[ Photographs, Mainly of Women ]
Ideal conditions and fancy equipment do not
always produce the best pictures. The limitations
in budget, resources, and time can force us
to maximize our creativity. In between work
and sleep, many young photographers got their
start squeezing their passion into every available
In your newest series “Photographs, Mainly of Women” you take on two classic themes, New York City
and Women. What is your experience with both? How are they connected?
Though I grew up in Queens, “New York City” as I know it first occurred for me when I went to NYU for school. Though the people have become more homogenized over the last decade, I still feel there’s interesting street photography to be mined. Many people ask me if I draw the ire of strangers when I shoot them, but I find people in New York so thick-skinned (or oblivious) hardly anyone ever reacts; they just keep walking by. Once in a while you run into an uncomfortable situation, but I find that being polite and making it obvious you have no ill intentions fixes almost any problem.
Where did the idea for the series originate? How do you select the women for each image?
Originally I did not intend to do a series on women, but a large portion of my street photography happened to coalesce into this project. I expect to release a non-women based book of street photography in the next few years. Regarding the women specifically, my work schedule largely dictates my shooting time, so I try to maximize the hours before and after work. I am fortunate that my job is near Koreatown and its ample foot traffic. I would crisscross intersections and snap women that struck me until it became too dark to shoot.
Was the project a fully formed idea from the beginning? What did you discover as the body of work
As I mentioned before, I did not go into street photography wanting to do a book on women. As I reviewed the rolls and rolls I was taking, certain patterns emerged and I eventually narrowed my focus. I found that great variety occurred in seemingly repetitive shots. Many times I thought my photographs were too “samey,” but the editing process bore that out to be false. Truly the individual subjects dictate the tenor and feeling of the photos, and since each person is unique, similarly composed images always seemed distinct from one another.
What is your relationship to the women in the pictures? Do you typically work with strangers or people
My previous work often dealt with photographing those close to me. For this work I decided to break off from that trend and photograph strangers only. This produced some challenges, both personal and technical. I had to overcome the shyness that all photographers feel at times. Also, I had to learn my equipment extremely well to make sure I missed as few “moments” as possible.
What does working in B/W Ô¨Ålm mean to you? How does Ô¨Ålm affect your working process?
I have never shot digital, so I can’t compare the two. I usually work in color (Fuji Astia is my color film of choice), but I decided to learn black and white for this project. My inspiration came mainly from Garry Winogrand and Daido Moriyama, though I like neither of their street photography work on this subject. Garry WinogranD’s “Women Are Beautiful” to me is a swing and a miss, and I don’t like any of Daido Moriyama’s books at all. Rather, I drew from WinogranD’s whimsy and Moriyama’s intensity.
What type of equipment and Ô¨Ålm do you use? Do these choices play into your work or shooting style?
I used a Leica M6 and a 3rd generation 35mm f/2.0 Summicron for almost all of the work. For film I chose Kodak Tri-X. I know the film stock has changed dramatically from its heyday, but I still chose it for sentimental reasons. The Leica M6 is unobtrusive, small, and rewards experience. I know for a fact I would not have gotten many of these images with any other camera. Due also to the constant motion of both myself and my subjects, its mirror-less construction undoubtedly added sharpness to many photos.
Why did you decide to publish the work as a book project?
One thing I obsess about is output. Another thing I obsess about is books. I knew when I entered photography I loved pouring over, collecting, and learning about monographs from my favorite artists. Even if it was just for my own vanity, I wanted to edit, construct, and distribute books of my photography. This is how I formed my consciousness about photography, so naturally I decided this would be the way I speak to the world about my own work.
Publishing, printing, exhibiting can all be tricky, was there anything you learned that could be passed
on to photographers considering printing their first book series?
don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t get frustrated. Whether the issue you run into is a lack of knowledge of InDesign, inability to color correct well, or even just lack of confidence (all of which I have experienced), the only way to finish a project is to persevere. If you screw up, that’s okay too. If you compare my most recent book with my first, the difference is clear. The only thing that divides people who talk from those who accomplish is follow-through.
When you work in series, how do you know when its time to say, “Ok, that’s it, series complete.”?
It is a pet peeve of mine that many photographers seem to work on projects endlessly. To remedy this problem, I decided to publish one photography book per year. The fear is that this might dilute the work’s quality, but the key to that issue is to make sure you work on many projects concurrently, so as one is maturing, another is beginning. I have released five works so far, and while their quality certainly varies, none of them was made before its time. At the moment I can think of three other projects in various states of completion.
Where is your favorite place to eat in New York City?
Lately I have been hitting up Petey’s Burger in Astoria. Try their new vegetarian Greek burger. I am not a vegetarian personally, but I still order it.
William Juseck is a New York-based photographer who works in the field of portraiture. His fine art photography has been exhibited extensively in North America and Asia. In addition to his fine art work, he shoots food, special events, and interiors. He also provides consulting services for other photographers and photography businesses.
Web site: www.williamjuseck.com
Facebook page: www.tinyurl.com/4nxh3qr