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THE STREETS


“The assignments were not as significant as the pictures I took for my own pleasure.”

– Elliott Erwitt, photographer www.lens.blogs.nytimes.com

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Photograph by Meredith M Howard

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Who is in THE STREETS

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EDITOR’S LETTER

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PERSPECTIVES 12 Yan Zheng 22 Eduardo Asenjo Matus 30 Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez 40 Umcolisi Terrell

INTERSECTIONS 54 Chris Veal 72 India Revisited

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Who is in THE STREETS

“It’s more important than ever for street photographers to be doing their part to document the change happening in our society.” – Umcolisi Terrell

“With something bright and bold you can grab people’s eye really quickly, and then you can deliver a message.” – Chris Veal “Photography has the power to immortalize stories.” – Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

“Paris is a huge museum.” – Yan Zheng

“I was looking in the opposite direction of perfection.” – Eduardo Asenjo Matus "I want to tell your stories in your words." – Mark Miller

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Editor and Creative Director Creative and Digital Assistant Editorial Assistant Translator

Meredith M Howard Eva Howard James Meadows Kimberly Perez

Front cover photo Ricardo Delgado LopĂŠz Back cover photo Eduardo Asenjo Matus Contributors and collaborators Yan Zheng Eduardo Asenjo Matus Ricardo Delgado LĐž`pez Umcolisi Terrell Chris Veal Mark Miller James Meadows

Website www.thestreetsmag.com Email info@thestreetsmag.com Instagram @thestreetsmagazine Publisher Meredith M Howard LLC ISSN 2476-0927

All work is copyrighted to the photographer, artist, or author. No part of this magazine may be used without permission of THE STREETS.

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E D I T O R ’ S

L E T T E R

"You can find pictures anywhere. It's simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what's around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy." – Elliott Erwitt, photographer www.magnumphotos.com What do you notice as you go through your day? Children notice everything, but as we get older, we get used to the world and stop noticing. The other day I was reminded by some other photographers on Instagram to look in the puddles. It took me about ten minutes of wandering around in the parking lot and playing with different angles to capture this one with my phone. The other members of my gym probably thought I was a little strange, but I love how looking at someone else's perspective can help you see something new.

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Editor’s Letter

In Issue Nine, we once again have a wide variety of artists who notice different things. Eduardo Asenjo Matus (page 22) translates his hearing problems into dreamlike photographs with one point of clarity in the sea of blurred "noise." Chris Veal (page 54) notices what is going on in local or national culture and comments on it with his art. Mark Miller (page 72) notices the value in people and spends time with them to tell their stories. We hope that these artists will help you notice more around you. And we hope that the new things you notice will enrich your day. – Meredith

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Photograph by Meredith M Howard


Perspectives Perspectives Perspectives Perspectives Perspectives Perspectives THE STREETS

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zheng YAN

Yan Zheng Photographer and Illustrator

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zheng YAN

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Can you tell us a little about yourself? I was born in China. Now I am working in Paris as a photographer and an illustrator. What are three words to describe the city where you live? I have been living in Paris for seven years. For me, Paris is both familiar and unfamiliar. It’s also a city of fashion and vintage, tension and comfort. How is Paris comfortable and uncomfortable, and how is it similar and different from China? I understand the place, the food, the museums, but the people, the culture . . . As I am a stranger who comes from a completely different culture, it is not easy to enter French social circles. It is similar to China in that the people like to stay in familiar social circles. It is different in that France is very very open to its young creators. 14

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Yan Zheng The French talk a lot. That’s very good. And Paris is a huge museum – not just the museum of art but also the mix of people who come from different countries.

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Yan Zheng

How did you get into photography and illustration? The reason why I got into photography and illustration is that firstly I’ve graduated from L’école Penninghen in Art Direction. Secondly, I like to observe different people on the street. This is a space of photography and illustration where I enjoy myself. I take pictures of the chicers on the street every weekend, and I also draw illustrations in my spare time. 16

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Yan Zheng

Which activity is easier for you – photography or illustration? At the moment, illustration is easier because I have been drawing for five years. I do not have a lot of experience with photography.

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Yan Zheng What is your favorite street? Allee des Cygnes, in the 15th district. It is just near the Eiffel Tower. I enjoy taking a walk on that street when the leaves are falling on autumn days.

