Bill Mattick - New for '98

12/12/97

When we were in graduate school worshiping the ways of Winogrand and Robert Frank, we would often scold one another for not having our cameras loaded and ready at all times, as though they were weapons responsible for our survival.

Those were heady days....trying to figure out how to frame a picture of worth and significance while moving suddenly and anxiously through a crowd of unsuspecting, anonymous subjects on the street.  I remember a time at the east end of Market Street in 1978 I think......as I approached a group of assorted street hustlers and other regular inhabitants at the Powell Street turn around in the days before the Mayor and some other merchants' groups pressured the PD into rousting them, I noticed a young photographer in their midst trying to make some pictures.  He held his camera hesitantly between his waist and his eyes wanting to shoot but fearful of their reaction.........

......armed with a couple of Leicas and that edge, I have pursued the problematic and some would say anachronistic art of street photography for more than two decades......the scattered logic of documenting the illusive flux of real life seems to be troublesome to many viewers today who seek continuity and clear meaning in what they see..........I like the raw input and the unpredictability of the visual facts I gather by this method....everything depends on luck, intuition and a curiosity with the medium itself and a boundlessly enigmatic native culture....the following photographs are dedicated to this way of seeing.




...... I past this lady biker, fragile, tough, leathered with a proud tattoo...something in my memory stands out....I don't know what....that's OK....came back and made the picture.

......my daughter and son loading out of a local San Francisco Club where the band has just played, remembering Birdland and the Five Spot Cafe, prowling the lower east side jazz clubs, always around musicians, I was 17.

.....most of the press lounging about waiting for OJ ops.....I talked to the regulars....they had their own agendas, they were players too...for them the trial was a sideshow.

.....LA at 1:00am is all neon, steel and plastic...a cautionary glimpse at the end of the American road...one survivor checks his senses...

.....a hometown veteran stands stoic, resolute and nostalgic...his war a distant memory he claims to remember but says little about.....his thoughts are quiet and mysterious.



.....up late, waiting for the dawn in a hotel room in Hollywood, a musician and his companions, old friends and new, intoxicated by a night out together.....one of many before and again.


All the Best BILL M


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