Continuing with my series of articles about unknown or little-heard photographers and artists, I came across another guy who I’d never heard of.
Again, as I mentioned to my reader friend Robin, almost all my information comes from a wide range of very good friends, contacts and/or partners-in-crime, whom I tend generally to meet at my favourite coffee places in Vancouver downtown. Were it not for these people, it would indeed be a difficult, not to mention very sad and lonely life! And I’m quite sure the coffee shops we use would see a massive drop in their incomes if we stopped going there….heaven only knows how many cups of coffee we drink when we meet.
Of course, that’s not to mention the bars as well….we are quite well known there, too! And then there’s another favourite haunt…Pizza Hut. There we have built up a certain notoriety, due to our collective misbehaviour, in the sense that we only visit the place at buffet time….in other words, all-you can-eat specials!
We have all perfected eating there to a fine art now, having been at it for many months. The secret is not to eat anything for a few hours before going in there….grow an appetite. Then we walk in, grab plates, and make for the counter where the pizzas are placed ready for buffet customers.
When we finish one plate of pizza, we get up and fill our plates again…and again…and again….you get the idea. By that time, the cooks at the back are fed up with us eating all the pizza….I saw the Manager nudge the cook last week and say something soon as he saw us walk in! So much so, that nowadays, they’ve tried a new trick to get us to eat less….they send around a sexy waitress asking if we need anything (like hell we do…) like drinks etc. Of course, we sussed that out in an instant and politely declined drinks!
Anyway, I digress…but before we get back to the main topic, I would like to hereby declare to everyone reading this….that I have been voted (by my friends) the Pizza Champion of Vancouver BC…due to the fact that I can devour 10 pieces of pizza in one visit…sometimes a few more! There you go…you heard it first at filmcamera999! 🙂
Anyway, this guy I want to tell you about today. I really, really like his work. But you know, I’ve noticed something about most artists, musicians, in fact most everyone who produces creative work, that they all have some kind of negative habits, that many a time lead them to their downfall, or near enough. Take a well-known example who everybody has heard of…Jimi Hendrix. That guy was the undisputed king of his genre, but fate took him away at such a young age, due to his bad habit…drugs. And so the story goes on…
This guy was born perfectly normal, and led a life just like any other child, teenager etc. He went on to study Arts at a college in Canada. But a little later in his life, he was somehow diagnosed with a personality disorder…schizoid-paranoia they called it. Not only that, but the shrinks told him it was chronic, in other words, he was stuck with it for life.
But in another very fortuitous twist of fate, he somehow came out of it and now leads a normal life again. He recalls that going through that illness had a strong impact on how he would view life….he saw but still cannot understand or explain, like foreseeing things that would happen a few days later, or on the same day…or clearly knowing what the person in front of him was thinking, without even looking at the person….perhaps the mental institutions of the world house some very rare genius minds, minds that have somehow been derailed due to the acuity of thoughts going around in their highly strung genius minds.
So it was natural progression for him to portray people in similar circumstances through which he had been through, and he chose street walkers and street people, as we call them.
Not having much money, he bought a cheap film camera, and the shots we are about to see here are from that camera, which sadly got stolen sometime later.
One pundit commented on his work thus:
“I thought these pictures were phenominal…they were shot on film (rather than digitally) then scanned, are not photo-shopped, nor artificially lit or staged. I always found that photos shot on film by (an) analog camera have a wonderful graphic quality that I find myself missing nowadays. They also display a world which, apart from the new flashy technology we now have, has not changed much – alcoholism, despair, homelessness, poverty and abandonment are still very present today as they were when these pictures were taken in 1988 and 1989. These photos will probably be viewed by some as flawed, but to me they exude a rawness that I find missing in today’s ‘perfectly framed’ digital photography.”
Exactly what film users all over the world keep saying!
The guy’s name is Niko…yes, just Niko….
all photos courtesy flickr.com, unless otherwise stated