Category: People

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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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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.

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Brother and Sister

Uncle Arnie passed away last night, Eastern Daylight Time, in Northern Maine. He was 74. Three years ago today, we lost Mom, his sister. Their bond tightened as they aged, and I wonder about the strange synchronicity of one sibling departing on August 4 and the other on the 5th.

My strongest personal memory of Uncle Arnie is him yelling at me and my being perplexed by his reaction. He was known to be cool-headed. I was as old as 12 and about to cross the street in front of my grandparent’s house to the neighbor’s place when he screamed “Joey!” with supreme urgency that caused me to stop and turn towards him just as a car topped the hill and roared past. Uncle Arnie almost certainly saved my life that summer’s day. He gave me one hell of a scolding and sent me inside.

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Flickr a Week 32: ‘Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park | Deltron 3030 Concert Spectator’

The last of three consecutive entries discovered searching for “spectator” demonstrates how to get close in from far away. Michael Tapp captured self-titled “Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park | Deltron 3030 Concert Spectator” on July 19, 2014, using an unidentified Sony Alpha camera (presumably) and Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 lens (certainly). If I owned an interchangeable lens camera, rather than fixed Leica Q2, 135mm would be my go-to focal length on Prime glass—as it was during the mid-Noughties when shooting Canon EOS 20D.

With “social distancing” the norm for the foreseeable post-pandemic future, time is right for street shooters to rediscover the mighty telephoto. A good one-thirty-five closes the distance—more so on APS-C cameras when applying the crop-factor—while delivering sharp detail and beautiful bokeh. Michael’s portrait is a keeper for both and excellent use of natural light. Unfortunately, EXIF isn’t available, which is typical of his photos; some photographers choose to expunge the metadata.