Whenever I spend time people watching, I always like to imagine what their lives are like. What are they doing? Where are they going? Do they have many friends? Are they lonely? In certain situations, I inevitably end up feeling sad. Not because I feel like my life is so much more grand than theirs, but because I understand that everybody exists living with some degree of hopelessness, and I feel theirs, just as I sometimes feel mine. Their lives, or whatever story I create in my mind, unfold before me, and they disappear from my life just as quickly as they’ve entered it. I think it’s an inevitable outcome for anyone who enjoys photographing strangers, but it seems necessary to me.
Simferopol, Ukraine - If you’ve ever sat in a park or a cafe and just observed what’s going on, you’ll notice that almost every person is on their cellphone. If they’re not directly interacting with someone in the vicinity, they’re glued to their screens. Why is this? What sort of habit has this become? It seems that more than ever before, we’ve become disconnected with our surroundings, never looking up to enjoy ourselves. I’m guilty of this just like the next person, but every once in a while, I’ll step out and just watch. This is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. Observing my surroundings and taking everything in. Often times, I don’t ever see anything I want, and it just becomes a practice in patience, but every once in a while, the stars align and a scene slowly moves together.
In this shot, I watched as subject after subject walked by. I photographed a few other people, but it wasn’t until this kid came by on his phone that I felt like I got something that I really liked. I’m not 100% sure what it is I like about it. It could have been his positioning, or because he was on his phone, but after I photographed him, I felt like I could move on.
Simferopol, Ukraine- I love photographing people. Not anybody specific, just every day people that are going about their lives, doing what they need to do to survive. They're so mysterious. Full of emotion. One way I enjoy shooting them is finding a backdrop that I'm really in love with. in this case, i was really drawn to the long shadows cast by the air conditioner and the texture on the wall and window covers. When I find my backdrop, I'll start to people-watch, which is really my favorite part. When you find someone that you really want to shoot, you have to make sure that their body positioning feels natural. You either get this by being a badass and shooting exactly when you need to, or you do what I do and shoot a as much as you can.
Simferopol, Ukraine- After spending a couple weeks filming rock climbing in Ukraine, I was able to take a day or two for myself and wander around Simferopol, one of the larger cities on the Crimean peninsula. The lackadaisical people floating in the sea were replaced with anxious workers scurrying about, trying to find a means to an end. The cool breeze coming off the sea was replaced with a smoggy feeling of desperation, perpetrated by industry and the old Russian cars clogging the streets.
In a quiet square tucked away from the mayhem of the city, a few people walk by heading to work. As they pass, their long shadows extend toward a large statue built by the old empire. Continuing, they cross the square until reaching a massive building looming overhead. Quickly ascending the stairs, they disappear inside, away from the traffic and haze of a city desperate for change.