Whenever I have a day off from work, I think that I might venture out to take some photographs on the street. And I think about my usual spots. Lincoln Road. Ocean Drive. Washington Ave. And then I think that there’s nothing I’m going to see in those locations that is vastly different from anything I have already seen and photographed. I spent three years shooting with fierce intensity life on this beach, day after day. And while, yes, the scene changes with every second on the street, after a while the originality of it all dissipates.
I go out on occasion and find inspiration but nothing sticks with me the way it did in the past. It’s disconcerting.
So the challenge I face now is either to see the streets of South Beach in a new light (possibly after dark which I don’t see as happening very often – and by the way, while Fever and I have always had greatly different styles, his photography remains the gold standard for street photography at night, hands down, setting the bar extraordinarily high; damn, I wish he was still here) or to reach deeper inside myself and try to see the beach with different eyes. Something beyond whatever appears before me.
I was perusing some photographs of some other local street photographers recently and came across an image that was depressingly similar to one I had shot a couple of months back. What was particularly depressing about it was that the exact location of the photo wasn’t even here on the beach. It was at Domino Park in Little Havana where I have been exactly one time in my five years here.
Granted, Domino Park is a fairly small area and really, the opportunity for photography there is fairly slim. But seeing that photo served as a sort of reminder that it’s all been done before and it will all be done again and again, by me and other photographers shooting the streets of South Beach and Miami. How many thousands of photographs have possibly been taken of the lifeguard shacks on South Beach? Of the exotic cars? Of the homeless? Of the shifting set of unique characters of South Beach?
I have debated internally over the past couple of years embarking on a 365 project, the object of which is to take at least one photo a day for a year. In earlier years, taking photos 365 happened naturally without thought or effort, year after year. But today I’m stalled. So perhaps it might help. Maybe I’ll do that. Or at least do it until I hit a consistent groove.