Category Archives: photographing street musicians

Unique weddings

After twenty seven years photographing weddings all over the U.S and Europe I have seen it all!

My best advice to you on having a creative wedding is make it your own!  Ask yourself What are you passionate about? Next,throw tradition out the window!

Sometimes its the venue that you pick that makes your wedding unique.I had a couple who instead of spending allot of $$ on the wedding they flew a few friends to Germany and had an intimate wedding at  Neuschwanstein castle.It was just the couple their two closest friends ,me,(their lucky photographer/me) and the wedding coordinator.Personally,this was most appealing to me.We had the ceremony at the castle and afterwards went for a carriage ride in the mountains,it was breath taking like a real life fairy tale without all of the stress that comes along with most weddings.





 In my experience, its always the place that makes your wedding unique and memorable.Below,the Biltmore in Asheville N.C how incredibly beautiful!


I had an unusual wedding in Clearwater Florida,The couple was inspired by their favorite movie”Pirates Of The Caribbean ” The bride and groom dressed as Pirates,they rented a Pirate ship for the reception and all of their guests dressed as pirates!


If you are a fun couple and love live music,art,food excitement,New Orleans cannot be beat.In my book one of the best backdrops for photography! You can actually have your very own parade and hire a second line band!


Some of my other favorites,in Key West Florida you can get married at Ernest Hemingways house (must not be allergic to cats)!


If you cant afford to get married in a castle in Germany,I recently discovered a man made castle in St Augustine Florida (there is no electricity/no bathrooms) but it is unique and beautiful!

Its called Castle Ottis


Also in the Florida keys there is an Island called little Palm Island (best kept secret of presidents and celebrities. Recommended for intimate weddings and a great place for honeymooners.There is no T.V’s or phones (for a reason). The private island has only thirty suites ,five acres of paradise. I dont know how the miniature Key deer got on the island but be warned they might eat your wedding bouquet!

1 a lp flow


Improve your travel photography/advice from a photojournalist


My very favorite thing to photograph is travel/street photography. Especially when I see a place for the very first time.Being a “people” photographer No place on earth inspires me more than New Orleans.To me its the people that make the place!


  My best advice.:
1) use a lens that cane do both wide angel and zoom.Invest in a camera backpack,limit the amount of equipment. Its NOT the equipment that capture the moment,its you.
2) Do not walk around alone.
3) Be fearless,go off the beaten path.While visiting New Orleans I went to the ninth ward. There is a magical place  called “musicians Village” that is were I met David
4) DO NOT go on a guided tour
5) Talk to people,get up close and personal
6) Street musicians are a good place to start,they never mind if you are talking their photo.
7)Pay attention to detail
8) think outside of the box,try interesting views,different angels and perspectives
9 ) Go out with your camera in the magic hour right after the sun comes up,right before the sun sets.After the rain,photograph reflections in puddles,take advantage of overcast light,makes colors pop and skin tones, even. Twilight immediately after the sun sets for night scenes.
10)Try to stay in the center of town,I shot this one from my balcony at three in the morning.
11)Most of all, let the story unfold before you,enjoy the adventure.Its like when I photograph a wedding I dont think about it and put pressure on myself,the story unfolds before me, I am there to tell the story


3ws Street musician at dusk in New Orleans

 To me there is no other place like New Orleans.As a “people”photographer” It is my heaven made to order!

I  love photographing the many street musicians.If I get a chance to hang around and talk to them I try to get some contact info so I can send them the photos.

One of my favorites, I met him on a chilly December early evening near the river.

New Orleans,streetmusician

The Gentleman  below I happen to run into twice,the second time I was with my couple who just got married and he played music for them and invited us into his home,it was magical!

DSC_0934playing musicby the rivadancin in new orleansa17

GRANDPA ELLIOT one of the most well known street musicians.I have seen him many times on documentaries about New Orleans. I just had to stop and talk to him, I mentioned that I also play the harmonica, he actually gave me his phone number and asked me to call him sometime!

a granpa elliott2agel

MUSIC IS EVERYWHERE!! I love just walking along the street,some of the best music I have ever heard! Jazz musician in New Orleans NewOrleans street musicianStreet musician New Orleans

 musicians hat David in Musicians village NewOrleans Musicians of NewOrleans


I have a lot to say on the subject of street photography so I am going to have several blogs on this subject,I post approximately once a week, sometimes more when I have the time.


