Where’s Waldo, indeed.
As you know, I’ve been skulking around my archives since I can’t really moved about at will. I found this picture. I made it back around a hundred years ago. Or, 2014. It says a lot about New Orleans.
This a second line that is so closely packed that it looks as if they are a mission of some kind. Or, they are waiting for some big concert. Then, you see a tuba. Ah, you start to think.
That’s about the point when you probably should open the picture as big as you can. You’ll see things that makes New Orleans the place it is today. Look at the top of the picture at both the left and right corners. The one way signs. This is a corner, at which for no rhyme or reason, the city changed directions of the street. Imagine this pre-Katrina. This was a fully functioning neighborhood.
Then, there is Waldo. Well, not really Waldo. A photographer friend of mine. He’s right there in the middle. Sort of. See the woman wearing red pants and a black shirt? Walking just before the Cadillac car? Look just behind her head. You’ll see a guy pointing a little video camera. That’s him. Funny. I never saw him when I made the picture. But, when I downloaded and opened it up, there he was. Plain as day. Or. something like that.
The picture. These are the kinds of second line pictures I wish I could make. Always. I make a lot of “coming out the door” pictures. I’m in the middle of the scrum. That’s fine if you do it once or twice. But, after reviewing fives years of them, aside from the moment, they all look about the same.
If I look at my photographer friends’ pictures, they do too. Aside from post production techniques, most of our pictures look the same. And, why not? We all learn from each other. My goal in my last days on the street was to make something a little different. Note that. I didn’t say better. I don’t know if it’s better. I said different.
There’s a reason for the sameness. We are all working from the original template laid down by the late, great Michael P. Smith, who documented all of this for thirty years starting in the early 1980s. He generally worked from the front and tried to drift into the right place. Waldo, or Christopher Porche-West as he is really known, also started about that time. His difference came by inviting fully suited Indians into a studio and making formal portraits of them. Some of his work lives in the Smithsonian. A place, where I’m pretty certain my work will never reside.
There is also a good amount of luck in this picture. Normally, once you are inside of the bounds of the route, it’s hard to get outside. I managed to find a back door and did that. But, I didn’t come out where I hoped. That would have been at the front of the second line. Instead, I came out here.
Turns out, it wasn’t such a bad location.