Kicking In The Swinging Doors Of A Cowboy Bar

In his compassionate essay on Robert Frank, Joel Sternfeld, remembers:

"I thought about the apocryphal tale of the young Robert Frank kicking in the swinging doors of a cowboy bar in Nevada, hollering in 'you mother fuckers,' before taking the picture and then running like hell."

After reading this I can't help but return to an idea which has been running through my head lately and is the basis of a new project, photographing your fears. There have been countless times I have sat in my car psyching myself up, telling myself not to be afraid, as common sense has been abandoned long ago, that I must do this, why it is I feel the need to wander down the dark alley at 4am with this big camera on my shoulder I don't know, but I know I have to. The camera gives me the reason and exploits this curiosity in me, this desire to explore, wander and get myself in trouble, the camera is a door into another world. I live in two worlds, one with the camera and one without. I don't imagine Frank would have yelled you mother fuckers into a bar and then ran away without a camera around his neck, just as I don't usually hang out in dark alleys in the middle of the night without my camera. Somehow the camera makes it OK, makes it "safe," many times people just come to me, as if they are being pulled to the camera, or somehow it makes it OK for them to invite me, a complete stranger, into their home and proceed to tell me their story and allow me to explore the privacy of their home. These moments and experiences which are translated onto film are the convergence of my two worlds.

On a side note: Joseph Brugger, a Philly photographer I met at FotoFest, did one of the best impressions of me I have ever seen, and for some reason everyone has an impression on me. At FotoFest this year I would sit by myself and go over my notes and things in my head before I had my review sessions. Again, psyching myself up. Apparently, this came off a bit usual to folks and Joseph said (before Dave introduced us) he and everyone else wouldn't go near me because I looked like a fighter getting ready in the locker room before a championship belt fight. I had this crazy look in my eyes and I would then get up and grab my portfolio and walk straight into the conference room like I was walking into the ring, theme music and all. I wish I would have recorded this, Joseph had me dying non stop for a week.