About

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September 8, 2014

Streets Without Borders

I didn’t choose Street Photography— it reached out and grabbed me, took hold of me, won’t let go of me. What started off as a pastime during a vacation in Tokyo became an obsession, and I was hooked. I’ve been making television and films for 30 years, often with a strong leaning towards cinema verite, but had not been interested in shooting stills again before that Tokyo trip. Subsequent trips to Phnom Penh put this kind of photographic work in perspective against the other kinds of media making I do. I know now that I am compelled to create images of people in their environment.

People of other cultures and their everyday lives fascinate me. I want to share my observations of life, take you inside a world utterly different from your own. The act of shooting on the street helps me see the extraordinary in the ordinary, helps me to more fully experience a place.

It’s all about the human condition, running into a culture that’s so different from your own, wanting to share that. I’m passionate about documentary photography. I strive to capture the spontaneous, un-selfconscious actions of people in their everyday lives. While I consider much of my work street photography, some street purists might not. That’s fine with me— if the image moves you in some way, labels don’t matter.

One camera, one lens, black and white, square format. Before I left for Phnom Penh, I decided on the general form of the work. The images were all composed in square format, not cropped after the fact. Oh, and my camera is dead quiet. The subject rarely knows that I made an image, and I work very close to my subjects. Fuji is the new Leica.

Experiencing a place as poor as Cambodia will make you question the things you take for granted back home in your own comfort zone. It’s funny— growing up in Hawaii and being of Hawaiian descent, we’re used to being studied by outsiders. They see that our culture is valuable, and that it’s interesting to observe. I, on the other hand, find it invigorating to observe the cultures of foreign lands. Photography can help make us question what is normal and routine, while depicting ingenuity and resourcefulness that is universal.

Jeff

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