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Monday, 17 June 2013


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was it this one? Dated Monday, 14 January 2008, called One That Got Away:


I Googled your phrase 'I'm not a photojournalist' and there 'twas.

By the way, what happened with your Photoborg site?

I found it! Do I get a prize?

I was sat at the back of a bus one night with my wife & my camera. I had a good view of the back of everybody's head, and wanted them to turn around, so I just asked them to... "Can everybody turn around, please?"

Looking back, it sounded more like an instruction then a request. Maybe that's why only one guy turned around, but the most likely reason is that they thought I was trouble. The look on the guys face who did turn around said as much. Seconds later, two of my lenses fell out of my bag and rolled down the bus.

This was after I thanked the guy for turning around


Mike, I found the story of why you're not a photojournalist at http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2008/01/one-that-got-aw.html

Here's the trick that I used to find it. At google.com I entered the following into the search field:
site:theonlinephotographer.typepad.com "not a photojournalist"

The "site:" option on google limits your search results to the specified site. This means you can use google's index of your site to find things instead of relying on Typepad's search functions which are apparently failing you.

Just too Cool for words and the portrait was lovely. That's how I like to see people photographed - as real people - not some flawlessly lit idealized manneqin.

You know, at the first glance I didn't see what you saw in that first photo - the one you posted the other day. It was a nice picture and all, but (again, on first glance) didn't strike me as anything much more than a snapshot.

Upon closer observation though, the photograph reveals itself to be much more than a simple snapshot and shows quite a bit of sensitivity and depth, IMO. I think by including the "outtake" photos here, which lead up to the final image, lends some context and some additional information about the two women and maybe even something about their relationship, which further deepens the meaning of the first photograph.

I guess my point is, and this is intended to be a complimentary observation, not flattery: Your experienced photographer's eye really shows through in the image from the other day. That isn't necessarily the kind of thing a casual observer might notice, but there is a depth present in your photograph that is characteristic of someone who has spent many years with a camera and which is difficult to communicate to a neophyte. Nice picture Mike!

Years ago a wedding photographer told me of a trick that he used at the the reception. After the required first dance and those with the parents, when the dance floor was crowed with many of the guests dancing he would climb up on a chair, while using a WA lens and blow a whistle. That would cause the dancers to all look his way.

I hadn't seen this piece before.
I think it's a wonderful one, and one that took courrage to write.
Your honesty (and the elegant way you express it) is a unique treasure.
The piece also seems very accurate to me. Most of us, if we are really honest are governed not just by predilections and princilpes but comfort zones and fears as well.
When it comes to people we don't know I often marvel at the ease with which my wife interacts with them. She often comes back with pictures I wish I had taken. I have learned from her, but I will never be as good as her at those kinds of things because, as you say, it's just not who I am.
The other lesson is of course is that you will always do your best work when that work is consistant with who you are.
While there is a lot to be said for the artistic growth that can come from pushing outside our comfort zone, a lot of great work comes from knowing where your highest competencies lie and pushing more deeply ahead.
However, while we all have ones that got away, It's probably healthier to focus a bit more on the ones that didn't, and draw new energy from those.
A wonderful thought provoking piece.

Looking at your sequence, I'm not sure I'd have chosen the same shot you did for that portrait of Lillian and Rebecca... although looking at them full screen would likely change that too.

The post you link to about the Wall reminds me of this website I just came across recently:


Basically people's submissions of pictures they did not take but have stuck with them in their minds.

Ah, that an idea but how you do that with 60.000 people, wel Jan Smeets, the captain in chief of the Dutch rock Festival "Pinkpop", was asked that last sunday by a program called "Nederland van boven" (The Netherlands from the sky). They had a camera in crane (the crane Eddy Vedder climbed in 1992 during the Pearl Jam show). So Jan asked the audience to look at the crane (and the camera in it) and ask Eddy to come back to Pinkpop and take his freinds along for the ride. And low and behold 60.000 Pinkpoppers responded (Pink caps and all).....and the story hit the Limburger today. Jan Smeets, great guy, great festival, and Eddy if you read this, see you next year in Landgraaf right (Jan will be sending you the footage so he promised to the world)!



Lovely sequence Mike,if anything even more revealing than the posed shot of this family I'm sure it's something they will enjoy looking at in the future,it conveys the obvious affection they have for each other.

[I think you're right in your conclusion, except that the original shot wasn't posed. The whole point of this post is to show that I didn't pose or direct them. I just accepted what happened. --Mike]

I consider myself to be quite a confident person, but I can relate to the fact that you didn't have the courage to pick up the microphone. I've kicked myself on a couple of occasions now, where I've walked away from a situation without taking the action that crossed my mind at the time, and would have carried out if only I had plucked a little more courage and taken that leap of faith at the time. It happens to us all Mike!

Hi Mike
In reading through the comments attached to the "One that Got Away" posting I kept wondering whether anyone would post a reference to a book that I read a while ago...
No one did, so here it is:
"Photographs Not Taken" by Will Steacy.
The book recounts the stories given by fifty or so photographers who were asked to tell about one photograph that they didn't take.

Mike, I personally find the series to be much more interesting and engaging than the portrait.

Wonderful photos.

You have a great shot of Becky and Jim in the first frame. Just crop in to it.

I can't come up with any considered critique. But I do know how I responded. I'd like to know the people in the series above. Those in the "portrait"? I couldn't care less.

Perhaps if I knew them, I'd prefer the portrait.

James Wilson suggested: "Just crop in to it."

But James, REAL photographers NEVER crop (except when they do (g).


[Alternately you could just publish the picture and let people look at that portion of it if they want to. I would never crop that dramatically because it leads to other consistency problems. And it's just horridly sloppy in terms of seeing with the camera. --Mike]

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