This is the first of ten interviews that Laura has completed with photographers involved with the incredible 24HourProject, please see her introduction article here. We have put each interview into a separate article so that it’s easier for you to navigate, they can all be found under Laura’s Column StreetVIEW here.
This one is with Brad Puet…
Image – ©Brad Puet
What is your name, both real and Instagram ?
Brad Puet @bradpuet on Instagram and Twitter
Was this the first time you participated in this exciting 24 hour project, or have you taken part in previous years as well?
I started with the 24 Hour Project since the beginning. I believe that the first year was invite only and since opened up which I think was a great idea to do.
What city where you able to document?
What inspired you, or drove you to take part in this project, i mean walking around 24 hours is not for the faint hearted!
It’s a great opportunity to take part in a communal project. I loved the idea that there were other folks in their respective cities doing what I was doing. I also love street photography. The idea of doing it for 24 hours was crazy and daunting, but also seemed to be truly rewarding. Love the idea of pushing ones self to further creativity. The 24 Hour Project does that for sure. It’s also great to see how the body, the art all react to fatigue and 2nd winds and all that.
Did you plan where to go or did you have an idea what you wanted to document, or did you just let fate decide as you wandered through the streets?
The first year was totally on the whim. Walked wherever I needed to go and let my feet dictate where I was going to go.
The second year I didn’t participate fully. I only did 12 hours as I had familial obligations. So I stayed put within about a square mile of downtown Seattle.
The third year, this year, I planned everything. The funny thing is from all of the years, this year is where I got fewer photos. The first year I had almost 160 photos. This year I totaled 65 photos.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the 24 hours?
Trying to find a shot during the dead hours.
Image – ©Brad Puet
Do you feel like the time pressure was beneficial to your creativity, or did it just make you nervous and diminish the quality of your images slightly?
I think that it did both. The pressure I felt was the posting. Having to post hourly was difficult for me. I didn’t do that in the past. So for example if I had to post during the9am slot, if I didn’t have anything that I liked I had to rush to find a shot. I was with Karen Percelle for a little bit and we did talk about how that pressure compromised what I would normally post.
Did you develop a work flow for every hour in order to manage uploading your next image in time?
Again I think this was my biggest issue. I’m not one for structure =)
Be honest, did you by any chance cheat a little by processing a few pictures in advance in order to rest a bit?
Nah. I couldn’t do that. I committed to the 24 Hour crew and to all the photographers who participated.
Did you follow the IG feed of other excellent photographers taking part in the competition? You know, to check on your “competition”!
I tried to follow along but mostly those who I followed. There were a few times I tried to go on the hashtag. That was overwhelming so I quit doing that during most of the 24 hour. Towards the end I tried to catch up on the hashtag but by then it had reached over 3000 photos.
I never looked at any of the photographers participating as “competition” I really saw it as more of a solidarity project. 1 – its a 24 hour ordeal that hundreds of street photographers get to take a part in. 2 – we get to capture our cities and show the world (well those watching at least) 3 – I think street photography doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I think that this is a great way to give it some credit.
Lots of people want to try and do street photography but taking snaps of someone on the street doesn’t mean your doing street photography. This project helps the photographer understand that there is a story to an image which is much more important than taking a pic of someone walking down the street. Trying to communicate and engage through an image is real important in street.
Eh let me get off my soapbox =)
Image – ©Brad Puet
What was your secret to staying up so long? Energy drinks? Coffees? Pure determination? Fruit smoothies perhaps?
Just kept moving. Also thank goodness Sam and Dave kept me up through texts. We texted throughout our respective 24 hours. Again it felt good to be in solidarity with them.
Would you take part in this again next year?
Possibly. We shall see.
Was it a point when you considered giving up and going home? Did you walk the whole 24 hours?
Nah. I knew what I had committed to. Last year I knew I couldn’t commit to 24 so did 12. This year I wanted to do it. I had my car with me so racked up some good parking expenses. I had to have my car with me in case there was any emergencies with work or home. Luckily there weren’t anything I had to worry about.
If you had to choose, what would be your 3 favorite images from that long day?
a. My 8AM photo is a favorite. It was the one as I sat at Starbucks. This woman seemed to have been practicing for an audition or something. She sat with her mother and would practice facial emotions and quotes and different voice pitches. It was entertaining for me. So of the few snaps I took of her, the one I posted was of her doing a “romeo romeo, wherefore art thou” pose, when actually she was imitating a “valley girl from California”
b. My 2:33PM photo was another favorite. This is Jeb. He was a street evangelist and was carrying around a cross all around Seattle’s Westlake Park. The people he was with were the typical street evangelists who would yell and scream about Jesus to passersby. Jeb, he just walked around silently and smiling at people. Once engaged he would then talk to them and hand them a flier. It didn’t seem that anyone was in defense or annoyed by Jeb. He was a good seller of Jesus. =)
c. My last photo of the 24 Hour run was of this couple who was outside of this bar on Capitol Hill. After posting my 11pm photo, I received a few texts and emails congratulating me and talking about “only one more photo” I was appreciative for the support but what they didn’t know is that I had wanted a specific photo to end my 24 hour. Before I started I knew that I was going to get certain types of images. I wanted to end with a couple. I told Sam and others that this was a goal of mine. OF COURSE, it was the hardest one to find for me. Midnight, Seattle, on a Saturday night…everyone was already situated where they were going to be situated. Luckily I found this couple outside smoking. I approached them with my normal, “Hi I was wondering if I can take your portrait. I’m a street photographer and find you both very intriguing.” Their response was a yes of course, but it was quickly followed with “We’re just friends who just came out of a wedding. This isn’t our normal look.” I normally would engage more, but truth be told, it was almost midnight, I had taken my last photo. It was time to go home.
Next time I’ll ask them what does a normal look, look like. =)
What were some thoughts that ran through your mind when you were finally able to crash into bed?
I’d be lying if I said anything less than this…I felt some real gratification in knowing that I was a part of a project that 600 photographers around the world was a part of. I smiled, prayed my normal prayer, and closed my eyes.