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Yan Zheng Who or what inspires you? As Paris is the capital of fashion, the Parisians are always very chic. I sometimes draw sketches of passerbys when I wait for the subway.

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Yan Zheng

What are your hopes for the future? I hope I can carry on taking pictures and drawing images to post on Instagram. This is my little secret garden showroom. 20

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Yan Zheng

Follow Yan on Instagram @streetchicer

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Eduardo Asenjo Matus

Photographer

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Eduardo Asenjo Matus Where do you live and what are three words to describe your city? I live in Valdivia, Chile – one of the rainiest cities in my country. Three words to describe it are cold, gray and wet.

“I am inspired by the music and grayness of my city.”

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Eduardo Asenjo Matus

How did you get into photography? It all started with a small Fujifilm x10 – a premium compact camera with a retro style. Then I discovered the world of mirrorless cameras, very similar to my Fujifilm but with better image quality and the option of changing lenses. I currently use an X-E2S with a 35mm f/2 and a fisheye 8mm. It’s a reflex in a compact body ideal for street photography.

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Eduardo Asenjo Matus Tell us about your love for the imperfection of the image. When I started photography I always liked the noise and the movement – something similar to a dream. I have hearing problems, and I wanted to reflect this in my photographs. The speed was perfect to demonstrate the noise in a conversation. It is difficult to try to listen to a person in the city. I represent the noise with the blur in the image and what I can hear with the focus. One of the songs that inspired me for all of this was “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed.

“I was looking in the opposite direction of perfection.” I realized that this type of photo does not attract much attention in my country since they only look for perfection in the image. My photographer friends made fun of me because I was only taking blurred pictures. They thought they were “bad” photos. But I was looking in the opposite direction of perfection. I fell in love with the imperfection of the image sometimes using broken or dirty filters.

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Eduardo Asenjo How do you achieve the motion blur and isolation of one subject in your beautiful photographs? To create the image I use a very low shutter speed. First, I look for a place that I like and sit down to wait for the moment. I usually photograph the person who calls my attention to the group or people who walk at a different pace – slower or faster than the others. They stand out because of their speed. I use a neutral density filter to compensate for the light and long exposure. I use the intentional movement of the camera to create the blur and movement. It’s something similar to panning.

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Who or what inspires you?

What do you enjoy doing besides photography? I am the happiest person in the world riding my bicycle and spending time with my girlfriend.

I’m very inspired by the music and grayness of my city. I like to meet people from other countries with the same interest and who understand the style of my photography.


Eduardo Asenjo Matus

What are your hopes for the future? I would like to be invited to and travel to different countries to exhibit my work. I would like to have a photobook and to work for an important magazine.

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Eduardo Asenjo Matus

Follow Eduardo on Instagram @eduardo.asenjo.matus

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

Ricardo Delgado López Photographer

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Ricardo Delgado LĐž`pez

Where do you live and what are three words to describe your city? I live in Cali, Colombia. There are a lot of words I could use to describe my city , but because of its sunsets, music, and people I’ll say Cali is warm, cheerful, and diverse.

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Ricardo Delgado LĐž`pez What are your favorite activities? I ride my bicycle daily around the city and look for stories to tell. I design and make backpacks. I listen to music and write poetry.

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez When and why did you start taking photographs? I started to take photographs in 2011 when I visited Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city. I walked daily through the center of the city with a borrowed camera, and that is when I began to understand that photography has the power to immortalize stories.

“That is when I began to understand that photography has the power to immortalize stories.” Why is your series titled “Raíz de Árbol”? “Raíz de Árbol” (Tree Root) was born on a trip to Nariño-Colombia where I sought my identity as a photographer – to understand and recognize where I come from and what I want to preserve. I come from a farming family in Nariño and have another project looking to preserve recipes and family memories. Tree root is a metaphor for my photographs. I feel that I am a root, hidden and perceiving, and my feelings are the sprouting branches and leaves. Those are my photographs.

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

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Ricardo Delgado LĐž`pez

Who or what inspires your style of photography? Once I discovered Vivian Maier’s work, she was a great inspiration. Her practical choice to work as a nanny as well as her city scenes and portraits constantly inspire me as I photograph the city streets in Colombia. The main difference is that I choose to share my work.

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez Which is your favorite street and can you describe it for us? I often visit a block in downtown Cali called “Carrera 10” where there is some destruction and a visible lack of equality, yet it is filled with simply beautiful scenes. I visit this street every week to buy materials for the backpacks, and it is full of humble people and contrasts.

