Sunday, January 29, 2006

David Trattles: Documentary Photographer

David Trattles tells tales of his worldwide adventures... with pictures.

I was invited to a gallery opening showcasing three photographers. Out of the three one particular photographer stood out. It wasn't because the photos were published in magazines or that they were any good. They weren't good. That would be almost insulting. They were great! The texture, the lighting, the composition, people's expressions and the surroundings all made the images captivating. It was the stories that David told that really gave the photos life.

His black and white prints of german cowboys, Elvis of the Yukon, Inuits riding the bus, cursing Newfoundlanders (that loved their wives), flamboyant dancers in New York, cheese rolling, women boxers in India, tomato fights, gave us a small window into the rest of the world. The stories were entertaining and emblished with his different accents while trying to immitate the various people he had met.

At one point there were about 12 of us in a 6x6 foot room listening in. It was like being a kid again listening to your wacky, but cool, uncle tells stories of his childhood or some such thing. Wonder and fascination come to mind when thinking about the whole experience.

It's heartbreaking to know that a photographer of this calibre and devotion, who has been published in various magazines, reaps the financial benefits similar to that of someone on welfare. That said to see David's photos up close go to the following link and if you like any of them buy a print or two it'll help finance his next work trip (as publications generally do not finance the trips very well) and allow him to eat.

note: some of the web site doesn't work but his email does as well as the pictures.


Anonymous said...

If he makes so little money, how does he print his work, and how does he get to those fascinating places to take those wonderful pictures?

His stuff is really good! I will visit his site again. I wish I'd heard the stories...

(Pointless note: How come you never hear about great photographers who never leave their own backyards? It seems the only photographers that bear notice seem to need to go somewhere - Europe, Asia, somewhere exotic! And there are a few that can sell pictures of their backyards, sure, but they live in the far north or somewhere and their back yards are hundreds of kilometers big and full of wolves and polar bears...? Why does space and distance seem so important to photography?)

BagelHot said...

Regarding the backyard photographers... Maybe because they stay in their backyards they're not the types to introduce themselves to other people and hence they remain unknown.

Another point, might be that we like to see images from far away places because it's different than the same old location that we live in. New and exciting. The same but different.

Who knows? maybe the backyard guy should go to germany or india. Maybe he'll find people's interest higher there.

After listening to David, it's also the stories of the hardships, the experiences, and how the people in the photos make do with what they have.

We as people may be able to relate more to other people than a story about an old tire or some other inanimate object.

I was never really a big protraiture fan until ssing those photos and seeing those stories.

Cupcake said...

David certainly has a very good eye for composition and lighting. Does he have a drawing background too? His tonality looks as though he has practiced his grayscale shading with pencil over and over and over again, as he is able to pick out these shades on camera very well.

Perhaps we need an "outside" photographer to shoot Toronto within the context of visitor/outsider to capture similar moments that locals take for granted. Fresh eyes tend to see the daily differently no matter where one lives in the world.

Anonymous said...

Put this comment section together with your post about the "tot with the big eyes" you saw on Spadina, (a few entries into the future) and I think something important is being said...

I'm not sure what, but I do find we don't look at our own backyards with big eyes any more.