Every photograph represents a moment; whether the exposure lasts a fraction of a second long or spans several hours, the maker is capturing a defined period of time.
I find many of the moments in my images as I wander through Rochester’s streets and neighborhoods. I’m subject agnostic — not a true street photographer — alternating between people, the built environment, and various objects. My mood often guides me and seeps into my images; so do gut reactions to what’s in front of me. It’s a slight shift from my full-time work as a journalist, where I’m supposed to keep my emotions out of my writing.
“Spectre of the Piss Tunnel,” which is part of de/composition, came together in an instant and is a good example of my process.
I was out walking around the edge of the High Falls District and started photographing a stack of newspapers that had been tossed in a tunnel under the Inner Loop. Then a stranger walked past me. The camera I was using, an old Yashica, isn’t exactly built for speed, but I recomposed and refocused in time and click, I got the image.
The image has a gloomy, tense quality to it, which was my intention. I knew I wanted the figure to remain in the shadow, so I set my camera’s shutter speed accordingly.
With people, I like to preserve a sense of the anonymity inherent in a city environment. The objects and structures I photograph show traces of human presence, if not the impact that people have on their surroundings and environments.
Sometimes I use a digital camera, but my preference is usually for 35mm or 120 film. I hand-develop my black and white film as well as my color negative film, and I do my own black and white printing. The analog processes are tactile and meditative, plus I’m generally happier with the results.
The Flower City Arts Center darkrooms are about the closest thing I have to an actual studio, and they’re a valuable resource. So is the community around the center. The folks who work, teach, and create there have given me knowledge, criticism, and opportunity which has in turn helped me grow as a photographer.
Jeremy Moule is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. de/composition runs through June 28, 2019.