The Devil is in the details

I call it a DPF. A Diestler Photographic Fieldtrip, where I lead an interested group of friends and former students on a walking tour, finding images and freezing them in time and place.

I just finished my first DPF, and while I had a few cancellations, I think many images were found. We met in Oakland with the idea of about an hour of shooting inside a museum with low light. It didn’t work out but we extended the street shooting for an extra hour.

Street shooting has several challenges and the end results depending on the photographers focus. Pun very intended.

My new favorite street photographer was completely unknown in her lifetime. Vivian Maier was a professional nanny for most of her life. On her day off she would wander the streets of her city and take what at first could be seen as random photographs, but upon a second look are proved to be intentional art. Please research or look at to see examples.

My intention today was to see architectural details of downtown Oakland, plus any fire escapes that I can find. I collect fire escapes , and clouds, and ground cover, and alleys. Actually, I collect far too many things, and it takes an hour to walk a block.

Why do I find the details so engaging? Hmm, I think one reason is that I like to bring attention back a a small detail that was added to the building with so much care. It may be under an inch of grime and old paint, but it was once a shining idea, full of passion and expression.

Details are almost always ignored, and that is almost a general truth. Photography is an excellent tool to remind the viewer that the details give meaning, character and interest to images that would otherwise be boring and unimportant. The Devil may be in the details, but so is art.

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