Note: If a photo looks fuzzy click on it to see if there is a hi-res version.
When I was first starting out as a social documentary photographer, my preferred method of operation was to ‘Meet on the street…shoot at the home.’ I would meet people that interested me on the street (or otherwise) and then set out to photograph them at their homes. Many of my best images came from this way of shooting. I would never know what I would find at their home.
…but that was the 1970’s film era. Fast forward to NOW and things are very different for me in the digital age.
‘Crazy’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1975
‘Crazy’ was his club name. I never found out his real name. I was going to give him a copy of this photo in exchange for his letting me photograph him. But, within the week or so it took me to get it developed and printed, he had left town.
‘Captain Jim’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1974
‘Captain Jim’ had a tattoo parlor in downtown L.A. When walking by it one night, I asked if I could shoot him. This was shot with a Hasselblad Super Wide C. I was thinking about giving up on the 4 x 5 Toyo View by this time and was testing the waters with 6 x 6.
‘Traveling Transvestite’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1974
If I named the photo now I’d call it ‘Traveling Transsexual’
‘Pensioner Skid Row’ Los Angeles, CA 1974
He was an old railroad worker. His kitchen was a hotplate in front of him and he cooked rice and beans or soup as he looked out his window. He lived in a cold water flat with the bathroom down the hall. I saw him in the open window looking down at me on the street. So I yelled up to him and asked if I could photograph him. He agreed and I got my pix.
‘Gypsy Woman’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1973
Back in the stone age, our cameras used mechanical shutters. They worked like a clock work mechanism and made a buzzing sound. The longer the exposure, the longer the buzzing. Every time I shot off an exposure, the dog would move its head to look for the noise.
‘Jenny’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1972
‘Burt’s Devotee’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1974
This is not a staged photograph. Everything is as exactly as shown. In this case, I just asked him why he liked Burt Reynolds so much. He showed me…I shot it.
‘Stripper on Rooftop’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1974
It was too hot and cramped in the apartment, so we went on the roof.
‘Christmas’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1971
‘Sylvia Haskins’ ~ South Los Angeles, CA 1972
A cleaning woman at home.
‘Babs’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1974
Barbara LeMay aka Sam Leslie Hoover aka ‘Glamazon’ (April 5, 1930 ~ 1992)
‘Hakenkreuz in a Dress’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1973
An American Nazi in her bedroom…photograph is not staged. I have to mention this disclaimer once in a while. The poor photogs on the photo forums think I stage these. They can’t conceive of anything like this unless it is all contrived.
‘Captain of Wall Street 90014’ Los Angeles
I met the Captain on Wall Street in downtown L.A. 40 years ago. We talked for a while and I asked if I could photograph him in his room. He agreed, so we went up to his cold water flat that was painted with a green jungle scene. He was an old merchant marine and had been all around the world. He had a shrunken head hanging in the window. Can you imagine trying to get a shrunken head past customs nowadays?
‘Vietnam Vet ~ Los Angeles, CA 1974
‘Christmas in Compton’ ~ Compton, CA 1972
‘The Sunlit Slipper’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1973
‘Final Inspection Before a Date’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1975
‘The Barroom Madonna’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1974
‘Joe’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1974
‘Ann on Her Waterbed’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1973
‘His Perfect Woman’ ~ Hollywood, CA 1974
‘Jennifur’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1974
‘Tramp with White Fingernails in the Style of Daido Moriyama’ ~ Los Angeles, CA 1971
Many people have to make their home on the street. This fellow died 40+ years ago. Let me honor his memory here…
Back in the 1970’s, photography was esoteric. Now a toddler can do it…and even a monkey can do it! I still approach people to let me into their houses to document them, but I almost never get any takers. They estimate there are near 3 billion cell phone cams in operation. Nowadays everyone has a cell phone cam and a $29 inkjet printer from Wal-Mart. I’m effectively shut down. They are self-sufficient and don’t need me.
The other day I approached a person with an offer to let me make a book about them. They pulled out their cell phone and showed me some pix. They said they had 25,000+ followers on Tumblr…why would they need me?
….I suspect as long as the electric is on, things wont change.
Another area that is problematic with access to strangers is that of my old age. When I shot all these film era photos I was 17 to 21 years old. Now that I’m an old cruster headed towards 70 I find there is a lot of boomer prejudice that shuts the door on me to accessing people I am interested in shooting.
I never knew there was soo much hatred towards boomers until one day I ran across a online post calling for a boomer holocaust.
I hope 1 day us millennials will be in charge of everything in America so we can do what Hitler did to the Jews unto you boomers! We need another holocaust! A boomer holocaust!
There are no shortage of boomer hate posts online. The saddest ones call for torture of old people in rest homes or outright murder.
Baby boomers are the most hated generation in history. Are baby boomers not afraid for what is coming? Boomers are literally going to be abused very badly in the retirement homes and by home hospice care nurses. EVERYONE hates boomers. And they hate boomers because baby boomers are complete psychopaths.
(…, if you have not got your ‘boomer death countdown clock’ yet…here it is.)
Well, times change and you either adapt to it or die.
I’ve always tried to adapt to what life throws at me. Since I am highly skilled at candid street photography I do not require cooperation from people I shoot. But street work only goes so far and does not get into a person’s home for an in-depth photo investigation.
Enter Instagram…which has been a big help to my work as a social documentarian. I can now document what I find noteworthy off of my tablet or computer screen for the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection.
While it is not as good as the old days, it is still quite satisfactory, as it makes up for any shortcoming with volume and diversity. The range of people and subject matter on Instagram is stupendous. And I could never hope to meet all these people otherwise.
Here are a few sample videos and stills I’ve made from Instagram…
‘Showing off her jiggly ass in the #metoo era’ by D.D. Teoli Jr.
Full Title of video:
‘A social documentary study of a girl on Instagram showing off her jiggly ass in the #metoo era for men and lesbian separatists to ogle over as America destroys itself in a soft civil war.’
Note: lesbian separatists and third-wave feminists object to the use of the term ‘girl’ for any female after she has reached the age of menstruation.
While I watch TV at night I can make videos of stills of anything on my tablet that catches my eye….it can’t get any easier.
‘Mandy Blanco Dream Girl’ by D.D. Teoli Jr.
I had not known about the big butt aka ‘thick’ craze until coming to Instagram. Mandy Blanco is a standout of this genre. As I researched it I found some of the girls use corsets to modify their figure. Others get butt augmentation or injections to develop a bigger butt.
‘Fat Ass’ by D.D. Teoli Jr.
Whatever topic you are interested in, you can probably find on IG. Fingernails, makeup, fashion, stretchmarks, acne…they have groups for em all.
For myself, I’m mostly fascinated with subjects related to women. But I will work in any social documentary area that interests me.
And when I want to produce something higher quality I will shut the TV down, get off the couch and put a little effort in the film. When you work in experimental filmmaking you can do it as relaxed or as anal as you like…it is all up to you and your vision.
Look at #metoo
Just in case…a backup link for Transmen. YouTube takes down a lot of my uploads, even with my best effort to abide by their censorship rules.
…thanks Instagram for helping an old boomer out!