Friday, August 15, 2008

Nissa Benjamin: A Photo a Day

Nissa Benjamin was given the challenge of creating one image every day for one year. 365 photos in 365 days is the goal starting on July 11th, 2008. This is a visual diary of sorts with the aim of helping Benjamin understand the art of visual story-telling and the complexity of the visual language. Wish her luck!

This was a day for love. The birds were chirping. The sun was shinning. In a little shop in Coral Gables a bride-to-be picked out her dress. Simplicity was the requirement. Feeding off of my subject, I made a quiet picture. She was reserved, did not talk much and listened intently to her mother’s every word. When she came out of the dressing room it was like magic. She played with the bow. She stared at the trim. She smiled. This was the one.

She shall remain nameless. Her principal would kill her. Teachers cannot have tattoos. This was such a huge piece for such a small woman. Her entire back. The wings of an angel. She clenched a pillow and sucked on a cherry lollipop. She smiled. I cringed. I am good with pain.

I felt stuck inside today. Would have given anything to be outside today. Windows can sometimes be horrible. I liked the architectural design of Downtown Miami. It always catches my eyes. Then the sharp contrast of the silhouette brings me back to reality.

Nude Bathers. Definitely a challenge. I felt very uncomfortable. What I consider so private was a public affair. I used the camera as a mask, which I usually do not do but it was my only way. I still felt that even though they were ok with me making pictures, I wanted to do something that would not be so obvious that they were naked.

I went to a park on my way home looking for something. I found a mother playing with her daughter barefoot. She started swinging her in circles. First she was on her mother’s back. Giggle. Then she was swung by the arms. Laugh. Then upside down. Tears.

Ninety plus degrees and not a cloud in sight. A county auction for old police cars and old maintenance equipment. Men fighting for the right to own them. It was like a secret society. Complete with their own hand signals, slang and initiation. You could instantly point out the members from the wannabes.

My first runway show. It consisted of tents and tents without any space.
Fighting for elbow room. Bathing suits I could only dream of. Rude photographers. Sweaty photographers. Beautiful women. Annoying people who felt they should stop in the middle of the walkway when you have 5 minutes to get to the other side of the terrace. Lights. Trying not to fall into the pool. Security guards who take their job way to seriously. Excitement. All in about 2hours. How time does fly?

I haven't seen a full moon in a very long time. It stopped me in my tracks. I was driving and couldn't keep my eyes off of it. Don't remember the last time being outside just to be outside, or not going somewhere and doing something. I had time to just look up.

The nature of my job? Hurry up and wait. I never liked the swarm of media that was present during high-profile assignments. Competition for space, the story, and the prestige. It is like a dance where the partners fight to lead while the subject watches it unfold.

7-11-08 "Rings"
I looked down and saw these old hands hi-lighted with gold. I found out an amazing story behind his rings. Jose Regueiro was a former political prisoner from Cuba. The number on his ring, 28863, was his name until 1967. He didn't have a name. Regueiro moved to New York and became a dentist after being released. He moved to Miami and in 1988, he founded the Florida National College in Hialeah. The got this ring as a constant reminder of his past. He went from having nothing to being able to afford jewelry, which he sees as a sign of wealth.

7-12-08 "Bubble"
Childhood still exists! Despite computer games and video games, games outside are still around. A relay race in the inflated plastic bubble. The hamster wheel personified.

7-13-08 "Hat"
Outside was gray, yet humid. The day you see the rain coming and pray is hurries. I was just attracted to this hat. It just popped out at me, among everyone else. It felt like it did not belong in this setting. She should be on a sunny beach not under clouds about to burst with rain.