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

What are your hopes for the future? My hope is to complement my European studies and expand my “Raíz de Árbol” project by exploring different countries via bicycle. I want to tell stories about the cities and rural places I visit. I hope to exhibit a project about my family memories. I also hope to be a part of directing photography for cinema.

Follow Ricardo on Instagram @raizdearbol

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Ricardo Delgado Lо`pez

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Umcolisi Terrell

Umcolisi Terrell Photographer

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Umcolisi Terrell Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’m a musician who plays saxophone and has a love for street photography, travel, the outdoors, and animals. The horn section I play in, Terminus Horns, has been traveling a bit lately so the fun thing about doing music and photography is wherever music takes me I can always bring my camera. Finishing a gig in an interesting town or city doesn’t mean it’s the end of the night. Where do you live and what are three words that describe your city? I live in Castleberry Hill. I would describe Atlanta and my neighborhood within the city specifically as historic, artistic and evolving.

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Umcolisi Terrell How did you get into photography? Growing up, my Dad had a lot of hobbies and photography was among them. I admired the photos he took from his world travels, and the documentation of our family which was seen in photo albums around the house. I would always play with the polaroid camera any chance I got. Then when I was 5, he bought me a Ninja Turtle point and shoot which used 110 film cartridges. Once I got a little older he bought me my first SLR—Pentax if I remember. I was addicted to the sound of the shutter, and the camera was well loved for a couple of years. They say all good things must come to an end, and that’s when I broke my camera. That was that. I was introduced to music, and photography took a backseat to my saxophone. Studying music brought me to Atlanta, and now that’s what I do. Roughly five years ago, my passion for photography reignited. I found myself hiking trails and exploring downtown Atlanta with an old digital camera. As my love and knowledge grew, so did my equipment, and I eventually bought into the new mirrorless systems. I have never looked back.

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Umcolisi Terrell

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Umcolisi Terrell

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Umcolisi Terrell

You have a photo that looks like you must have been on the ground in between two cars during rush hour traffic. (See previous page) That looks a little dangerous. Can you tell us about that photo? That photo was taken on Peachtree Center Avenue looking toward John Portman Boulevard. Precautions were definitely taken to get the shot as traffic was moving very slowly, if not at all. I chose to use the red light as a security blanket. I crouched down so the viewer would feel immersed in the shot. It’s not a common perspective in street because it’s dangerous, I guess. I wanted a tunnel vision shot with someone in the crosswalk. There was a convention or two in town at the time so the odds of my shot coming to life were good.

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Umcolisi Terrell

What is your favorite street? I recently visited Spain and took a side trip to Lisbon, Portugal. While wandering the streets of Lisbon on a rainy day, I stumbled onto a view and immediately fell in love with it. The steep hill with the city’s historic tram line and 18th century architecture make you feel like you’re living in another era. So at the moment, Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo is my favorite street. That being said, there is so much more to see and I’m sure I’ll be captivated by another soon.

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Umcolisi Terrell

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Umcolisi Terrell

Who or what inspires you? I find it to be inspiring when I walk into a scene and realize each and every second ticking by is part of a story being told. The moments come to you, and it is a photographer’s job to find it and snap it. No matter what you capture whether it’s street, nature or portraiture, that organic moment in time will be recorded and never happen again. When I look at work from my favorite photographers past and present, I think about that. I think about how they kept their poise and controlled the scene to make magic happen behind the shutter. It feeds the fire for me to strive to be like them.

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Umcolisi Terrell

“I find it to be inspiring when I walk into a scene and realize each and every second ticking by is part of a story being told.� THE STREETS

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Umcolisi Terrell

What are your hopes for the future? I am just hoping to continue to grow as a photographer and a person. I strive to create that magic and express more through what I capture. I also want to be more involved with documentary style photography. I feel like with what’s going on these days it’s more important than ever for street photographers to be doing their part to document the change happening in our society. In my mind, it’s another example of strength in numbers.

“It’s more important than ever for street photographers to be doing their part to document the change happening in our society.”

Follow Umcolisi on Instagram @_mxolisi_

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Umcolisi Terrell

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Chris Veal

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Chris Veal A rt i s t

Chris Veal’s colorfully graphic murals, complete with their witty social commentary, are continually popping up all over Atlanta (and other cities). I recently caught up with Chris to ask him some questions about his life and work while he painted a mural on Edgewood Avenue.

