The street is veiled in Linda Hacker’s abstract candids
Please tell us a little about you and where you are from.
I grew up in upstate New York and Phoenix, Arizona and moved around a lot for school and work. I have lived in Brooklyn, NY for the last 20 years, though and love it here. I still work full-time, but spend a lot of my free time on photography. One of the great things about living in New York City is that there are often interesting things to see and photograph while doing errands, walking from the subway to work, etc. When I can, I try to get to things a little early so I have a little extra time to wander and look for photos.
How did you get involved with photography? When did street enter the mix?
I started taking photos as a child, starting with a Brownie and then a Polaroid camera given to me by my brother. I purchased my first SLR, a Minolta SRT 101 in high school, and loved exploring photography with my father. But like many, life got in the way and I let it drop. I picked it up again with the introduction of digital photography, and was re-inspired by the ability to play and to see instant results. A 365 project really awakened me visually, and that’s when photography became a passion.
My draw to street is probably at least partially a result of living in New York City. I love the city and love wandering around it, taking photos of what I see.
Where does the inspiration to approach the street abstractly come from?
I was lucky enough to take a workshop from Jay Maisel, and there saw some of his photographs shooting through something, often some type of fencing. I had never seen that before, and found it truly inspiring, and something I was very drawn to. From there, I just kept playing and exploring—finding different ways to abstract images. It wasn’t anything I consciously decided to do, but rather something I found myself naturally drawn to. I think it’s because it allows me to transform the world around me and show my personal vision of it.
What techniques do you use to create this “Street Impressionism?”
The primary tools I use are shooting through something and reflections. I look for opportunities to transform the scene into something new, but still have it recognizable. One particular favorite is UPS trucks (the three above photos with the dots/rivets.) I’m working on a series with these trucks, but it’s slow going. I have found that when the light is right, UPS trucks reflect pretty well, and they provide a great texture along with other bits of grunge, and I think this makes the photos very interesting—when they work. It’s rare to find the right combination of light and reflections. Weather also often provides great abstractions, either the falling snow or rain itself, or even the fog or droplets left on windows. I also love to use shadows and silhouettes and intentional camera movement. For me, photography is really visual play—playing with light, color, lines, shapes, and forms. I only use in-camera techniques, not post-processing, to achieve the abstractions since for me, the fun is finding them in the real world.