The past 12 months have been a fantastic journey. Along the way I have had the privilege of meeting many talented mobile photographers and have been inspired by so many more.
As we approach the festive season I thought it would be interesting to invite 24 mobile photographers who have inspired and supported me in one way or another and ask them to offer an insight into their photography, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead.
Each day until Christmas Eve we will be featuring one photographer in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.
Today’s featured photographer is Richard Koci Hernandez.
Richard Koci Hernandez or Koci as many know him is a photographer who needs no introduction. He is a master of story telling through the imagery and one of my favourite photographers. It was an honour to have had the opportunity to interview Koci for issue 3 of the Mobiography Digital magazine early this year and I am totally made up to be able to include Koci in December’s series. The photograph he has chosen as the photo he is most proud of is simply fantastic.
The photo I am most proud of is…
I would like to think that at least once in every photographer’s time on the street shooting pictures that they experience something like what happened to me during the making of this photograph in Vietnam at the beginning of this year. Call it what you want, the spiritual side of me could label it a ‘religious experience’ the more academic side of me might call it ‘being caught in the flow’ and the SciFi nerd pop culture reference might be having a Matrix moment. They’re rare beasts, like a Sasquatch or a Jackalope but when you ‘see‘ one you’re a believer. So this is the story, a simple one, but one that left and extremely powerful impression on the storyteller. This is my true believer moment.
I was in Hanoi Vietnam on a separate video documentary project and had finally come to the part of the production where you can actually rest for a few minutes and have what some might consider a day-off, if one really does exist on a documentary production. Anyway, I was having coffee on the fifth floor of a rooftop café enjoying the slightly muggy overcast day watching the busy traffic below. I took a gulp of coffee and was astonished by the overwhelming amount of traffic on the street below and also noticed and thought how beautiful it was that the intermingling of motorbikes, people and cars seemed to flow and move so perfectly despite the obvious appearance of chaos. It was dense, frenetic and very Hanoi.
At some point during this little interlude I noticed two girls in the crowd arm in arm. Why they jumped out at me amidst the crowd and why I took notice of this seemingly ordinary moment I’ll never know, but I was transfixed on them and their journey on the street below. I watch them for a while as they made their way through the dense street and then it hit me. I can almost describe it as a very slow motion flash forward. I could almost see it and feel it before it was going to happen. The ‘it’ that I am referring to is the future image itself unfolding in front of me in a Matrix like Bullet time (also known as frozen time, the big freeze, dead time, flow motion, or time slice) and it became deadly quiet in my mind as I reached for my iPhone and almost like being present at the parting of the Red Sea watched the couple move through time and space in a perfect balance that seemed to clear the streets and offer this simple yet layered and complex composition to my lens. For me it was pure magic, soul crushing photographic ecstasy and certainly a gift from the photographic gods above. All I could do once normal time resumes was smile be grateful finish my coffee and get back to work.
Believe it or not, it happened! I saw it and this wasn’t the first time. I’ve been, caught in the flow before, I’ve seen the lumbering Sasquatch in the woods and for me it’s the most powerful, spiritual, emotive experience that I can have as a photographer, and this is what keeps me coming back to the streets with my camera in hopes of this little gift from the photo gods.