Interview and photographs by Meredith M Howard (except where noted)

Meredith: How did you start painting and, then specifically, painting this pop art style? Chris: Originally, I started painting graffiti. Then in 2014, there was a debate about a private event in the Krog Street tunnel. There was a local lady who was promoting the festival, and she got in my inbox bragging about how many followers she had. I wanted to do something making fun of her. I’m terrible at painting females realistically, so I painted a cartoon version of her and put – “I have 10,000 followers.” I painted it at Krog after a group of us whitewashed the tunnel in protest. People loved it. I didn’t do another one for a while, and then I did the “I Miss Buckhead” piece. After I saw the reception of that I thought, “Ok, I’m going to stick with this for a little bit.” So, I just started doing more of these. THE STREETS

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Chris Veal Meredith: It seems like a lot of your art contains either social or political commentary. Is that because of the first one or were you like that before? Chris: It was all because of the first one.

Photo by Chris Veal

Meredith: For the pieces after that, do you sit around and try to think about it or does it just come to you? Chris: A little of both. Sometimes I’ll sit around and say, “What do I think is ridiculous?” People freaking out when their iPhone dies. They act like it’s the end of the world. So, that’s why I did the lady crying and saying, “My iPhone’s Dead!” I recently did the Casey Cagle piece because when I saw that I thought, “That’s ridiculous.” Generally, when I think something is stupid or ridiculous I think, “Is that good enough to paint a wall? Will people get a kick out of it?”

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Chris Veal Meredith: I thought the Casey Cagle piece was interesting because I had not heard the actual news story. But then I saw your picture and wanted to know what it meant, so I looked it up.* In a way, I got my news from your art.

Photo by Chris Veal

* Tweet by Casey Cagle, Lt. Governor of Georgia, on February 26, 2018 – "I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA."

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Chris Veal Meredith: Which one is your favorite? Chris: Whichever one I’m working on is my favorite, so this one is my favorite right now. Meredith: Is this one going to have words? Chris: Yeah, it’s going to say, “I’m not the kind of girl that gives up just like that.” I had a couple of people message me and ask - “Why are all the girls crying?” “Why is everything so negative?” So, I thought I’d do a positive piece, and Matt had been asking me to paint this wall for a long time. I was sitting around thinking about what to do, and I’ve been listening to Blondie a lot lately. Meredith: How do you feel about staying in the same style versus evolving to a different style? Chris: I hate it. I’ll do a couple of these because I know people love them, but then I’ll go do something else. I’ll paint letters or do more realistic looking stuff. Just practice different things. I hate doing the same thing over and over. 58

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Chris Veal Meredith: I always wonder about that because it seems to make artists more successful if they do the same thing over and over, but it has to be boring for them.

Mural in the courtyard at Noni's Deli

Chris: It’s so boring. I like doing this style, but I’ll get tired of it. So, I do different things to keep it fresh and learn new things. I have friends who paint literally the same thing – the same picture. They make a good living, but they absolutely hate it. And they won’t tell you that until you’re one-on-one with them and they’ll say, “I’m so sick of painting this.” Meredith: Do you think you’ll finish this one today? Chris: Yeah. The dots are what’s time consuming. I probably spent half the time doing the dots. Meredith: Do you have a picture of Blondie you’re working from? Chris: Yeah, I can show you. I draw everything small first on my iPad.

Options for the mural that Chris sent to the owner of Noni's Deli.

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Photo by Chris Veal

Meredith: Do you sell versions of your walls in smaller versions? Chris: Sometimes. The “I Miss Buckhead” one, I did, because so many people were asking me for it. So, I made a print version. But a lot of times I don’t. I don’t like doing canvases lately. I just like doing big walls. I will do them if someone commissions me. I don’t like repeating the same stuff. The one “Stop Shooting People” – a bunch of people messaged me wanting that one – so I took a picture of it and had digital prints made. Walls keep me so busy, it’s hard to do it all.

