So, which one? Not which one is best. But, which one do you like better? What suits you? For me, they serve very different purposes. The top version of this picture will eventually find its way to Getty Images. The second version will find its way into what appears to be my new gallery. So, both versions will eventually see daylight beyond Storyteller.
There is a backstory. It’s taken me about a decade to make this picture. First, I forget that the statue is in New Orleans. In The French Quarter to be exact. Then, when I remember that it is actually here, I can’t find the angle. It’s the darndest thing. I’ve struggled with a picture of a statue for a decade. But, the other night… the night when I made a huge amount of keepers, I saw the statue, walked right to the angle that I needed and took the picture. It took me maybe five minutes, if that, to do it. And, a decade. Don’t forget that.
Why is it here? Since Joan of Arc is known as The Maid of Orleans, the statue was a gift from the people of France to New Orleans in 1958. It’s made of bronze and is the exact copy of the original, which was made in 1880 by Emmanuel Fremiet. The original is located at The Place des Pryamides in Paris. However, ours was not installed until 1972 because the city could not afford the $35,000 price tag to erect it. So it was stored until 1972 when it was erected near The World Trade Center. The statue was gilded in 1985 and moved in 1999 when Harrah’s Casino was built near the foot of Canal Street. They say that it will stay at the foot of The French Market forever. Forever is a very long time.
A few years ago I happened to find myself in Shanghai, China. Find myself? You ask… Okay, I took a plane and a train. I traveled there to photograph the city.
Anyway… I got up early one morning to photograph rush hour and I made my way to The Bund, where I made this picture of people doing their morning exercises with The Pudong region in the background. Then, I chased rush hour traffic, which in that section of the city is comprised of a mix of cars, trucks, bikes and people who are walking. It’s pretty fast paced and very cool to photograph.
This picture, on the other hand, is quite calming and very peaceful. It’s a weekend sort of image.
When I take road trips, I sort of shape shift as I work. Sometimes I try to make pictures that are a little iconic. Sometimes I try to channel my best Ernst Haas. Sometimes I look for quirky subjects. These images are quirky. There is a little twist to them. Maybe there is a little personal vision. Maybe I was just tired and a little road weary. These images mean something to me. But, they may not mean anything to you. While we say that all art is autobiographical, we also know that every makes his or her own meaning. Yu may have no frame of reference when you look at this images. You might even think, “what is this guy thinking?” That’s okay. As I said, these images mean something to me.