Book: Photographs from the Edge of Reality: True Stories About Shooting on Location, Surviving, and Learning Along the Way
Publisher: Course Technology PTR
As I traveled around the world as a photographer, it quickly became apparent that stories such as, “I was stuck on an overnight train, sleep deprived, en route to Warsaw, Poland, as border guards were demanding my travel documents at 4 a.m. in a language I didn’t understand…,” or, “I found myself celebrating the Fourth of July with the Mexican ambassador, being serenaded by Ben Vereen…,” or, “The president looked right at me as he was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue…” all seemed surreal to friends, family, and even colleagues. Theyseemed, in fact, made up or unreal. Fortunately, my reason for being there is to document (with a camera) these circumstances seemingly from the edge of reality—hence the title of this book.
Very early in my career, I began writing dispatches and sending them off to family, usually by email, well before the age of the Internet as it is today. It saved me time, as I didn’t have to recount the stories repeatedly and chance leaving something out. Yet, over time, my life got a bit crowded, and I lost the time to do these dispatches as I used to. However, as most photographers will tell you, their photographs are not just images to them, but an instant reminder of not just what was seen through the viewfinder, but also the environment outside of the frame—from weather, to assignment challenges, to the shot that got away.
I also remember lighting setups, and on film assignments I can remember f-stops, shutter speeds, and usually focal lengths, too. It’s a form of instant recollection that I am putting down on paper here—not just to weave a tale from assignments past, but to bring these stories back to life and share with you, dear reader, what went into the assignment. The challenges overcome, the missed shots, the lighting setups, and even, in some instances, the full take, so you can see how a moment in time gets captured and selected…