this photo is a classic example as to why i’m just not really a good photographer. no patience, no willingness to watch the scene unfold through the viewfinder, no intellectual moxie when it comes to “the decisive moment.” i guess that is why there are always too many words to accompany the images around here. always searching to explain the context of my clicks of the shutter.
you see, without the context, this is just two boys running, in soccer strips, happily across the green grass. the photographer (me) is in the wrong position, behind them, missing the joy in their faces. i’m also too far away and the frame is basically uninviting. but when you know the context, or i should say, “because i know the context,” there’s something more to the image. this moment is part of a series of moments, some photographed, some not, that included sixty-eight and a half minutes of soccer, a struggle, falling behind, tying the score late and then a game winner before the 70th minute that secures promotion next season to the top league available for the team.
only seconds before this frame was captured, my boy managed to find the back of the net with 21 other boys crowded into the box. and with the goal, he sprinted out of the crowd towards the other end of the field in exaltation with teammates streaming behind. this shot captured him and the first kid to him on the sprint, touching his back in congratulations sure, but there’s so much more than just that. context–team, brotherhood, competition, battle, family, victory, relief it’s all there, i just didn’t do my job showing enough of it. but i assure you we both won’t forget the context, with or without the good photography to prove it.
in a mere two days, the struggle begins again, Spring springs into soccer season. the fun, the pain, the joy, the want, the jubilation, the disappointment. i would not trade some of these moments for anything, here’s to hours in the car for a few moments of beauty. the first weekend, the Cincy Elite College Showcase, can’t wait.
this is a late Fall image, against the #1 team in the country at our age group at the CASL tournament. there’s only one way to get better, play the best.
yes, yes, it approaches. the spring season of soccer in the midwest/south. miles on the road between kentucky, ohio, virginia, tennessee, indiana and the like. dreams of trophies and cups. and getting better, always better–ball to foot, earphones to head, foot to gas, smiles to faces. sun-up will be here before we know it and we will start that day.
i have wasted a wealth of words over the past decade pontificating about using film, cheap, plastic cameras and why i still think doing it is relevant. as the populace have adopted photography (again) as a means of communication, storytelling and narcissism with the rise in smartphone usage, somewhere between 6 & 7 our of every 10 persons in the US and UK now have one, it has become harder and harder to find images that have resonance. as i scroll through instagram, pinterest, twitter, tumblr or any other social photo environment there is no short of actual “good” photography. there’s maybe too much good photography as a matter of fact. good photography has become as disposable as the bad. between the cute puppies and the people of new york is a vast variety of fantastic lookables. you can digitally duplicate everything from tack sharp large format work to toy camera or vhs tape cruddy captures. there’s little you can’t make an image look like if you want. which brings me back to film. let’s take the above image for example. it’s pretty boring, who knows where the horizon line should be, between the parking lines, the light poles, the tree line, it’s all somewhat terrible. the face focus is soft, i’m too far away from the subject to really make this photo effective as a portrait, the limitations of my plastic lens have hampered the sharpness because of my bad guess at distance, there’s random dust specs even after i cleaned them up after scanning and all in all you could just count this frame as a throw away…
so why do i love it? i mean you can guess i might love the subject and that helps but that doesn’t really jilt my ability to judge an image…so, i am left lured by the film quality, the color, the crappy-somewhat flat contrast. and the fact that when shooting film, my frames seem, mentally, less disposable. i am just as critical of my personal work yet less willing to dismiss frames of film now without searching corner-to-corner looking for something that might say something to me. is it just about not giving up on an image just because it’s film? possibly. but i’m fine with that. for now. because i want to keep using film. i want photography to continue to take time, thought, rumor, conjecture, innuendo and a little passion. not just my phone placed 24 inches above my head to the left and my lips pouted and cheeks sucked in for something you have dubbed a “selfie.”
boy memories should always include, drizzle, buckeyes, roller coasters, faux eiffel towers, wet feet, white knuckles, your dad’s jacket and laughing at yourself and others equally.
you don’t have to be glaring into a crystal ball to know that if you work hard for something, eventually it will come to you…that thing you are always in hot pursuit of, will arrive at your feet. but can you possess it long enough to…
settle, turn and get ready to use your left. if you aren’t stuck to deep, shoot with authority or put it back post, there should be someone on their horse getting there just in time…
Labor Day weekend generally means a ton of Fall soccer. that means get your damned wheels on. continue to make the runs even if you don’t get the ball every time, because sooner or later, you will and then you have to shake them off your shoulder and go to the box. then, of course, leave something there.
fun weekend of round ball on the ground, soccer in the Cincy area as the boys from Lexington decided to go ahead and win the whole damned tournament. in roughly 280 minutes of soccer, the allowed one goal and that was in the final to the current Kentucky State Cup champion Kings Hammer Academy…nice slice of revenge to beat them soundly, 3-1. but more importantly, an apt birthday present for a kid who has truly put in one hellacious amount of soccer work over the spring and summer. this shot serves as the final photo of year 13. a gold medal around the neck, a smile at the car door, a twinkle of something accomplished in the eye. what you can’t see in the photo is me, behind the camera, proud, happy for him and his team but with a twinge of sadness as the moments of boyhood continue to dissolve right before my eyes. he grows in every way, every day.
happy birthday to us.