Monthly Archives: March 2012

Beyond The Smoke: My Photographic Stroll Through Santana Row

Night Time: for a child, this is when all the creepy crawlers and slimy monsters come out to play. But for any
adult in the San Jose/Santa Clara area, night time is when a different breed of monsters come out. Monsters
in mini skirts, tube tops, and douchey dress shirts that are unbuttoned low enough to see some pubes.
Welcome to Santana Row! Where trying hard and making a fool of yourself is abundant and plenty.

Here, I decided to take out the Fuji X10 for a spin. Honing my inner Daido Moriyama, I practiced my zone
focusing and quick shooting. Unlike the sniper like precision I’m used to at fashion shows and photoshoots,
this type of street photography calls for a different mentality. Whereas fashion shooting is about strolling
on by, picking shots carefully like a little girl picking only the ripest of blueberries, this style is more of an
impulsive reaction. You see it, you shoot it. No thinking, no autofocusing, and certainly no chimping.

Thirty minutes in and I’m already starting to realize something: the circus like show that I anticpated – the
bar fights, sidewalk barfing and random fondling of privates – was hardly visible to my 28mm eye. Where
was all the P.D.I (public display of idiocy)? It was then that I realized that although the streets were
congested with walking tube tops and faux hawks, they weren’t hanging out on the pavement, but in the bars
themselves – duh!

I spy an Asian guy.

Perhaps Santana Row isn’t that bad – at least on the pavement. I’m still not gonna eat their shit-tier food and dine
at their over-priced, over-hyped restaurants, but perhaps I can come back more often to photograph the
try-hards and people looking to be seen.

OH SHIT, IT’S THE COPS!”

TORETTO!!!”

Places are much different from the outside looking in, and even more so if you aren’t even close enough to see
through the glass yourself. If you speculate and make assumptions before coming to a place, you could possibly
miss an opportunity. For you, maybe that opportunity is a chance to grind your sweaty balls all over some jail
bait’s freshly waxed leg, but for me, it’s an opportunity for a nicely pressed photo. For every tramp stamped
tramp at this joint, there is a group of Asian tourists, a family looking for grub, and a flock of socially oblivious
businessman.

And me? Where do I fit in with all of the creepy crawlers and tube topped monsters? I’m a kid with a flashlight,
trying to see if there really are monsters under the bed.

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Filed under At The Mall, Blind Fire/Shooting From The Hip, My Life, Out And About, Paparazzi Style, People, Revelation, Scenes From, Street Photography

Larry – The Security Guard At My Apartment Complex – San Jose

You would never suspect it, but behind that blue and black uniform, there stands a man with a wife, a daughter, and a
background in chemistry. But that’s the thing, you’d never suspect it because most of us judge others by their job.

Every so often while I was growing up, my mom would point at random strangers and say “Ranier, look! You see that
janitor? You see that homeless man? He didn’t love his mom and he didn’t go to school. Now he’s homeless. You better
go to school or you’ll end up like him!”

But now, as a logical and much, much more compassionate human being, I’ve noticed the often conflicting lifestyles
people live in comparison to their jobs. The friendly sales lady at the local Kay Jewelers might be a dominatrix on
weekends, and the MMA instructor with the Harley Davidson tattoo might be an avid volunteer at the local animal
shelter. Nowadays, you really can’t judge a person by their profession.

Larry is the security guard in our apartment complex. Whenever Livi and I find ourselves in the parking lot, Larry is there
doing is rounds, checking up on the place to make sure we’re safe. Out of everyone, he’s easily the most friendly and
informative.

Upon asking him about the new regulations for parking, Larry and I wound up chatting for a good ten minutes about work,
his personal life, and his family. Unfortunately for all of us, tonight is Larry’s last shift at the complex. With the apartment
management swapping out its security men with hordes of cameras, Larry has no need to work at this place. Luckily for
him, he’s managed to find a new location up in Standford. He’ll be in a much safer, nicer area – which makes me quite
glad seeing as how he’s such a kind person.

I’m not sure what gravitated me towards him and his story. I guess there are those people in life that you meet, talk to for
a few moments, and you can just tell that they are good people. Solid people with good morals, a big heart, and an open
mind. Whether I will see Larry back in our apartments is an act of security roulette (security guards are contracted to
certain places for a specific duration of time, then they move on to a new location.) But one thing is for sure: no amount
of cameras and high tech gadgetry could ever replace the substance of a nice conversation, and an honest smile.

Thanks for keeping us safe, Larry.

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Filed under Men, Out And About, People, Street Photography, The man/woman behind the job