Page 658 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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638                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            cameras shoot at Folsom Fair, one must be, well, actually, truly relentless
            and fearless of rejection — just like “cruising for sex.” I try to reinvent the
            public image of gay men with each shoot. How can I best present what is
            best about what they have done to themselves? I have to think my way into
            camera moments that tourist photographers coast through on autopilot.
               The posed “snapshot” photo of three or four shirtless gay guys lined
            up, arms around shoulders, may be Whitmanesque, but it is an unfortu-
            nate tourist-camera “take” on street-fair and pride-parade photography
            precisely because it is posed. Maybe I’m too Weegee or too paparazzo, but
            a good photographer does not interrupt a man being natural and ask him
            to pose and grin for a picture.
               Not only must the sensitivity of the subjects about the camera be
            considered, but their sex-appeal for the viewers must be instantly judged:
            are they hot, and how can I suck that heat into the camera so it warms the
            viewer alone in an apartment on a winter night. All the while the “clock”
            is also ticking on the shoot. The Folsom Street Fair rises like Brigadoon
            for five hours one Sunday once a year. Actually, fewer than four men in
            all these years have said, “No. Stop!” when I was shooting.
               The ideal shot is to take candid footage of men simply “being.” The
            next most ideal is to shoot cooperative footage of performance art, such
            as men being walked on all fours as dogs, set-scenes of intricate Japa-
            nese bondage, whippings, wrestling, boot-polishing, and displays of huge
            silicone-enlarged penises. When appropriate, I communicate with the
            subject I’m shooting by smiling, or while I’m shooting, with hand gestures
            that indicate “A-OK” or “thumbs up” or a hand gesture that obviously
            means “keep giving me more of the same.” Also, I either say or mouth the
            words “Thank you.”
               The placement of the camera is as important on the street as it is in
            a studio video. Most videos are shot from a camera held on the cliche of
            a shoulder. I spend a lot of time at the Folsom Fair actually creating shots
            instantaneously so the angle will erotically interpret what I see to shoot,
            by both moving the camera itself intimately in on body parts, as well as
            falling to my knees, shooting up at the men who are enlarged and heroized
            and empowered by that angle. Guys “get” it that it’s empowering when I
            kneel before them in a position of seeming subservience, reverence, and
            worship, but . . . it’s not personal. After all, I’m winning. I’ve got the camera
            and the footage forever.
               My camera goes where the viewer would like to put his eyes and nose.
               I’m also kneeling for a diversity of home viewers cruising the Fol-
            som Fair from their lounging recliner chairs. In actuality, I am totally
            anonymous on the street, because I wear a hat as protection from the
            blazing sun, and the video camera covers two-thirds of my face, and I

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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