My Favorite Photos of 2019

Looking back, I’m really amazed with some of the pictures I’ve taken. It helps that I’ve been incredibly mobile and have been all over the world. But I’ve also had some great opportunities to engage folks and find surprise moments that I never could have planned for.

While 2019’s not quite over, I’ve been thinking about my favorite photos from this year.

3 Men and Some Lines – Taipei, Taiwan

I get really mixed reactions with this one. Actual street photographers love the play of lines, wide-angle view, and subject interaction. Others say “oh, you were so ruuuude,” etc. The confrontational expressions and wide-angle view sucks you in and makes many viewers…Uncomfortable. It makes you think I’ve stood there for several seconds, pulling out a camera and framing despite their protests.

The truth of this image is that they were caught by surprise and I’m showing their reactions. As I was crossing, I placed the camera to the eye, intending to capture a candid documentary angle. Since I was quite visible and very close, they all stopped simultaneously. Each of their expressions is basically resting bitch-face while the center guy was being cheeky. We both laughed after I took the shot; there’s no actual anger in this scene but divorced of context, you can’t really tell.

Surprise Proposal – Pittsburgh, USA

I like doing street portraits on occasion, especially for people I see pulling out their smartphones. I take the opportunity to practice my portraiture and then email the results back to them.

I saw this couple at Point State Park doing the smartphone thing. They were so photogenic, I offered to take a set for them. Afterwards, Jared asked if I could take a few more of them. Fortunately, I swapped to my 35mm f/1.4 – and then he went down on one knee!

The series turned out beautifully, by the way.

Life of a Coal Miner – Welch, WV, USA

While I was returning home from one of my last jobs with VentureSum Corporation, I saw this man having a roadside sale of his personal effects. A former coal miner living in rural West Virginia, I learned a small amount about Johnny Bishop’s life.

With permission, I did a short documentary writeup with photography. I also sent copies to him as a gift.

Purification: Sensō-ji (浅草寺), Tokyo

Taken at Sensō-ji shrine in Tokyo, during my visa run back in September. The man inhaling the incense smoke along with a religious gesture makes it look as if he’s taking in some sort of divine essence.

Giving Directions – Tainan, Taiwan

I saw this woman reading at the park while her dogs lounged around. After strafing the scene once and failing to get a good candid shot, I asked if I could get photos of her dogs. She agreed and got so excited, giving them directions and trying to get them to look at me. Of course, they refused to comply. Afterward, she showed me her library of doggie photos on her phone.

Smoke Break – Taipei, Taiwan

A moment I almost missed because I was feeling shy. Instead, I doubled back, paid him some compliments, looked up some extra Chinese vocabulary on Google, and took what I feel is my best street portrait so far.

First Mate – Kaohsiung, Taiwan

It’s hard to explain why I love this one so much. I love the split between boat and waterfront. I love how he’s seemingly unaware of me. And I love the colors and how well his skin tone works with them.

Moonshine Jar – Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I love this photo because of the story. In Mainland China, guys are always calling you over for a drink of unidentifiable alcoholic liquids. This was the first time that’s happened in Taiwan. Kaohsiung’s far more Taiwanese than Taipei, so not surprised it happened there. I just love how wide and close this image is; starting to miss the XF 16mm f/1.4 again.

The Selfie Shooter – Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing is an incredible place. Despite that, I struggled to get a good composition. Everything seemed…Average when shot normally. But when I got low and slowed my shutter speed, things got interesting!

Mooning – Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei Pride is always a big deal. While I shot in color and monochrome, this image just might be my favorite. And not just because he has a great ass.

Honorable Mentions:

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