Vintage: Family in Bear Lake Idaho, 1994

Family in Bear Lake, Idaho 1994

One of my favorite things to do is drive around sniffing for cool things to photograph.

In 1994 Sam and I drove around together. She just wanted to be with me and was willing to ride shotgun while I looked for stuff to shoot. It was totally entertaining just to be with her. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. The first time I kissed her she tipped her head to the side and said “So, do you like me?”  Being with her was a luxury in and of itself. Come to think of it, it still is.

Anyways, this photo was done back in 1994. I was a student at Utah State University and Sam and I were in Northern Utah driving around. Sometimes a photographic subject whispers my name so strongly that I have to stop and shoot. It’s natural and uncontrollable. We passed by this Cafe and it whispered to me “Come over here and take my picture!”

I stopped and walked straight in the place and looked around. I saw the 12 year old boy wearing an apron. He said “Can I take your order.” I said ” I want to photograph your family in front of your resturant.”  He said “OK.” A few minutes later they assembled themselves and I took the photograph. I promised the usual photographer’s promise, “I’ll send an 8×10”, and that was the end of it.

I showed it to Chris Dunker, a fellow student at USU. He laughed outloud and asked if the outcast brother was waving his deformed arm through the window for attention in the photograph. Creepy, but funny.


Photo tips, philoshopical reasonings and technical notations

Camera used: Pentax 67. TMax 100 film. Exposure f 11.5 1/60th second

Photographing strangers is unnerving. It was for me in 1994 and still is in 2010. I have done a lot of it and it’s always a little uncomfortable.

I went to a presentation done by photographer Joel Meyerwitz in 1998. He is a fine art photographer who has published many books. One of them, A Summers Day,is one of the more popular photographic monographs ever published. I’ve got nearly every one of his publications and refer to them often.

He photographs strangers in a lot of his images. He said he’ll photograph a stranger and smile at them to acknowledge what had happened. He says that he’s never had a problem. I find myself pretending that I never took the photograph, a rouse that fools no one.

– Jon Ball is a photographer living in Boise, Idaho. Thank you for reading photo tips.

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