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In July, Fortune Magazine hired me to photograph a security checkpoint at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. This was to be published in their 9/11 issue last week but since the economy took a turn for the worse these pictures got bumped and sadly only one image ran on the Ipad app.

Photographing the TSA was an enlightening experience knowing the traveler’s side as well as I do.  With only a few exceptions, I have thought they are generally professional in light of the sheer number of people they have to deal with all day. But I am more in awe of the everyday folks that I see going through security. Business people, elderly, mothers or fathers traveling alone with their children as well as big families are more than accommodating, dutifully taking off their shoes, getting the pat down and/or being screened by a machine that is, let’s face it, pretty scary. Even with strobes set up all over the checkpoint and my trusty 8×10 camera, the line never slowed down, which was my worst fear. I had one assistant positioned on the pre-screened side asking, “Do you want to be photographed, yes or no?” and another on the other side obtaining release forms. Did many people say no? I would say about 80% said yes…  That’s fewer yeses than I normally get when I am just out shooting especially for a magazine, but not bad for people in a hurry.

Schnecksville, 2005.

An exhibition of my County Fair photographs opens Thursday in Barcelona at Galeria Tagomago owned and masterfully run by Vicenç Boned and his wife Valérie.  My wife, Tina, my daughter, Gioia (4 1/2) and I are all here for the opening.  What an unbelievable city!  More on this as the week progresses.

Galeria Tagomago, Barcelona. L to R: Gioia, Tina and Vicenç Boned.

Last week the same photographs were included in the GETXOPHOTO Photo Festival Sept 2-5, on the streets of Getxo, the beach town suburb of Bilbao in Basque Country.  This year the festival was curated by Frank Kalero under the theme, In Praise of Leisure. I shared the stage with a very impressive lineup of photographers: Martin Parr, James Mollison, Steve Schofield, Phil Toledano, Martin Schoeller, Naomi Harris, Robert Huber, Nadav Kander, Anoek Steketee, Txema Salvans, Martin Kollar, Andreas Meichsner,Eduardo Arrillaga, Peter Dench, and the Mentalgassi collective.

GETXOPHOTO Festival last week, Sept 2-4.

GETXOPHOTO Festival

GETXOPHOTO Festival

I am just finishing up a job in San Diego this week and was reminded of belief that tripods for large format cameras should be… well.. large too.  It makes perfect sense if you think about it.  It’s a big camera, wouldn’t you want something sturdy under it?  And I am reminded of so many visits to camera stores where the well meaning salesperson was trying to suggest a tripod two sizes bigger than I would need.  But why would you want to make a heavy camera heavier?  I feel like there would be more large format photographers if it wasn’t made out to be such a macho sport.  I talk a lot about the camera but making pictures has nothing to do with the camera…  it has to do with how you see.  If you see what you want, the camera, whatever it’s size, disappears.

All images and content unless otherwise noted © Greg Miller