La Vie Telle Qu’elle Est (Brian Lorio, Picture Poet of the City)
What began as a simple New Years resolution has blossomed into a full-fledged hunger to capture life as it happens for New Jersey’s street photographer Brian Lorio, who spends a solid portion of his day armed with his pic-shooter poised and a keen eye anchored to his ideology for “capturing life…unscripted.”
“I try to learn something new every year, and photography was my chosen experience back in 2010.” As an attorney by occupation, Brian has always marveled at artists and their ability to depict the world in a one of a kind way while hoping that the viewers understand and take something valuable away from that experience. Coming from an artistic family also helped to stir his sensitivity for the plight of the artist. His sister Allison is certainly no novice when it comes to capturing jaw-dropping moments with a camera. Friends, too, have further fueled Brian’s artistic inclinations when someone very close to him started designing and making jewelry.
As a street photographer, Brian seeks out beauty in both people and objects in and around the inner cities of New Jersey. “Living on the East Coast for just about fifteen years, I am still fascinated by going downtown and getting lost amongst the people. Over time, I figured I could use my camera to relay what I saw to friends and family who were not with me.” To that effect, Brian devotes his time showing various parts of Paterson, Newark, Union City, and Jersey City, with the occasional side trip to Montclair and many other parts of the Garden State.
“One thing that I quickly learned is that I have to go beyond simply taking a picture and make sure it conveys something special to the viewer.” It’s clear that Brian understands the value of art in a world that moves at hyper speeds, but in the future, he aims to shoot with a more set purpose; there are times when he has a plan of action for what he wants to snap a photo of, while other times it’s very spur of the moment. But regardless of whether his inspiration is premeditated or impromptu, Brian always has a camera with him, whether it’s his trusty digital sidearm, a FujiFilm X100, or actual film cameras. He’s even whipped out his smart phone or iPad to hold a moment in time when a certain subject speaks to him.
In this manner, Brian prides himself on capturing and sharing a glimpse of the Garden State that many people choose to ignore or simply aren’t aware of. “There is a richness amongst people and their stories which needs to be told. This can be done through their faces or simply in photographing their surroundings.” Brian also admits that people who live in Manhattan often misshape people’s perception of New Jersey, and he’s happy to be in control of the aperture setting and shutter speed at which we view these particular locales to provide an alternative angle from someone who lives in and appreciates all it has to offer.
Like any street photographer, Brian has compiled his fair share of stories, from people hollering out their windows “You’re trying to gentrify Paterson?! You’re trying to buy up the neighborhood?! Make me an offer!” to folks “mugging” for the camera, but through it all, Brian stays true to what French filmmaker Louis Feuillade had termed la vie telle qu’elle est, or “life as it is,” back in the early days of the movies. And amid his journey, there are individuals who pop up frequently in Brian’s portfolio, including a trio of ladies he enjoys photographing most: Juliana, who has a warmth all her own that comes across in each photo, Bianka, who Brian describes as a modern-day Lucille Ball, and Terri-Ann, of whom there are more pictures packed away than have actually been published by Brian. With the sensibility of a true poet, Brian says of Terri-Ann that “the beauty of her is that there is a combination of vulnerability, self-assuredness, confidence, and reticence in each picture.”
In a day and age in which virtually anyone can pick up a digital camera and start shooting pictures of whatever they set their sights on, Brian truly brings out a story with every shot he takes, whether in digital form or traditional film. “With a digital camera, once I make the decision that I like it, I can simply begin shooting. With a film camera, I have to ask myself, ‘Is this worth saving as a memory?’ If it doesn’t resonate with me quickly, then I simply either reposition myself or walk away.”
And being a man who bridges the gap between the origins of photography as an art form and today’s street-wise thoughtfulness to capturing life as it happens, Brian makes sure to share his work all across the social media spectrum, making use of each site for particular kinds of photography: Instagram acts as Brian’s daily photo journal, while Tumblr serves as his bulletin board, although his only pet peeve are people who reblog his photographs without giving credit where credit is most certainly due.
So when you visit Brian’s Tumblr “Stillness in Time” or any of his other social networks after you read this final paragraph, show this New Jersey street photographer some hearts and reblogs, but append a little “street photography by Brian C. Lorio” to the end of it. This man’s earned it, because he’s not simply providing us with a momentary glimpse into the world as he sees it, he’s also projecting an idea of the world as it could be, too.