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faces of men project

Ask me anything   I’m a semi-pro (mostly amateur) digital photographer with no formal training and no pretentious philosophies. Just a passion for picking up the camera and roaming the landscape of urban spaces. These are the faces of intriguing men I've met along the way.

Brown - Chicago (August 2008)

copyright: Aaron Douglas

I didn’t get spend much time with Brown that day, maybe five or ten minutes at the most, but it was interesting what I learned about his life in that brief encounter. His story is typical, but nonetheless compelling. I happened upon him as I was walking by the United Center (home of the Chicago Bulls), he was talking to a couple of Japanese college students. They were visiting the U.S. on break and were looking to snap a shot of Michael Jordan’s jersey. Unfortunately, the display had been moved and was no longer visible from the street level.

Brown emitted such a friendly persona that I felt comfortable jumping in on the conversation. As it turns out, Brown, a war veteran (I’m guessing Vietnam), used to work at the United Center. He was one of the guys who layed out the basketball court on game days. He told me it was killer on the shoulder. And like so many war veteran’s he’s now unemployed and carries a bottle of Crown Royal in his back pocket. As I was about to ask my next question, a bus came along and Brown rode right out of my life.

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#portrait  #chicago  #street photography  #chicago bulls  #michael jordan 

Chicago, IL (August 2009)

copyright: Aaron Douglas

His was another wonderfully intense face I shot on that trip to Chicago in 2009. What I remember about him is that he was a French man traveling across the U.S. with his French rock band. They were so kind to stop and talk to me and my creative partner for the (now defunct) project. I simply stood in the background and snapped away as my creative partner engaged him and his band mates in conversation;hence the candid nature of these shots. He was totally aware that I was taking pictures but didn’t seem to mind. The shot where he’s taking a drag on the cigarette was nearly “James Dean” perfect had my partner not been in the way with his point and shoot.

— 2 years ago with 2 notes
#chicago 

Chicago, IL (August 2009)

copyright: Aaron Douglas

A few years ago I embarked upon a documentary project with a fellow creative that led us to Chicago. Although the project never got off the ground I did capture some great images from that trip. Today I went rummaging through my hard drive and came across these shots of this college student that we stopped on the street and interviewed for the project. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name despite the fact that I’ve been turning over every notebook in the house looking for my scribblings on this image set. What I do remember about him was that he was Filipino-American, in his early 20s, had just broke up with his girlfriend at the time, had great tattoos, and was studying philosophy at one of the local colleges. He had a great look and an incredibly magnetic personality. Would love to know where he is now, and perhaps have him in front of my camera again. So if he looks familiar to any of you in cyberspace drop me a line.

— 2 years ago
#chicago 

Denzel - Chicago, IL (July 2010)

copyright: Aaron Douglas

I spent the July 4th weekend in Chicago. And y’all know I wouldn’t leave Chicagoland without finding someone intriguing for my street portrait series. Yesterday I was in the Wicker Park neighborhood where I spotted 19-year old Denzel near the “L” station on Damon. He was panhandling and asked me for some spare change. At first I shrugged my shoulders and told him I had no change on me. Which was the truth as I did not have any coins to put in his cup. It was too bad because, upon first glance, I knew I’d like to photograph him. But, as you know, I have a policy about being able to offer compensation whenever I ask anyone for a street portrait. So I proceeded to walk about half a block when remembered that I did, indeed, have a five dollar bill in my pocket. I quickly returned to where he was sitting outside a deli and asked him for a few shots.

He told me he was originally from Chicago but was living as a squatter and jumping trains from city to city. He had just returned from San Diego and would be leaving in a few days to meet up with his girlfriend in New York. He said it was a lifestyle he enjoyed and I have to admit I was a little jealous. He made it sound as if it was the adventure of a lifetime. Knowing I only had a five to give him, I only took about four shots as not to take up too much of his time. I got his story, he signed a release, and I was on my way.

Again, I only got about a half block when I felt compelled to have just a little more time with him in front of my lens. So I stopped at the ATM and returned to ask him if he’d mind being my muse for a little while.  As you can see, we had quite a bit of fun shooting in an alley behind the “L” station.

— 2 years ago
#chicago