Word On The Street...

Snapshots from a summer that’s almost gone, at least by San Francisco standards… Hoping to be back to a semi-normal post schedule soon…

#0659_17 - Castro Street

#0659_07 - New Montgomery Street

#0661_04A - Market Street

#0661_07A - Market Street

#0662_00A - O’Farrell Street

#0659_15 - “Happy and Healthy”

#0661_03A - Powell and Market Streets.

#0662_15A - Market Street

Recent Acquisition...

So we had a baby about 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been laying pretty low ever since. Hoping to post more work soon, I’ve got quite a bit on deck, but as was expected, I’m a bit busy. Here are a few Polaroids, because sometimes me and the boy get bored at night so we take pictures.

Thomas Eveland Szymanski, born September 26th, 5:21AM, 8 pounds, 8.9 ounces. Nice ears, close to the head, as my Polish grandmother used to say. He’s got my wife’s nose and my perpetually grumpy scowl…

Could've Been Worse...

I'm not much for vacations in the traditional sense. I get bored, dislike crowds, lines, forced participation, structured entertainment, tours etc. (I'm fun at parties though). I do however enjoy being left alone to read books, consumption of Jack Daniel's, long walks on the beach and poking dead things with sticks. So we went to Kauai. We stayed in a little house on an old sugar plantation and read books and drank (at least I did) and walked on the beach and were generally left alone.  Couldn't have been better...

#0654_09A Pregasaurus, Waimea







Sarah, Take #1

Sarah was good enough to come by and shoot last minute after another model flaked. Always good shooting with her... Been working on and off with Sarah since 2010...

Great window light in this new space I found, looking forward to shooting more there in the near future...







Rain Delay with Amber Kourtney

I've known Amber for some years now, and even though I haven't shot with her as much as some other models, regardless of how long it's been since we last collaborated, it usually takes us all of 30 seconds to get into a groove and start making good images. She's fun to work with, energetic, and always brings something to the table...

We decided we were going to attempt to shoot in the rain. How hard could it be, it rains all winter in Northern California right? Queue drought...

The first go round it was literally 68 degrees and sunny. So much for emo weather, but it was a good shoot none the less. We postponed for a bit, mostly due to my talent for breaking bones. After healing up, we gave it another go, this time it rained all day, stopped for the 2 hours that we were shooting, then picked up again later that night and didn't stop for a week. 

Third time is a charm apparently. We did this shoot in my backyard late one afternoon. It was absolutely pouring and we had an hour and a half worth of light at best. Things finally seemed to go our way. Then we got drunk and ate stir fry.







Self Esteem

For whatever reason, while feeling nostalgic I suppose, and sifting through images for the Word On The Street gallery, I started sorting out some of the self portraits I randomly snap from time to time. I've plugged 30 or so of the images into a new gallery, Self Esteem...

#0195_15 -  Post Street Studio. San Francisco, 2011.

#0195_15 - Post Street Studio. San Francisco, 2011.

The gallery goes back about 15 years, I've certainly got a lot less beard (and grey hair) in most of them. See if you can pick out when I got married, my wife started feeding me, and I promptly put on 30 pounds...

#0589_20 -  San Francisco, 2017.

#0589_20 - San Francisco, 2017.

#0567_19 -  Elevator. Washington, D.C., 2017.

#0567_19 - Elevator. Washington, D.C., 2017.

"Word On The Street" 2003 - 2018

Started pouring over old work one night serveral weeks ago, ended up completely revamping the gallery of street photographs posted here...

#0001_15 - Mission Street. San Francisco, 2003.

#0001_15 - Mission Street. San Francisco, 2003.

#0511_12A -  Amboy, California, 2017.

#0511_12A - Amboy, California, 2017.

After sifting through about 15 years worth of scans, I've posted around 120 images comprised of work going back to 2003 in reverse chronological order.

Everything is captioned and numbered, so if anyone is interested in prints, drop me a line with the reference number and I'll knock one out for you...

I'm treating this as a continuous work in progress, I'll be adding more images to it as I go. It's more of a living archive than a coherent piece, so keep an eye on it for new work posted semi-regularly.

#0287_14 -  Hornstull Tunnelbana. Stockholm, 2014.

#0287_14 - Hornstull Tunnelbana. Stockholm, 2014.

I have to say it's rather satisfying, on a personal level, to see this much work going back 15 years all in one place...

Check out the gallery at http://josephszymanski.com/word-on-the-street/

Rantings of a misanthropic art school instructor...

Teaching can be amazingly satisfying, and incredibly frustrating... I often tell my students that when I began teaching I was, in fact, young and pretty, and that the grizzled, grey-bearded fountain of sarcasm they see before them is a result of past students slowly driving me insane. This is only half true. I've always been sarcastic, abrasive and mildly crazy, just not grey...

Having just wrapped up the spring semester, I'd like to offer some words of wisdom to my students, present and future. Words that I know will most likely never find them, since I'm not posting this to my instagram story.

Nonetheless, in no particular order...

Care about something. Anything, doesn't matter what. Have an opinion, any sort of opinion. Show some passion. It's ok to be wrong, just be something. "I don't know" is not a suitable answer to anything, ever, and I'm tired of hearing it. I would rather see you fail miserably in an epic fiery explosion than watch you eek out a resounding "meh." Put a little heart into it... you've got to care.

Put down your phone. Please. I realize this makes me sound like an old codger (which I am), but for the love of all that is holy, just put it down. I get that there is stuff happening and you have an algorithmically enhanced case of FOMO but for Christ's sake please, just for a minute, pay attention to what's going on around you. Engage with people, have a conversation, try and relate to your peers and your classmates on a personal level. The relationships you build are going to be worth so much more than the likes you acquire. I promise, the algorithm will have plenty of crap for you to look at later. It's also horrifically rude in a class. Seriously. Talk to a real person instead.

Learn to articulate yourself. This isn't about slang. Language changes, words and phrases fall in and out of favor with time, geography, pop culture, etc. Most of the time my own wife can't understand me because of my gratuitous use of mid-western colloquialisms, enhanced (or exacerbated) by my consumption of bourbon... However, I can tell you from experience, nothing is worse than not being able to articulate yourself to those around you. Read, listen, ask questions, learn to use your words, this is important.

Last and certainly not least... Do your homework.