6 Eyes, 3 Friends, 1 Tree


We are three friends. We are also three photographers who at times compete for the same clients.We have three ways of seeing things.
On the left is Paul Morris, the middle is me, the right is Robert Klemm
You often hear ” That’s been done before. ”  It is the chant and motto of the discouragement fraternity whose numbers, especially in this field, grow by the day. To the young, thank God, it falls on deaf ears. To others it resounds like an echo in a canyon and if we pay too much attention to it, numbs us to the point of internal stagnation. 
Here we three were in the Florida Everglades at a very familiar spot for locals who tread there, the “Z Tree,” a bald cypress who took a strange turn due to a force in nature. Many have stopped there and I have a host of images of this tree. 
Paul chose to work with his pinhole camera and Polaroid 55N film. From his view, the tree becomes part of the heavens reaching up connecting earth and sky. It was a brilliant day and through his lens, this tree celebrates it.
Robert, chose to work with a Deardorff   view camera scaled for 4X5 B&W film. His graphic silhouette of the tree quickly brings out the name it bears and accentuates a sense of power that gives reason to why it has endured whatever mishap fell on it. In a way it speaks for the power of nature with its resiliency of survival.
I chose to work with a Canon 5D  and a LensBaby. For me the tree was the main subject in a painting of an environment that exists no where else on earth. It’s warm colors muted by the len’s effect and its focus directed to the subject at hand was my interest. 
We could have had 50 photographers on that site that day and probably would have 50 different images produced with no two alike. Besides the beauty of the images, there are lessons here to be had. For me the lesson learned is about individuality and how, like the tree, one stands unique, despite it all. A different vision is in each one of us but it’s often blinded by the myriad of negatives that place blinders on it. Like snowflakes, no two will ever be exactly the same and that shouldn’t stop us from doing and re-doing things, with our own expression.
” That’s been done before “……maybe, but not this way. 

Importance of Approach

This is my Dad, Grandmother and Uncle. The location, Tampa, Florida,1938, actually Ybor City. My grandmother  never had much, having gone through some of the tougher economic times of this country but one thing she did have, invested in, and handed it down were photographs…professional ones that she had taken with her children, adding their families and later me whenever I visited her from New York. She had a favorite studio in Tampa, where an excellent photographer exercised  perfection in his craft, as you see here.
His canvas background and various chair props that appear in many other photographs he took of us through the years were his only “special effects”, long before PhotoShop. His concentration with his large format camera, lighting and on his subjects, all the while putting up with us and my grandmother’s demands added to the treasure chest of memories that made up her trove.  She recorded every picture in the corner with ink and properly stowed it away in one of many albums.
The importance she placed on these sessions were equally met by her photographer and maybe that is what this post is about;
…the importance of the time we take, the time we share and the time we leave frozen those who couldn’t be there.
Looking at this family portrait, we see a classic Black and White of its time, perfect posing ( a little stiff by today’s standard ) perfect lighting, exposure and expression. This was an important moment for all. You can see that he took it seriously because it was important to her his client, and to his reputation. This was Angelo’s Studio and his approach wasn’t just driven by money. He was contributing to history and his personal approach was seen in every portrait he did of our family through all the years.
A few short years later, my dad on the left went to the Army and my uncle, the chunky one, went to the Marines, both went to war and that made this image and this photographer’s skill and attention to the details much more precious to her and to those of us who will carry it on for our future generations.
Thank you Angelo, my deep respect.

What’s the Point of this Picture?

” Street Photography ” has a few requirements to be successful. You need awareness of your surroundings, an understanding of a situation, quick reactions… and a lot of balls.

Of course, you also need a good street and those happen in active cities. This one is in Paris, but that’s not the point of this, it could be anywhere. It’s a slice of life taken from your point of view and presented to others asking for theirs, and the best part is hearing what theirs is.

I was taken by this homeless man who fell asleep on a very busy corner in his makeshift shelter and he passing crowds, who walked by carried along their way. I had to stop and shoot the scene. My view was on the man who made for me an interesting shot, but it wasn’t until later in post that I noticed the girl who was as struck by his presence as I was.

DSCF4017-sleeping man-small

In my review I saw a different scene…  the homeless man was no longer the point of interest but it became the girl’s reaction to this situation. Now my image took on a different meaning, and a life of its own changing my original viewpoint.

I started to look back on the many other images done by others that became Icons for an era, a movement, used to support some other cause, and wondered if originally did its photographer intend something different than how it had been interpreted ? Do some images take on a life of its own, one far from its original intention?

Could this image become a statement by her surprised stare, an awareness of those who have and those who have not… the difference of one generation to another……

Without diving too deep into this image,

What do you see?




The “decisive moment”..when you find it, and when it finds you

There are times when you seek out to make an image. Searching to find it is one thing, but being there long enough is everything.

Old Trains


I love getting back to my roots in photography and for me that’s film..B&W, and with a larger format than 35mm…this case a Blad…( man do I love that camera for this.)
There’s something about the square space.  Looking down into that square for me becomes like a Zen moment.


So here I was with a group of various photographers, gathered together to share a day taking pictures at the Gold Coast Train Museum  in Miami, Fl. which was a perfect and willing subject.

After spending a few hours shooting the exteriors of the trains  I needed a break from the sun. I stepped inside one of the older cars and sat in one of the seats. My thoughts brought back memories of summer vacations , leaving New York, to visit my grandmother in Tampa, Fl., by a train just like this one, when train travel was more common.

I set the Blad on the tripod and took my time framing the scene. Just as I thought that I had found a perfect image, I looked down to focus, as an older gentlemen came inside tapping his cane followed by his younger granddaughter. As she sat down to duck my camera..

he asked: ” Am I in the picture?”  I raised my head slowly, as though to receive Holy Communion and answered emphatically

” You are the picture “ ..

I asked the gentleman if he could just stay where he was and if he could remember a time he might have traveled in this type of car. He did… it was during WWll, taking him, a young soldier to his training camp… and lost in his memories, he struck a pose, cane in hand. I released the shutter and like in a matador’s “moment of truth,”  time stood still long enough to steal it and become mine.

There are moments in photography that we look for but never find, but once in while, when we stop looking and take the time to connect to our surroundings,  the moment finds us.



Photographic Stuttering

I love cartoons, especially those from Looney Tunes. Their characters were priceless, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and poor Porky Pig ( you remember him…” Aba De, aba de, aba de, …that’s all folks”). He had a hard time trying to say something when getting out his thoughts and would often just change his stuttering words to another. Like him, we can often do it as well, only visually.



The image on the right is the original ( jpeg ) as shot in camera. Nothing great about it, while it caught my eye, I reluctantly passed on it in my first edit.


matthew pace photographer- wetplate wine color_-4  A few days later I did a second edit and pulled out the same image. By applying some filters and effects I came up with the image on the left… maybe something with an artistic flair…


A few days later, in a final review, I couldn’t leave it alone, so I did a Wet Plate rendition. matthew pace photographer- wetplate wine_-4

With digital , we could go on endlessly with just one image, regardless if it’s good or bad. We could try to make something better than what it was to begin with….

BUT the question is: Are we really making it better or are we just doing

” Photographic Stuttering “

Like Porky stumbling on his words, are we stumbling on an image, trying to get something out there and  that might not be any good to start with ?

are we visually saying ” Aba de, aba de, aba de,…that’s all folks” ?


Leave your thoughts below?


#http://www.matthewpace.com #miamiphotographer