Color Street Photography

A Buck in a Guitar Case

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a distinct odor
a buck in a guitar case
exchanging smiles

I walked right by this group of teens and twenty-somethings originally, but something compelled me to turn back around. I walked up and threw a dollar in the guitar case even though no one was playing guitar. I assume the majority of the group was homeless judging by the smell and their generally disheveled appearance. I shouted a request to get a snapshot, and thought they said no at first, so I started to walk away. Then they started motioning me back, I slipped off my headphones (shouldn’t have been wearing them in the first place) and he said “Why did you take off so quick?” I replied “I thought you said you didn’t want any pictures.” His response was “I didn’t dress up like this for nothing, you can take my picture!”  and I did and now you are looking  at it, and I successfully shared his smile with the world, at least the people in the world that take the time to look at this blog. I want to spread the humanness across broadband and WiFi signals, reaching the living brains at the end of the connections, illiciting a response. I’ve actually had photography teachers tell me they HATE it when people smile at their cameras. I couldn’t imagine why. Smiling is infectious and it’s free and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Color Street Photography

The People of Colfax

j_nix_streetwork (1 of 1)-600His name is Scott, but his friends know him by his middle name, Mordecai. I met him while shuffling my way up Colfax. I dug in my pocket and gave him a dollar to which he replied “I need a dollar like I need another hole in my head.” I said “Oh, I’m sorry I hope I didn’t offend you.” He assured me there was no offense taken and that he would go ahead and accept the money this time. I spent about 15 or 20 minutes with him, we chatted about life and he told me many stories. Eventually his good friend Al joined us and Mordecai explained his situation with much care. You could tell that he held his friend in high regard and was proud of their friendship.

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He spoke about his belief that Al will someday walk again, and proceeded to justify his case by physically showing me why he believed it. We didn’t really talk about anything in particular, we just talked about whatever came up.One of my biggest obstacles as a photographer is my ineptitude in social situations. While walking down Colfax it dawned on me that I talk to more people on Colfax then any other public place that I frequent with my camera. Some of my favorite street portraits I’ve taken happened on this street.

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The people I meet on Colfax are almost always outcasts by nature. Every encounter with an actual human being is a valuable learning experience for me. I’m learning how to listen. Taking street portraits is a little different than just snatching a decisive moment discreetly, it is slightly more direct. You have to talk to people, hang around with them and just let them tell their story. I only asked one question: “What happened to your face?” he never actually answered the question, but he talked a great deal on many things for a good while. I was just grateful  to be talking to someone in person.

j_nix_streetwork (1 of 1)-601The people I talk to might not know it, but they are making my day by letting me into their world for a brief moment. Each experience like this makes the next one that much easier. I’m infinitely curious about everyone I come across. I hope to continue meeting more people and breaking down those ridiculous barriers that are only holding me back from living my life to its full potential. We don’t talk enough anymore.j_nix_streetwork (1 of 1)-604

In my experience it’s been avoid any unnecessary human contact at all costs. Don’t make eye contact, don’t get in anyone’s way, don’t even say hello. Just put your head down and carry on. Then I got into photography and all that changed. Instead of staying home to avoid the crowd, I insert myself into the middle of the throng and I watch life happen before my eyes and I compulsively start click, click, clicking away, but this isn’t really about me. It’s about my new friends Al and Mordecai, two guys down on their luck, two kind strangers, two human beings who can still smile despite it all. They are the people who inspire me to keep working through the uncomfortable moments and click the shutter anyway. Sometimes I close my eyes while I take the shot, in anticipation of a possible punch to the face. Maybe that is just the nature of a photographer. That slight amount of risk that makes the experience that much more memorable. Thank you guys for letting me turn my lens on you. I appreciate it more than you know.

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Color Street Photography

The Angry Panhandler

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begging with a frown
the angry panhandler
a cup in your face


Denver Five-Oh

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public oversight
a constitutional right
policing police

Black & White Street Photography

Are You Not Entertained?

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sick fascination
violence and aggression
murder and mayhem

Color Street Photography

Marathon Runner

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marathon runner
26 miles of style
athletic fashion

Urban Landscape

The Urban Landscape of Denver, Colorado

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unkempt back alleys
graffiti realism
street art in Denver