Boston marathon 2011

Yesterday was off (Patriot Day) and day of the Boston Marathon. 3rd time in a row I’ve been there (and each time with a sunny weather).

There is another thing I should speak about but I am rather tired of it. You’ll find details here:

Just a quick note though, or instead an excerpt of what I said to Jim Armstrong, that journalist from WBZ-TV. It is not word-for-word of course, and just from memory (which I have very good), but it is representative of what has been cut out.

Me:  – Yes I’m shooting in the street. I am doing street-photography which is a genre of photography. I am not shooting randomly at people but instead it is a documentary approach of our everyday life, the cityscape, the people… Street Photography has a long tradition. There were people like Henri-Cartier Bresson, Robert Doisneau who started in the 30’s. Henri-Cartier Bresson is considered by many one of the greatest photographer ever… In America you have a very strong tradition of SP too. There was Helen Levitt, Harry Callahan, Garry Winogrand. These people are exhibited in Museums… In Boston there was a show last year at the BPL about Jules Aarons who was a Boston-based scientist who would shot in the street.

Jim Armstrong:  – I am sorry guys but I don’t know any of the names you guys are talking about.

… Well, I think that says a lot… But I am not complaining since I have been lucky enough to have been edited out from the footage. I mailed WBZ-TV about the story. I have invited them to make a more in-depth story about SP, as opposed to paparazzi-ing. Still waiting for an answer.


So… The Marathon. It was a good shooting day. Instead of taking pictures of the runners (I have few of that, not very good), I focused on the fringes, which of course are more interesting from an SP point of view. The very problem when you have such an event, with lots of people, is that you can be overwhelmed by what is going on at every corner. There is a risk of your internal rythm to overheat. Then you can lose the necessary lucidity, or “zen”, which is required for street shots. You have to calm down, and accept that you will miss a lot of opportunities.


There was a game at Fenway, and at Kenmore Square you had two lines of people, one waiting for the runners, and the other heading towards Fenway park.


Lots of parents with their kids. This year I was alone and my kids had play-date. Given what happened on Friday (see beginning of this post) I was a bit nervous when it came to have kids in my frame.


Go figure how they arrange street numbers in the US ….


In Massachusetts it is prohibited to drink alcohol outside. But on certain occasions restaurants and bars would arrange a closed area in front of the windows were people can have their drink outside…

… Hence people queuing for accessing the drink area.


One of my favorite shot that day.


Finally an exhausting day for me too. Well, much much less than for the runners of course, whose effort I admire sincerely. So, to finish this post two images of the runners done last years (and excerpt from my book “Common Boston”).




2 thoughts on “Boston marathon 2011

  1. That is the problem with dropping names of street photographers, they only mean anything other street photographers. Hell, I’ve dropped them onto plenty of other local photographers and not a one of them had a clue why they should care I just used it. Saying “You know how you find those photos of random people from fifty years ago and every detail about them is extremely interesting? That is what I’m out here trying to create for future generations” seems to go over well. Everyone has done that and can make the connection.

    Can’t wait for our marathon this year. Only time of the year that even begins to simulate a New York crowds.

    • Indeed, that makes sense. And that was part of my saying to that journalist too, as well as briefly describe how I operate… we chatted for a while actually. What upsets me the most in the story as it was aired is that there is no effort to balance, or to give the benefice of the doubt. By simply saying that the guys (i.e. us) where referring to a tradition, and giving few names (that I perfectly understand the journalist had no clue before… but he is a journalist isn’t he ?) one could sting the audience curiosity, and as a result I believe that people could make a more balanced opinion, or at least they are given a chance to. Absolutely not the case with that one sided and defaming piece of garbage they aired.

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