Author Archives: Melinda Green Harvey
If you are driving through Carlinville, there’s a very good chance you’ll spot the 1860’s-era Macoupin County courthouse. It’s tall. It has a dome. It’s beautiful.
Or rather, it’s beautiful, as long as you don’t look at it closely. A close look reveals that things are worrisome over at the courthouse. The stone balusters are breaking apart, falling to pieces. There’s one place where the stairs have collapsed. Other places, pieces of the stone have just let go of the building. The longer you look, the more damage you see and the worse shape you understand the building is in.
It seemed like a metaphor for, well, a lot of things.
One of my previous careers was in the field of mass transit. The career didn’t end well* and I moved along to something else. But I do still notice buses and bus operators. And if reflections cross faces in an interesting way, all the better.
*So what happened was that I got fired. But that opened up a chance at my new career, which is truly the best career and job that I could have ever hoped for. So, from that angle, that whole transit career ended very well indeed.
This guy? It’s legendary Chicago gossip-columnist Irv Kupcinet, gesturing across the river to the former location of the Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked for more than 50 years. The statute (Preston Jackson was the scupltor) was installed in 2006, on what would have been Irv’s 94th birthday.
If you were here yesterday, you saw my great confession about how I’ve totally pissed away a lot of photography years by refusing to photograph people.
And I am still sticking with that assessment.
This is the story of one thing I got right and another thing that I got wrong.
Almost from the beginning of thinking of myself as a photographer, I was steadfast in my refusal to photograph people. I just…didn’t. What I pretended was an Important Artist Decision™ was mostly just me being an idiot, being too afraid to try, being afraid someone might notice me or challenge me or yell at me or whatever. That’s the part I got very, very wrong.
The part I got right was that I needed to be in places that were more populated, where there were lots of people out on the streets doing their things. Lubbock is not exactly a pedestrian-friendly place, so on top of not being a huge city, no one is really outside and it’s hard to find subjects and harder to blend in, to be patient about waiting for something photo-worthy to happen.
So, earlier in the summer when I was in Chicago, I went for a photo walk with a street photographer that I’d met on Instagram, and he was kind enough to share his favorite locations with me. And then, later in the week, I ventured out on my own and discovered that street photography is, in fact, something that I can do.
Now I am trying not to think about how many good photos I’ve missed over the years because I was too afraid to push myself.