For composition, it means taking what you know and playing with it. Even doing things that go against instinct, knowing that some shots will probably stink in order to find something new that really works. Changing physical perspective is easy. Literally, you just cross the street. This happened by pure luck in June when I started delivering healthy, nutritious meals to people with serious illnesses throughout New York City for God's Love We Deliver.
Three days a week, my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. so that I can hop on the M-train to Brooklyn — camera in tow — where I ride in a van and carry freshly-prepared, delicious meals to the front doors of people living with AIDS, cancer, heart disease and many other serious illnesses. Riding along in the GLWD van, the first morning sun provides ideal lighting to illuminate objects reflecting off of the shiny surfaces that surround us everywhere we go; cars, trucks, motorcycles, buildings, glass, metal, water and so much more. These surfaces are my canvas. In them, I see an endless variety of unique reflections, refractions and distortions that take the ordinary landscapes of our lives and bend, twist and blend them into beautiful, fascinating, whimsical and sometimes bizarre shapes and color combinations.
The effort required to create pictures that aren't like anything you've ever seen before is an education in itself. Through doing and learning (and luck); guided by the observations and encouragement of wonderful friends and family, I've made it to this point. Then add two more elements that help inform what you see here: One, my good friend Joey Garcia, a truly gifted professional photographer, has been my mentor now for over a year, guiding me on how to shoot quality photographs. It started with the Galaxy LG Android camera phone I used to take over 120,000 photos since 2011. Trust me, maybe one percent of those are worth a second look.
Shooting in 2013 with my Galaxy LG Android. I'll go anywhere — including the gutter — to capture an image. (Joey Garcia photograph)
Then, last November, Joey handed me his Canon G11 DSLR camera and told me to go out and shoot. Every time I'd see Joe he'd inspect the day's captures and give valuable feedback on how I could improve my technique. He eventually told me to just hold onto the G11 — "It's too heavy to carry back and forth (from home)," he told me. I've shot almost exclusively with the Canon camera Joe loaned me ever since. Almost 50,000 photos. That's another huge reason I've been able to step up my game. The Canon can capture detail and from a perspective that produces some surprising images.
I've been told countless times, "Your camera takes great pictures!" I smile now when I hear that. Joe will tell anyone, "cameras don't take great pictures. Photographers do." I hope you like NEW YORK REFLECTIONS, Chapter III. — With gratitude, Rob
All images (c) Rob Copeland Photography, 2014, except
third image in the series by photographer Joey Garcia.