One of my favourite Death Valley photos, taken a few years ago on the salt pans at Badwater, the lowest point in North America. I think it nicely catches the hot shimmering distances of Death Valley (this was taken sometime early autumn), and that decisive moment when the couple on the left are looking back, videoing the mountains behind me. Everyone takes a photo like this (and we all owe a lot to Richard Misrach‘s “Desert Cantos” when we do it), but this one’s mine, I guess.
Tug “Richard Brusco” working the Estuary off the Dutra Yard one winter’s twilight, as seen from Union Point. I’m not really much of an obsessive tug-spotter, but I do like the atmospheric feeling in this image, and it’s such a typical sight around where I live — a large workaday tug setting off for home (Seattle) or out onto the Bay. Most tugs you see around Oakland are smaller tractor tugs; this one’s more likely to be seen pulling large barges or scows along the coast, I guess.
Two of my favourite landscapes, brought together with Photoshop. This is one of the few images I have that also works well printed onto canvas: rather than looking gimmicky (as so often happens), the texture of the canvas actually complements the texture of the image itself. Looks great at about a metre square….
Jingletown’s Real Urban Wildlife I live in the Jingletown district of Oakland, a busy semi-industrial neighbourhood down by Oakland Estuary. It’s changed a lot in the fifteen or so years I’ve been living there, but one thing hasn’t changed: it’s teeming with urban wildlife. I don’t mean the inevitable raccoons, or the squirrels, or the cute deer eating rose bushes (there are no deer in Jingletown, I’m pretty damn sure of that), I mean the industrial urban wildlife: forklifts, concrete trucks, shipping containers, truck trailers, tugs, barges, homeless RVs, discarded shopping carts, couches and TVs — things like that. I see this sort of wildlife every time I’m outside in my neighborhood. It’s everywhere, if you know what you’re looking for (I think most people just filter it out). It scurries around all day (especially the forklifts, which I have to dodge or ride around almost every block down East 7th riding my bicycle to work), or lumbers up 23rd Avenue or Kennedy Street (the concrete trucks), or it appears overnight on the street (especially the couches and the shipping containers), or it slowly moves from place to place over the days and weeks. It hides in the bushes and parks, or under the freeway over crossings, or it’s penned in […]
The Occupation: Places (Part 4 of a four-part series. Previous: The People). Telegraph Avenue was something of a second home for me back then. It was easy to walk to from where I lived downtown; I did a lot of shopping up there (especially music and books); I ate and drank there a lot; and I used to help friends of mine sell jewelry, t-shirts, and photos, and pierce ears, etc., on the street. So it was depressing to see a lot of the familiar places boarded up or with smashed windows (something everyone thought was wrong, regardless of politics). And it was surprising to outsiders who’d never actually seen the place, to see just how tawdry and unfriendly People’s Park could be in real life.
The Occupation: The People (Part 3 of a four-part series. Previous: The Police; next: The Places). I recognized most of the major players, and a lot of the Telegraph regulars, even though most of them probably wouldn’t have had a clue who I was. Even some of the BPD officers were at least familiar with my face, which helped sometimes (weirdly, the police tended to treat me like a professional photographer and let me through lines, etc.). Two of the more locally-famous names showing up in the images below are Maudelle Shirek and Michael Delacour; even Rosebud Denovo’s in there if you know what you’re looking for, I think. Even during the middle of the demonstrations and troubles there was a constant stream of shoppers on Telegraph; some of the usual weekend street stalls remained open in the face of some pretty annoying disruption and sudden loss of potential customers as the street was swept of pedestrians (there’s even a wierd-looking photo of me in there somewhere minding the shop). Next »
The Occupation: The Police (Part 2 of a four-part series; previous: Background; next: The People). The police were everywhere around People’s Park. Berkeley police; Livermore police; the Highway Patrol; Albany, Richmond, Oakland police; the Alameda County tactical response squad — all with something to prove. The out-of-town cops seemed predictably vicious, out to kick some of that supposedly soft Berkeley ass (all those hippies! all those punks! — it must have seemed like cop heaven at times) and show the Berkeley cops how to really put down a riot. The Berkeley police (who’d lost control during the first hours of the riots) seemed bent on proving that their mixture of firmness and reasonably good-humoured tolerance would finally work. Once the police worked out what was happening (late Friday night, I suspect), they started using a bunch of unnerving strategies and tactics. In particular, they’d suddenly issue ambiguous orders or signals about which side of the road (for example) was OK and which was not, then almost immediately arrest anyone on what they determined was the wrong side — without giving people any time to understand the orders, let alone get across to the right side. What constituted the right side was almost always quite inscrutable […]
Berkeley People’s Park Riots, 1991 (Part 1 of a four-part series. Next: The Police). This is not a story about the 1991 People’s Park riots as such; it’s really an extended photo essay about the occupation of Berkeley in August 1991. A version of this was first published on my old Pandemonia site in 1994; this is a long-overdue aesthetic and technological update to that original version, but it hews pretty closely to the original’s content and aims. The images included here are a small selection of the photos I took that week, divided a bit arbitrarily into “Police”, “Places”, and “People”. And yes, they’re not technically very good, but they’re all I’ve got. There’s also a simple gallery to go with this essay, but the images there aren’t meant to supersede the ones here and in the next few posts. * * * I missed the first few People’s Park riots on Telegraph Avenue completely — I’d be playing cards in the evenings with friends in the Milano, and I’d emerge into the night on Telegraph and notice that there’d been another riot…. I’d feel a little stupid, looking at the glass-strewn streets, and I’d wonder how I could miss the […]
London In The 1980’s I’ve got a new show of some of my prints at Kefa Coffee, Jingletown, Oakland, for the month of September 2014: “London In The 1980’s”, basically a print version of my London In The 1980′s portfolio, with a few extras. The show starts on Monday September 8, and will probably last into October sometime. Unfortunately there won’t be any sort of formal opening party or anything (it’s at least the fifth time I’ve had prints up on the walls here), but if you get a chance, drop by and take a look. Kefa Coffee is at 422 29th Ave Oakland, CA 94601; it’s open 6.30am – 2pm weekdays and Saturday, and 9am to 2pm Sundays. It’s a great friendly place for coffee, breakfast, lunch, and snacks…
Pandemonia’s on its way back from languishing in semi-retirement for a decade or so. It’s a long-term work in progress, so please excuse all the missing content, etc., while I set up the new WordPress version of the site. Some time in the next few weeks or months Pandemonia will be a less-formal version of my HamishReid.com portfolio site, with more updates, more of the sort of nothing-special images I wouldn’t put up on my portfolio, and a bunch of interminable posts about photos, gear, shows, etc. For those of you wondering where all the old stuff is, you can find most of it hidden away under Old Pandemonia.