amazingly expressive and their emotions are changing from moment to moment. This really shows on their face an in their eyes, and my job is to capture that expression.

Last weekend I went out looking for pictures about halloween in small towns. I wasn't sure what I was looking for but I followed a route east from Tucson towards New Mexico and I ended up spending the night in Silver City, NM with a stop in Wilcox, AZ along the way.

When I got to Wilcox, I looked for houses with unusual decorations, in fact, it was a windy day and I looked for the effect of the wind on hanging skeletons and giant plastic pumpkins. Not finding much I went down to the old part of town, along the railroad tracks where there are a few stores and restaurants. I was surprised to see the main street closed off and a number of people dressed in 1880s old west style clothing so I asked one of them when the shootout was going to happen. To my surprise, the guy said 2 o'clock. I got to talking to some of the actors, they were interested in me because I had my camera, and ended up shooting some informal portraits of some of the group before the actual shootout began. The person leading the event asked me if I would take some photographs of the action during the play and I agreed, for me, this is fun.

Marshall Marshal Bo (and shotgun)
After getting various phone numbers and e-mail addresses from the folks who were interested in photos I packed up and headed for Silver City, NM. I had read in the online New Mexico calendar of events that there was an event planned in Silver to benefit the restoration of the old Silco theater downtown. I lived in Silver City from 1962 to 1966 and I didn't remember the Silco, when I was there the Gila theater was open downtown and that was it. When I arrived, Bullard street downtown was closed off for a block surrounding the Silco and they were having a vintage car show in the street. I started asking folks to pose with their cars because I like these sort of portraits of people with something they are proud of. I had to hunt around to match owners to cars, everyone was milling around and owners were not standing by their cars. The guy in the photo below was very nice to me, he let me photograph him and then he went around an hunted up other owners so I could photograph them too.

A very nice guy with his old truck, I don't remember his name.

I got to talking with the guy in charge of the restoration effort on the Silco theater and he gave me a tour of the place, even taking me into the basement to show me how a flat floor had been installed in the 1960s when the building was used as a furniture store. Under this flat floor, still remains the sloped theater floor and even a bunch of the old theater folding chairs are still down there waiting to be revived when the flat floor is removed. He ended up asking me to send him photos from the event and I was happy to oblige since I think the Silco restoration is a great project for downtown Silver City.

And, just because I'm talking about photographing people, and because I have a friend with a two year old daughter with personality plus, I'll include a photo, taken recently, of Cecilia Emily. I've been photographing her since a few days after she was born. Truly, the eyes have it.

Cecilia Emily Pasek

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