” Street photographs are mirror images of society,displaying unmanipulated  scenes,with usually unaware subjects”
street musician,french quarter,new orleans at dusk
 Street photography shows a pure vision of something,like holding up a mirror to society.Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter,and often concentrates on a single human moment,caught at a decisive or poignant moment.On the other hand,much street photography takes the opposite approach and provides a very literal and extremely personal rendering of the subject matter,giving the audience a more visceral experience of walks of life they might only be  passingly familiar with.


Growing up in New York,It was my first photography class in ninth grade.My Mother would drive me into the heart of New York city ,she was very impatient and I had to roll my window down and shoot from the car, she would say “shoot,Shoot,life is happening fast “! .I wish I still had my work from that time,I do still have these photographs in my mind; angry faces of NYC cab drivers cursing at the traffic,   old ladies looking at the world from the safety of their windows.I have just one photograph from around that age.
 the Bowery NYC,1972
I started to take the train into the city by myself and wander down into”the bowery” a “very bad neighborhood” I was told to stay away from, of course that  intrigued  me!    I started talking to the street people, back then they called them”bums” I asked this old man, bottle of whisky between his legs,sitting against the tire of an old truck ,wisdom and pain displayed on his many wrinkles”Hey,Whats going on,how are you doing today”that would  strike up  a conversation, He then started to tell me a bit about his life while I listened and photographed him,periodically putting my camera down.
      I would bring the film back to class and develop it in the darkroom watching the photo  come to life before my eyes in the developer, in those days I had to wait a long time before I could actually see the photograph .
     I was born with amblyopia and only have sight in one eye), I learned much later in life this is a good thing, close your eye and see the world with one eye, after all that is what the camera does
   ,My photography teacher loved my work,at that time in my life I did not have any confidence in myself,(coming from an abusive home ) it felt strange to me to be complimented, I did not believe in myself all I knew was that I fell in love with photography,It was a way for me to not only express myself but a way to capture a moment forever..I was hooked!!
There seems to be a sentiment out there that somehow “legitimate” street photography involves only candid shots. I began with candid shots myself. It was when I began interacting with my subjects, however, that my photography truly began to stand out. By involving your subject in the process, you can not only compose your shot better, but also reveal more of the subject’s personality.
   I tend to do both,it depends on my subject
 New Orleans Lady

Start in a crowd.

I encourage new street photographers to start with a busy public place such as a street market or an outdoor event as a comfortable start.  You are more invisible in a crowd and can more easily overcome your fear of photographing strangers. Street performers are excellent street photography subjects to start shooting. After all, they are there to be seen and are used to being photographed plus they are part of the culture of the place you are visiting. Buskers perform to make a few bucks, so shoot away, and be generous with what you toss in their hat!

Jah Bless

I photographed the shot above of a street  vendor  at the Goombay festival in Key West. There is always that one face in the crowd that stands out, that particular day, this man was the one face.At that time I was photographing for the newspapers.


Now that I am older,I enjoy getting to know my subjects,getting up close and personal and listening to their stories.

I was starting out in my career,not as bold as I am now and shot mostly candid with a 300mm zoom lens.I walked up and down the crowded streets that day,hoping for that one shot that would capture this colorful Caribbean festival. I kept my eye on my subject waiting for just the right moment. I had my camera ready and zoomed in on him,a tourist stopped by his set up and asked to see a particular item, that is when he stuck his head through the beautiful material that framed him perfectly with abundant color,that was it!, the photograph that captured the festival, even though I was using film and couldn’t see it right away, I knew in my heart that I had gotten “the one”!

New Orleans,streetmusician

The street musicians of New Orleans among my favorite subjects to photograph (in my favorite city on the planet!)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”
~ Imogen Cunningham