All the Single Ladies (and one drummer) in the Night

So there I was, a satisfied photographer, happy just to snap away day in day out, then this picture happened. I was at an art party in an industrial section of Allston, she was one of the first people I saw and I tripped over myself on the short walk across the room to talk to her. People ask me what I’m looking for when I go out, pretty much any and everything but women like this just jump in the boat sometimes. Looking at the picture later I tried to figure out what made it so exciting. Obviously she is beautiful and she’s dressed to the nines, the painting looking down suspiciously at her drinking is great… how could I shoot more pictures like this one? When do women dress to impress and drink in mixed company?

I used to have a hard time photographing women my age… wait scratch that I used to be intimidated by women my age. I was recently going through old work with a gallery owner and he said “Where are all the ladies Ed… Hmm?” He basically questioned my manhood based on the ratio of hot chicks to bums in my college portfolio. Back then I could photograph homeless dudes and older women and policemen and dogs and such but something about admitting I wanted to photograph young women because they attracted me was too much. I used to blame the media (see hot chicks my second post ever) but I think I was just afraid of being rejected, if only for a picture. Now I’m a grown man and beautiful women in all there forms is all I want to expose on film it seems. Well you know where the beautiful women are? Out at night dressed their best looking to talk to somebody, anybody, even me Eddy Pula couldn’t be Coola photographer dude!

So if you read “a complimentary life” you know I got permission to shoot in a bar named Hugo’s. I shot there for about four Saturdays to great effect, fun times and good pictures. One Saturday night I was turned away and told to meet with the manager, Dave, the man who gave me permission in the first place.  The next Monday I showed up with all my prints and all sorts of ideas but it turned out the owner of the bar who I never met had had enough of me and my camera. The manager and I held a bit of an Irish wake for the time I photographed there. He seemed honestly bummed when he told me the news, I tried to put a good face on it while I sipped my whiskey at one in the afternoon and showed him my portfolio and cracked jokes, but there’s something heart breaking when the men with all the paper work, who have never met you or seen your pictures think that it’s all just more trouble than it’s worth. I understand where he was coming from, this mysterious ‘owner’ has a business to run and insurance and frivolous law suits and such, but it still hurts a bit. The biggest irony about all these “No photography, insurance blah blah blah…” arguments is that everyone is a photographer now. Every single person under the age of 30 is constantly documenting their drunken antics and instagramming them, my camera is just more obvious.

No worries though! You know what Martin Parr said about getting thrown out of businesses? “I just go to the one next door” So I turned around and shot a rave. Those ravers understand the web 2.0 photography branding machine like the back of their hands! The revelers themselves adorn themselves like primitives readying themselves for the spring renewal festival; they demand to be admired/photographed. The promoters want awesome pictures of beautiful people having a great time because that’s all anyone wants from a club promoter, and the owners of these establishments? I don’t think they care what happens in the barely renovated factory spaces in run down mill towns.

I was honestly a little scared to go. I usually am when I go to a different type of place, I know how to photograph people on the street stone drunk and half blind, a dark laser filled crowded rave is different than the street. However this rave was the easiest thing to photograph in the world. Everyone was mighty friendly and kind to this rave virgin, and I’m quick enough on the draw to focus by jiggling lasers and glowsticks. Ravers are also the best subjects, there is already a huge infrastructure in place to disseminate and tag thousands of club pictures, I made them wait longer than the digi kids do but they were so grateful for the pictures it made me want to quit my day job (unemployed artist) and run away to join the drum n’ bass circus, all they are missing is a day glow elephant and some tight rope walkers.

Of course raves aren’t the only place filled with people raring to have a good time, and have said good time plastered all over the internet. Snowzees is an honest to god juke joint in Sunderland Mass. I’ve only photographed there once but they have an amazing mix of people there. Old polack farmers, college kids, local barflies and now photographers! I walked in and the dj was spinning techno flavored top 40 while the old guy blues band was tuning up and jamming along with Katy Perry E.T. garbage. The owner/book-maker/janitor/lead-guitarist Mark Snowzees makes a point of dragging up all the regulars and shaming/honoring them between songs and getting people to move to country western, blues and the old Motown songs they crank out with surprising skill. I myself danced with a white haired lady to Do You Love Me (now that I can dance) and every roll of film came flying out of my bag and rolled under tables and chairs. After our dance I thanked her and was quickly approached by 4 different people holding my escaped film.

Finally a whole different kind of scene was brewing in Cambridge, a group of local musicians/boston-playboys set up a night of folk music at the (in)famous Out of the Blue Gallery. I don’t care what anybody says it’s an interesting space in a great part of town, and just as an aside, everything you’ve ever heard about that place is true. Me and Jeremiah Burbank (my best-friend/worst-enemy/documentary-maker-guy) went to make a music video. Soon it turned into a party/sing-a-long/drunken-good-time just for me to photograph. The pictures are good out there during the dark times after sunset. I just need 10 rolls of film and a large black coffee to get me through the night. Wake up; spend 12 hours in a dark room, then out again to talk pretty girl into photographs. What a tough life a live as a semi itineret street snapper.  I want to tell all the single ladies, put your hands up, up in the club, (good now wait for my flash to recycle and please go about your business) cause I like it and I want to make a picture of it. Yeah I like it and I want to make a picture of it.  Don’t be mad cause I want to document it.  Cause I like you and I want to make a picture of it.

Check out the music video, chock full of my pictures! Credits: Band- Bastard Sons, Videography: Jeremiah Burbank, Photgraphy: Eddy Pula, Shot on location at Out of the Blue Gallery in front of a live studio audience!!!


11 thoughts on “All the Single Ladies (and one drummer) in the Night

  1. It kind of reminds me of Bill Cunningham and one of his introductory lines, “Oh! You are so beautiful! I HAVE to take a picture of you!” And it works.

    Awesome run of work here, Eddy. You’re on fire, man.

  2. So have to admit that your late night shenanigans inspired me to carry my film camera and flash out last weekend. Unfortunately, it didn’t get as crazy as I was hoping, but there’s always next time. My favorites were the umass kids waiting in the rain and the closeup of the girl with the tattoo on her chest and the necklace.

    PS bummer you got booted, his loss tho!

    • Old men just don’t understand sometimes! All he could think about was lawsuits, all I wanted to give him was a kickass yelp review. Que Sera Sera, also sometimes nights be slow, no worries, on one slow night at the bar I ditched and crashed a highschool party, those kids LOOOOVE being photo’d. Also don’t be afraid to make your own scene, the umass kids were waiting in the rain for a bus and I pulled up blasting music (this song in particular and took all their pictures!

      • totally a great idea, I understand completely why they were so eager to get their pic taken, what a classic!

        you have to post about the high school party, if you haven’t already, sounds like a great story.

    • I say go for it, its easier than asking them out for a date and cheaper. Just smile and compliment them, like, I love your hat, just make sure they are wearing a hat, otherwise you’ll sound like a weirdo

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