I’m starting a new series of portraits of the food truck vendors I frequent here in DC, in or around their trucks. Here are the first two. It’s an important project because the food trucks themselves are endangered by some incredibly ill-considered proposed regulations that would basically make it impossible for them to do business. After looking at the pictures, please go to the Save DC Food Trucks website and sign the petition!
These were taken with my Rolleiflex. This time I’m using Kodak Tri-X, a film I had resisted for years as being too grainy. Well, as you can see in these photos, it’s not. In 35mm, it’s a different story, but then almost everything in 35mm is grainy short of say Ilford PanF or the former Kodak TechPan.
Here are a few portraits of a friend of mine in his natural element. Charles is extremely fond of gardens and gardening, and this is one of his favorite gardens that belongs to a friend of his. I hadn’t seen him in several years, and so the other weekend I drove up to Baltimore to visit, and brought along the Rollei to shoot his portrait. I’m so glad I used some of my last remaining rolls of Fuji Reala – they did him justice. It was the least I could do to honor him as he’s been such a good and devoted friend over the years.
Here are a couple from my ongoing Food Truck series – the cashier and the head chef of Pepe, the Jose Andrés-helmed gourmet food truck here in DC. I THINK the young man giving the interview in the second photo may be Jose Andrés’ son.
The following two are shots of a friend of mine who is thinking of getting into modeling, so we did a couple test portfolio pieces out at Glen Echo a month ago. I think he’s got the face for it, for certain. The trick will be to figure out if he can move and pose, and if he can get his body conformed to modeling industry standards.
And last but not least, here’s one from the vaults of another very dear friend from Singapore. We went to Fort Canning and went up on the roof of the remnants of the fortifications to shoot some photos of him and some of his friends, and I grabbed this one between poses. It captures his personality absolutely, although he foreswears this photo now because he has quit smoking. But it still reflects his inner sparkle and cheek.
I’m trying to get better at photographing strangers, and photographing unposed portraits. I find it incredibly easy to photograph people I know well because I can perceive little gestures and nuances that reflect their personality. The trick will be to get better at that kind of perception with total strangers, without imposing preconceived notions of what I THINK they are on them. Perhaps it’s an impossible chase, but it’s one I’m going to hazard.
Some images from the Penn Quarter farmers’ market (7th and D streets NW), and one of the organic food trucks – Cirque Cuisine.
There’s a growing organic and whole/natural food scene here in DC and they have a number of farmers’ markets in various neighborhoods throughout the city. The one at Penn Quarter is special because every vendor there actually grows or makes everything they sell, even the flower vendors and the soap sellers. The beef and bison is raised and butchered by the folks who sell it there, and the bread is sold by the baker. Many other farmers’ markets have vendors who buy their products wholesale and are not responsible for their production.
Although the Cirque Cuisine truck doesn’t work the farmers’ markets, (I usually find them at Franklin Square Park) they do use natural, organic ingredients in their food, and as such they’re part of the healthy organic food movement here. And they also have some really tasty sandwiches!
These shots were part of a test run from my newly renovated Rolleiflex. I’d say it is working great, wouldn’t you? I had a great chat with the bread man about the Rollei – it brought out a bout of nostalgia for him as he remembered people using them in his childhood. I caught him in a candid moment – he’s actually quite animated and friendly, and not depressed like he seems in this shot.
The Rollei is a great conversation-starter because it attracts a lot of attention and people respond positively to it. I don’t know why per se- maybe it is that nostalgia factor, or because it just has that classic look to it.
I’ve been having so much fun with my night photography. I’m really digging the results I get with my RB67 and Kodak Portra 160.
And last but not least, two of these things are not like the others. One is a daytime image I shot of one of the older, more original, and most brightly colored food trucks here in DC – Fojol Brothers. They have three different trucks each catering a different ethnic cuisine – Benethiopia (Ethiopian), Merlindia (Indian) and Volathai (Thai). The bright colors and shiny metal, plus the repetition of the circles and semi-circles just cried out for an abstract treatment, so here it is…
And last but not least, the happy accident: I was a dingbat and triple-exposed the same frame. But it turned out really neat in the end!
I know I’ve mentioned this once before, but I have to again sing the praises of the DC food truck scene. Today’s lunch was a Wonky Dog from the Eat Wonky truck – a gigantic hotdog topped with home-cut fries (skin on), squeaky cheese (yes, it really does kinda squeak when you chew on it), and gravy. It has been forever since I had gravy on fries, and I had forgotten how good that tastes! It’s amazing how a little lunch can bring back happy childhood memories. It’s comfort food of the best (and worst from a healthy-diet perspective) variety. Wonky also makes a kick-ass whoopie pie. I had one the other day with a nutella-hazelnut filling… heaven.
… other than that I like to take pictures of it with my iPhone.
There’s this awesome and growing DC food truck scene. I had seen and heard a little about it, then when my office location made it possible to find them, I decided I’d give it a try. One bite and I was hooked! I track most of them on Twitter to know when and where they’ll be on any given day. There’s everything from barbecue to savory pies, Latin American to Laotian, pizza to pastries (mostly cupcakes). This has been the first useful thing I’ve found to do with Twitter – now I can plan my lunch outings and find way better food than the skanky Chinese buffet and the food-by-the-pound place within walking distance of the office. I’ve got some definite favorites –
Sabor’a Street – Latin American arepas with a gourmet twist. My favorite so far, the shredded barbecue pork arepa on corn cakes.
La Gloria Mexicana – cheap, good Mexican food
PORC – Purveyors Of Rolling Cuisine – a barbecue sandwich place, with homemade chocolate truffles for dessert.
Eat Wonky – hotdogs, sandwiches and mind-blowing homemade whoopie pies.
CapMacDC – to die for gourmet macaroni and cheese. I had a goat cheese macaroni with broccoli pesto and breadcrumbs I would expect to pay $15 for in a sit-down restaurant. Theirs? $7.
SweetBites – a rolling dessert truck with cupcakes to rival those storefront cupcakes for 25% less.
Did I mention that one of the bennies of the food truck scene is the terrific prices? Most mains are $6-7, and it takes work to spend more than $9 for lunch. There’s some interesting things going on – a significant number of Mexican/Latin food trucks, some rather exotic trucks (the Lobster Truck – home of the $13 lobster sandwich and the 1 1/2 hour line), and some experiments in fusion cuisine that don’t always fire on all cylinders. No matter, it beats the stuffing out of McDonalds!