30 Days of Noir: Day 6 ~ The One That Started It All

day-7_the-start_jerseystyle-photography

It Always Starts The Same Way….

Has it really been nine years?

Before I get to far along on this 30 Days of Noir trek, I thought it best to show the image that got me started down this dark path of conceptual noir photography.

It was 2007. I was early on into my Flickr postings and had been following a group called Utata closely.

The group was managed by Greg Fallis, among others. Greg is an ex-PI, current writer and, morel picker, long walker and just about a Renaissance Man About Town. (Check out his writings and photography.)

Greg and the Utata gang often issued photo challenges, that they called Iron Photographer (like the Iron Chef TV show). Greg would give three elements that needed to be included in a photo and you had to incorporate them.

In looking back, the elements for Iron Photographer 23 were:

1 – something liquid
2 – a weapon
3 – shot in a noir style

I had  never really considered “noir style” before. But when I read this, I jumped on it. This concept was my first, and only, idea, if I remember correctly.

It was 2007, just after Olivia had been born, and though it was early evening, she was asleep.. My wife had gone out for a couple of hours. This idea popped into my head so I sat down at our dining room table with an overhead light and a few props.

This image – titled It Always Starts The Same Way.. – this was the idea that I submitted.

Greg and the Utata staff appreciated the effort. I think they put this image on the front page of their website for the day and gave me some good encouragement.

It was that little spark of success and encouragement that opened the door to the rest of what has transpired after that one little photo challenge. Those IP’s were a great way for me to start taking more than snapshots – to think about an idea, work the scene.

To this day, I thank Greg and Utata for this gift. In a long, round about way, it was this Iron Photographer challenge that, later on, had me sitting in a record store in Red Bank, New Jersey, one in which Bruce Springsteen walked into. That thread isn’t as tenuous as it may first appear.

But about the photo…what I do like about this image  is the story that is left open. You don’t really know if this guy is a good guy, bad guy, or just a just a wrecked guy. It’s open-ended, and it let’s the viewer draw their own conclusions, whatever they may be.

That gray area. Whether it’s the debatable nature of Sam Spade (he WAS having an affair with his partner’s wife but still felt the need to find out who murdered Archer), or how gas-station owner Jeff Bailey is trying to put his past behind him in Out Of The Past, that gray area is what’s intrinsic to good noir.

More on that to come…

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

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