Miguel, shiny wheel vendor

I am doing this project on Forest Lane in Garland and I find myself doing impromptu visits to shops. There is plenty of auto-related business, pawn shops, bail bond offices, used RV sales, and many other kinds of small businesses. Sometimes I stop by just to explain my project and ask if it would be ok to come back later. Some of these places are really ugly. I stopped at First Cash Pawn, and this is a pretty unphotogenic place. The manager wasn’t in, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow. I spend some time thinking (normally while driving) about how I could create an interesting picture inside an ugly place, like a pawn shop. Then I let go and my brain continues to work the problem in the background.

Other times I just get the ok on the spot and have less time to think about the possibilities. This is what happened today. I stopped at Miguel’s shop and he agreed to be photographed. But as soon as I got the camera and stuff out of the car, three cars pulled in, he looked at me shaking his head indicating that he wasn’t going to be able to pose. I asked for just a few minutes and that’s what I got. It really helps me to have sample images to show - Miguel was pretty excited about getting an 8×10 portrait, like the ones I showed him.

Miguel has a small shop where he sells and installs those shiny chrome wheels you see some tricked up cars with. He only had 5 minutes for a portrait, so I set up a chrome wheel to serve as a halo and another for him to rest on and took a single picture because he had to go help a customer.

I dont like the squinting, but the sun was not on his face, he’s just a squinty kind of guy. I did some creative postprocessing to bring some saturation and intensity to the colors. This image reminds me of “chicano art” where the Virgen of Guadalupe is depicted with gaudy colors and shiny stuff.

I am not too crazy about the image because I didn’t really have time to think it thru, and the squint is not ideal - although the squint gives him a certain type of expression.

Category: Art


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