I began shooting black and white street photography over twenty years ago after seeing the book The Americans by Robert Frank. I was so taken by the mood and by the tone in his images that I began spending all my time either shooting or in the darkroom.
When I bought my first Leica M6 camera I wanted to photograph everything I saw, but was soon drawn to the quieter moments around me. To me they often tell a more interesting story. Are these people happy or sad..? Have they just been through something emotional..? Do they feel alone..? What are they thinking about..? I begin to see something almost poetic in the way they are framed by the cities and neighborhoods that surround them. Whether alone or with people, there's something compelling to me about these moments.
Not knowing who they are or anything about them is what makes the images interesting to me. Since nothing is ever set up, it also becomes a challenge to capture a moment before it's gone. Although we share just those few seconds in which our paths cross, the images always leave me wanting to know more.
Of all the people that I have photographed I've only met one, the author Kurt Andersen. I took a picture of him sitting in central park reading with his wife and two daughters. At the time I didn't know who he was, I just thought it was interesting to see an entire family reading together. After a friend recognized him in the image, I found his address and sent him a framed print. I eventually met him and he told me that the print hangs in his families living room.
I often feel like I owe some of the people that I photograph something. They give me such incredible moments and all I do is watch and then press the shutter. It's a balance however and we both play our part. Maybe my role is to quietly observe what others often miss seeing. I do hope that our paths cross again. I'd like to ask them what they were feeling that day or at that moment. Or if some of them ever noticed me. I'd also like to give them a print and just say thank you.
I believe in the fundamentals of traditional black and white street photography. That means never cropping or digitally manipulating my images beyond what can be done in an actual darkroom. I also believe in composing your image entirely in camera which is why I present my photos full frame, less the actual negative lines.
Damon Pablo Escudero
b. 1971 in Culver City, CA.
Currently living in New York City
c: 1 310 880 0840