I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! What is a photo essay?
What is a photo essay? A cohesive body of photographs that makes a statement about a particular idea and has a point of view. I approach all of my work in this manner. I think about what makes an idea, person, place or thing interesting. The idea inspires me to think about why it is interesting, what impact it can have on our lives. In order to get past the veneer you have to commit to spending time, I don't mean an afternoon, I mean time! Days, weeks, months and in most cases years! Over the course of my career I have personal projects that I have been photographing, researching, reading about and most important of all, spending time photographing. They come and go throughout my career. It's hard to focus on one particular idea non-stop. That is why most image makers have many projects they work on over the course of their careers. It is an essential part of keeping a fresh perspective and having good eyes when you come and go from a subject.
I'M IN MIAMI BITCH, my latest project about El Barrio aka Wynwood, is my latest photo-essay. Watching a neighborhood change right before my eyes has sparked my interest and imagination. Every time I visit the neighborhood, I can't wait to see what changes have been made or occurred. What new pieces are on the streets, what houses have been torn down. What new galleries are opening and who has gotten the people's attention. There is a dialogue the artists/writers have with the street and their friends even their enemies for that matter.
In getting to the essence of my subject I like to pare things down. That means that I usually work with one camera and one lens. There is an old cliche an acronym, KISS, it means keep it simple stupid, KISS. It frees me of having to think about anything other then the subject itself. It forces you to focus, literally and figuratively. Once you can strip away all the extraneous, you can bring the viewer to the essence of the subject. That should always be the goal the idea that is at the heart of any essay. I know all of these ideas seem simple but creatives can get mired in the technical.
What is the point of this essay? There is just one. That I made all the pictures in the project with one camera, one lens and one vision.