So, yesterday Rob and I started a new personal project. Neither of us know exactly what it will become, but so far, I think I could say we both enjoyed it.
Yesterday I photographed random fans for both teams of the Iron Bowl, this year down in Auburn. The Iron Bowl, for those of you who don't know, is a long-time football rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. It. Is. Intense.
More importantly to me it brings out weird parts of people you may not normally see. People use the team catch-phrases with strangers like greetings to long lost friends. A simple yelling of "war eagle" can be, at once, intimate and anonymous, individualizing and unifying.
Anyway, the above photo is rob helping me test the light. It is a polaroid-style shot (technically fuji 100C45, which, yes, is color. I converted it...) just trying to get a feel for how things would look. Note that Rob and I both wore clothes that let us appear totally neutral. (In reality, Rob likes Auburn, I think, and I don't care. I did route for Auburn this time because they were such a massive underdog.)
I'll note here two things:
1) Yes, I did my best to rip off Avedon. I proudly walk in his shadow and will unabashedly steal his idea. This stuff won't be anything nearly as moving as his American West series, but I enjoy shooting these people on white for the sake of stripping everything down to just THE PERSON...who they are with no context.
2) I also chose to shoot everything on black and white film to further strip away the rivalry and draw lines between their collective humanity. I KNOW that a lot of a team's identity lies with their choice of colors, and GOD there were some crazy looking people. But, I couldn't care much less about the teams. I care about the people. I want to see the side of them thats present in such a weird environment.
More to come, though part of me wants to keep it all a secret (for now). Tremendous success or tremendous failure; I can only hope for those two things. I have no interest in anything in between.