Looking And Seeing

A giant mural.

I read about this mural. One of the three local newspapers published a short story about it. I knew that it was located in Central City. I wasn’t sure where.

Looking for it by driving around wouldn’t work. Central City is a big place. So I waited. I was relentless.

I was on my way to a second line that started about three blocks away from this house. I didn’t know that at the time. I was looking for a place to park. There it was. I parked. I photographed it. Too bad that little black car was in front of the mural. No matter. I made it part of the picture. That’s the seeing part.

I photographed it. I photographed the second line. I photographed a few other things on my way. That’s where my beer drinking Santa was found. That’s also the seeing part.

When a young photographer seeks my advice I usually tell him or her not to edit in the field. Usually that means don’t delete images on your SD card. It also means not to be so focused on the event at hand that you miss something along the way.

I say that your head should be swiveling around, looking and seeing subjects on the way to your destination.

There is another reason for looking as I do. It’s important. It’s for your own safety. Carrying a bunch of expensive camera gear might be an invitation to a mugging. If you see a bad guy coming you can take evasive action. That might mean something as simple as crossing the street so you can be seen. You might head towards a group of people. You might have to take more drastic action in order to defend yourself.

That’s pretty much about life, itself. If you see an event coming — good or bad — you can do something about it. Or not. That’s up to you.

The picture. You know how I found it. Mostly by luck. Photographers luck. It was up to me to make the picture or walk on by. I made a few horizontal frames because that works best in the web world. I made a few verticals. That’s when I decided the picture was more than the mural. The little black car mattered. The sky mattered. I made all of that so, in post production.

Happy day.

Oh yeah. You might be wondering who was honored by painting that huge mural. That is New Orleans’ very own, Doctor John. That’s important for me. His music brought me to thinking about New Orleans. Apparently, I was in the right place at the right time.



Leave a Comment

    • Hmm. I could have swore that I answered this. Photographer’s luck is a strange thing. Sort of like The Beatles were when they broke through. Everybody at the time thought that they just appeared. Nah. They worked very hard in Hamburg and on tiny stages. Thry broke quickly because they worked for it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you, Frank. Photographers luck is a funny thing. Constant practice and being there makes it happen. The real luck was in post production, when I pushed auto on one particular function and was blown away when I saw the result. I messed with it a little but I really just wanted to see what would happen.


  2. What a great mural and the photo makes a dramatic impact! My husband and I enjoyed Dr. John at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago. he was part of an Allen Toussaint tribute, and I felt fortunate to be there! In addition to paying attention, I have stumbled upon many wonderful little delights by being curious about what’s just a little further down the road or looking around the corner. Although I think I live in the epicenter of the car culture, I do walk a lot. On foot is the best way to investigate…when I can!


    • Thank you. I was at the one in New Orleans which was really hard. I know a lot of musicians from my other side and from the street. Seeing Jimmy Buffett crying was very hard. Having Trombone Shorty pretty much collapse in tears in my arms hurt like hell. And, now Pegi Young — Neil’s ex–wife just passed. For those of us who used to photograph the Bridge School Benefits, she was like an aunt or extra mom to us. That hurts. It’ll get better. It always does.


  3. “There is another reason for looking as I do. It’s important. It’s for your own safety.” – Yes, I see too many people overlook this basic survival skill 🙂 It’s wonderful to catch up on your posts, Mr. Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

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