Photographs of New York ’cause that’s where I live

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About Dave

I have worked as a screenplay writer, taxi-cab driver, bus-boy, can-carrier in a movie lab, custom color lab printer, programmer, and lighting director on feature films (the entire list of jobs is too depressing to list).

Part of what propelled me back into photography (after my programming stint) was the belief that a properly mounted and framed photograph was a finished product.

Whether anyone saw it. Whether anyone bought it. No matter. It existed. It was complete. Photographs don’t need a committee of producers or vice-presidents to give them the okay. In the beginning, I was very happy to simply show my work to friends, and not try to make a business of it.

I kept getting promoted in the programming world - but wasn’t getting any satisfaction from it (to put it mildly). So I began my little experiment with selling photography.

Where did it all start?

I had my first darkroom when I was fifteen. I think that I was introduced to photography at a community center in the Bronx, but I’m not sure. I am now middle-aged; possibly old. About 25 years ago I began to work seriously at photography.

I have only done black and white photography, trying to capture those little ordinary moments of city life that are extraordinary without either denigrating or glorifying people. I still shoot carefully composed shots on a tripod once in a while.

There are some large format and medium format photographs on the site, taken at a time when I was still developing my craft, studying the Zone System technique, and learning how to print. I went through a year with digital cameras, then returned to film.

Where did you study black and white photography?

I didn’t attend any photography school or work under the tutorship of any established photographers. What I know has been learned the hard way through trial and error. I did spend two years at NYU Graduate School of Film and Television where I learned a great deal about lighting techniques from a fine Hungarian cameraman, Other than that, I am self taught.

I don’t really believe that you need to go to school to learn photography. It is more important to have something interesting to say about life, or if not interesting funny. When people ask me where to study photography, I tell them to study literature or music instead. And I’m serious about that.

Who or what inspires you?

I believe in the 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration motto. Or as one of the Westons said, ‘most of photography is drudgery’. There are, brief flashes of inspiration. When I began doing a lot of street photography, I was inspired by ‘A Vanished World’ by Roman Vishniac, and practically anything by Andre Kertesz. I don’t consider them street photographers - but photographers who shot on the street.

What Equipment and film do you use?

Photographers often want to know this. I have taken great pictures with a $90 Canonet (had one of the sharpest lenses I ever owned) and lousy pictures with more expensive equipment. After many years I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes the equipment is important, but has to be related to what you want to capture.

The images on this site have been taken with everything from a 4 x 5 camera, to a point and shoot. I used the Contax G2 for a long time. Then the Leica M6, the Elan 7.

Current Camera: Canon 40D w/ Sigma 30mm f1.4 and a few other prime lenses.

Why Sell on the Web?

After doing a couple of gallery shows where prints sold in the $700 - $1500 range, I realized that I wanted to reach a wider audience. I also wanted to be able to offer a larger selection. A typical gallery show might show 15 pieces, if that. On the web I can offer hundreds of prints at what I consider reasonable prices. Plus, I don’t like standing around eating cheese and sipping wine and chatting endlessly about the prints on the gallery wall.

Thanks - And I would like to thank all the visitors to this site who have written to me to say how these straight-forward black and white photos have moved them. The response has been very overwhelming, and it is truly appreciated.

[And yes, this is my sole means of support and I have been selling prints on the web since the last century - 1999 to be exact].


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