Parliament chicken

Parliament Stare-down (black and white photograph)
Parliament Stare-down (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis

I was playing with the curves on the front gate on Parliament Hill here in Ottawa when this guy — who is in the most touristy spot in a city that has essentially one tourist spot, so everyone is taking photos (though, admittedly, not with their face pressed up to an iron gate) — started staring me down. I had noticed him looking at me earlier but then he came closer and stood where he is pictured, staring challengingly at me, so I incorporated him into this photo, emerging from the swirls on the iron gate like one of those gargoyles from the Peace Tower behind him.

Joel Meyerowitz 1981 Street Photography

“I try not to have a hierarchy of values about these photographs. Very simply, I’m sensitive to coloured space and the envelope of light enfolding things. I go around, taking them in, passing them along. I think that’s the most that anybody can ask for in the capture of their experience. It should just waft through you, a fragrance, effortless. You should be in tune in such a way that there’s no resistance. Whether you’re making images, poetry, painting, music, or love, you should be totally enraptured by that, by the experience itself. That’s what it’s about, the location of subject. It’s about passage of the experience itself in its wholeness through you, back into the world. That’s what artists do, they separate their experience from the totality, from raw experience, and it’s the quality of their selections that makes them visible to the world.”

The video below is worth watching. Also, listen to a more recent audio clip that I posted a while ago here, where a much older Meyerowitz talks about ‘the gasp’.