I am a self-taught photographer who began “taking pictures” at a young age in the small town where I grew up. All my work is currently done in digital format although I began working with film and learned darkroom techniques for which I am thankful. Darkroom time has given me a perspective on light, image capture and the sense of ownership of the frame.

Study at the Houston Center for Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops have shaped my approach . Mel DiGiacoma, Jock McDonald and Kip Brundage have influenced my work as instructors and mentors.

I consider myself a street photographer, with an emphasis on the expanded portrait that includes a small view into the surroundings of the subject. Not enough to define the locale but enough to raise questions about the subjects intent; what is he looking at, where is she headed. I often try to establish eye contact with the subject with the camera filling in for my “eyes”.

The images are composed in the camera with no cropping and a bare minimum of retouching. Since I almost always work with available light in complex lighting situations I will occasionally adjust exposure and contrast, but never with the intention of altering what my eye saw but rather to bring out facial detail hidden in a shadow. I often leave the face in shadow while exposing for an adjacent object.

I am drawn to the odd juxtaposition of the subject and its surroundings. My future plans include a series of “portraits” done from behind, a collection that focuses on hands rather than faces and night images done in low available light. I love the Latin culture, its bright colors, interesting faces and the blend of the secular and the religious that are found everywhere you look.

©2019 Mark Johnson.
Bob Schwartz

Although I have done wildlife and landscapes I always return to people as the main theme of my work. Several years ago I was asked to join a group of wildlife photographers who were going to the East Jetty in Galveston to record a “big bird event”. I arrived with my longest lens, a 200mm zoom, and discovered that 600-800mm lenses were the norm. I soon found myself taking photographs of the other photographers and tourists on the jetty, not the birds who looked to me to be half way to the Yucatan. One of my images, of a couple huddled against the wind and rain, taken that day hangs in the offices of a local energy company.

My photographic journeys have taken me to Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Vietnam, India the Middle East and Cambodia. Nothing suits me more than to wander the streets, especially the markets and bazaars where the colors are vibrant with the native dress, local fruits, vegetables, exotic spices and live animals.

Bob Schwartz resides in Houston, Texas