Exploring the Crescent City

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in New Orleans.

As I’ve said, I think exploring places can be complicated. I try to notice every nook and cranny, to see where the city takes me, to experience a place genuinely while recognizing that my experience is mine alone – colored by my perceptions and hindered by my lack of knowledge.

Sometimes, I explore new places and sometimes I explore places I’ve lived for years.

But above all, when I explore, I aim to learn.

I learn from every sight and sound, from every touch, smell and taste. And, of course, I learn from every person that I meet.

I try to capture where I go in images. An imperfect system, no doubt, but it’s what I’ve got to work with.

I capture images with a furtive glance, often hardly slowing down at all. The camera sees what I see.

And I rarely photograph people. I certainly can’t do them justice, and it feels too intrusive when my style is all about capturing those forgotten, dusty corners.

So here are my pictures from New Orleans. This gallery leaves out a lot:

I met a woman who was a single mother. Twenty-four with a two year old. I told her I was in town for a civic studies conference – that I wanted to ensure everyone had a voice in improving the world around them. “I like that,” she said in a charming southern drawl. “Everyone should have a voice.”

I found a dumpster full of new shoes. A warehouse was clearing out its inventory and couldn’t be bothered to donate the lot. Or perhaps they thought it wasn’t worth while. I went dumpster diving with some folks from the department of public works. One found a pair of brand new children’s shoes, wrapped up and perfect. He was excited to take them home to his daughter.

I saw a young woman, in town with her mother, who was just so amazed to be walking down Bourbon Street. I could just tell she’d be talking for years about the time she danced with a street performer, and wasn’t that just so cool? It’s like she was one of them. Her mother got it all on video.

I met a man with a Slavic accent and the clearest, sharpest, whistle I’ve ever heard. I asked how long it took him to perfect it. He shrugged and said, “No, I’ve been doing this since I was a little boy.”

There are so many stories I could tell.

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