Category: Storytelling

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Flickr a Week 46: ‘Coming to America: Pursuing the American Dream’

I looked through several thousand Creative Commons-licensed photos to find one to use for Veteran’s Day. Nothing moved me more than self-titled “Coming to America: Pursuing the American Dream“—active serviceman Personnel Specialist 1st Class Patrick Mbayoh. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Hall made the moment aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on July 3, 2020, using Nikon D800 and 50mm f/1.4 lens. Vitals: f/8, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 50mm.

According to U.S. Pacific Fleet, which joined Flickr in October 2009 and whose Photostream is source of the image, Mbayoh is “assigned to the ‘Kestrels’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137”. A refugee from the Sierra Leone Civil War, Mbayoh arrived in “Brooklyn, New York, in 1998”, Hall explains. “Moving to the U.S. gave Mbayoh the opportunity to pursue a life-long dream”. Joining the Navy in September 2000 opened a path to earning a college education and to repaying the nation that harbored him. The sailor gained “his American citizenship in 2003”, Hall adds. “He and his wife have a child and live in Lemoore, California. Mbayoh hopes to one day retire from the Navy and go back to school to gain his PhD”.

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Flickr a Week 43a: ‘Lunch, San Francisco 2018, GR II’

I accidentally came to the Photostream of Greg Parish by way of his compelling portrait “7“, which would have taken the Sunday spot if not for my discovering “Lunch, San Francisco 2018, GR II“; the self-title identifies year and make of the Ricoh camera. Vitals: f/8, ISO 800, 1/2500 sec, 18.3mm; April 16.

What’s not to like? Clarity, color, composition, contrast, graininess, light, shadows, texture, and tilt are recipe for a street shot that’s as tasty as the noodles the subject soon will eat. Yummy.

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An Unexpected Request

About a month ago, I observed something odd while waiting in line at the pharmacy. The gentlemen standing at the counter, who looked worse for wear, had come to pick up a prescription. But he met an obstacle. The druggist asked for identification, which the customer didn’t have and he was confused why any would be needed. “It’s a controlled substance”,  the pharmacist explained. But in a sad and naively poignant regard, the gent didn’t understand. The medicine had been prescribed for him, but he didn’t possess any kind of identity card. Please, could he have his medicine?

Unkempt, and likely a recovering addict who belonged to San Diego’s ever-growing homeless population, the guy was plaintive rather than abusive—as someone else might have been. “Come back when you have ID”, the druggist informed. The fellow stepped back from the window and approached me, waiting next in line: “Do you have ID I can borrow?”

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Flickr a Week 39a: ‘Full Circle’

Self-titled “Full Circle” marks the return of  Risto Kuulasmaa for a second profile; his amazingly lucky and appropriately named “Photo Bomber” was “Flickr a Day 183” in my 2015 series.

Risto captured what I anticipate will be the only nude contribution before we wrap up things at the end of December. He used Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens to make the moment, on May 2, 2013. Additional equipment, he explains: “430EX soft box from upper right corner” and “Hähnel Tuff TTL transmitter”. Vitals: f/4, ISO 800, 1/60 sec, 19mm.

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Flickr a Week 37b: ‘Window’

Self-titled “Window” isn’t the best street shot in the Photostream of Spyros Papaspyropoulos, but it’s the one that caught my eye and that appropriately defines his style: People, or things, that fit oddly together. His composition technique is brash and intimate—as if he were invisible and thus able to get close in to capture candid, raw, unfiltered moments.

He used Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujinon XF18mmF2 R lens for the portrait “snapped in Chania, Crete, Greece” on Aug. 8, 2018. Vitals: f/11, ISO 1600, 1/250 sec, 18mm. The image takes the Sunday spot for candor, character, color, composition, and creamy grain that adds film-like quality. From Athens, but living in Rethymno, Spyros joined Flickr in May 2008. He also is cofounder of Street Hunters—where you should go to see more of his work and that of his companion photographers.