New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Facts and Fiction

When someone looks like this, photographers take notice. However, how to proceed? I discussed the dilemma of shooting people at close range in my recent posting Walid Soroor - see here
I pointed this man out to a couple of friends who agreed this man's appearance was definitely out there and blog worthy. A suggestion was made to approach him directly and ask his permission. Legally, photos taken in public for non-advertising purposes do not require permission, but cooperation, when you get it, not only makes the process immensely more comfortable, but also leads to better photos and some nice side benefits. Like a name, biographical facts about a person, email address and possibly the raison d'etre for their extreme style.
Although wild speculation is a lot of fun, the person behind the surface is rarely what you imagine and often, the truth is more interesting than fiction. I am comfortable approaching strangers, however I do feel it requires a certain amount of "getting into character," like an actor, selling myself, and convincing the subject that I am a serious person and the photos will be used in a respectable manner.
In this case, a brief introduction along with a New York Daily Photo business card, sealed the deal and my subject said "fire away." I relayed the green light to my friend, photographer Bill Shatto, and the impromptu location photo shoot began.
I learned that our subject, Jim Vehap, was born on the Lower East Side, an authentic New Yorker, now living in Milwaukee with family. He is half Albanian and half Italian. His tattoos were done at the time of his 6-year stint in the Marines (Beirut 1983). The shirt was a bicycling jersey, the origin of the plaid shorts was not discussed. I suggested he might consider modeling - he said others had recommended he look into this. He asked how he might pursue this - Bill acquainted him with the Ross Report, a industry publication which includes listings for casting agents, studios, talent agencies and others in the film and TV business.
Jim works as a paralegal and had interest at one time in pursuing a masters degree in theology. Quite an amalgam of contrasts. Not the man I thought at all - another case of facts more interesting than fiction ...

Photo Note: Look closely here and you will find an assortment of piercings - nipple, navel and ears - and closeups of Jim's tattoos including ones reading Rare Breed and Rude Boy.

Related Postings of extreme New York City people: 


ilivehere:SF said...

This is such a great photo, but the story behind it makes it more interesting. I love taking photos of people but have a very hard time approaching people I want to shoot, and I feel uneasy taking photos without permission, even though I know that I can.

I started a blog of people in SF and part of the project is that they write their own story, that I post with a photo. I find that the story truly enhances the pictures I take.

Brian Dubé said...

ilivehere:SF - Thanks. I am more comfortable than most people in approaching strangers. But it has its downside too - many are not receptive and once you have been denied permission, taking a candid shot in secret becomes nearly impossible.

Alex said...

Nice and great shot. Alex

Anonymous said...

Great picture and fascinating story. You could have taken a picture from afar and used a zoom, but you wouldn't have been able to capture the essence of the man.
KC from CT