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Photo by Chris Veal


Chris Veal Meredith: Since I’ve seen your work in Atlanta, I’ve seen other artist elsewhere doing similar pop art. It seems to be in style right now. Chris: There’s a lot of people who do the pop art style. DFace – he’s really big. There’s another that lives here that does it named Art Revolts. There’s a guy in New York named Sean. I guess you could say it’s in style. But most people are twisting it and doing it different ways. My piece looks nothing like Revolt’s. And DFace does all of the skeleton faces. Everybody does it a little bit different – their own interpretation. I like doing the commentary. With something bright and bold you can grab people’s eye really quickly, and then you can deliver a message. Meredith: Your larger murals tend to have a lot of geometric shapes. Chris: Yeah, I try to blend my love for the 80s design style with the 50s pop art. I try to mix two different things to see what happens. The original design for this one had a lot of 80s influences.

"Everybody does it a little bit different – their own interpretation."

Mural on the Beltline near Ponce City Market

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Chris Veal

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Chris Veal Meredith: Did you grow up here in Atlanta? Chris: Milledgeville, Georgia. Meredith: When did you move here? Chris: ’99. Meredith: Did you move for any particular reason or just to get out of Milledgeville? Chris: Yeah, pretty much to get out of Milledgeville. It was kind of an easy move. A bunch of my friends lived in the same complex, and I met a girl that lived there. I was 17, and she was 33. I moved in with her. I didn’t know her. I had $200 and just moved in with this girl. Meredith: Where did you meet her? Chris: I was sitting outside on the balcony, and she was the neighbor of my friend. She was talking about how she and her boyfriend just broke up and she said, “I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent.” So, I said, “I’ll move in.” And she was like, “Alright. Cool.” I told her, “I’ve got $200 and I’ll get a job the first week I move up here.” I had never even had a job before. I moved in and got a job at Sports Authority.

ISSUE NINE 64 Mural on Boulevard


Chris Veal

Photographs on this page and previous page of graffiti by Chris Veal in 2005

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Chris Veal Chris (continued): Some of my other neighbors were moving downtown, and they were telling me about this awesome building that had graffiti all over it. So, I moved down and slept on my friend’s balcony – exposed to the elements. I stayed out there through the winter. I gave him $100 a month to sleep on the balcony. The people that lived below us was a graffiti crew – most of them from Portland. I would see all the stuff they were doing, and that was my first taste of graffiti. I would go to the Civic Yard on Peachtree and watch people paint. They would ask me, “Why don’t you paint?” And I was like, “I don’t want to.” I would draw, but I had never painted before. My best friend got into, so I finally said, “Alright, I’ll try it.” He got married and moved, and I just kept painting.

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Chris Veal Meredith: What does your friend say now about your painting, since you were like – “No, I don’t want to do that.” Chris: He loves it. He’s really supportive. He doesn’t paint anymore. He got a good job and does the family thing. Yeah, he gets a kick out of it.

"With something bright and bold you can grab people’s eye really quickly, and then you can deliver a message." THE STREETS

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Chris Veal Meredith: Have you ever gotten stopped by the police? Chris: Oh, yeah. Multiple times. I’ve run from the police multiple times. I’ve had a couple times where I’ve had to run and couple of times there was no way I was going to be able to run. So, I had to talk my way out of it. “Oh, I thought it was fine to paint here. I’m sorry. Some people told me it was OK.” They let me go. My best friend did get arrested over by Georgia State painting. That kind of put an end to his painting career. His girlfriend and parents were like – “You can’t be doing this.” I’ve done walls like this and had cops roll up on me and think it’s illegal. And I’ll have to call the owner. That was before murals really blew up in Atlanta. Now they know what’s up. Photograph by Chris Veal

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Chris Veal Meredith: On Instagram, I saw a video of you doing tricks on a bike, and you also mentioned sky diving. Why do you think you are drawn to risky activities? Chris: I don’t really think of them as risky. I just like to have fun and to try new things. BMX is a huge part of who I am just like painting. As for graffiti, it was never super risky for me as I liked low key spots where I could take my time – mostly under bridges and in abandoned buildings. Meredith: How do you feel when a piece is painted over? Chris: It doesn’t really bother me anymore. If it’s tagged on, I’ll just fix it. I generally enjoy painting, so it’s not that big of a deal. As long as I get my picture, it’s all good.

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Chris Veal

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Follow Chris Veal on Instagram @caveal

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India Revisited

Photograph by James Meadows

India Revisited In Issue Eight, we interviewed two photographers about India. This country of 1.3 billion people has so many layers of complexity that we decided to dive in a little further. For this Issue, we interviewed Mark Miller, an American media producer who moved his family to India 13 years ago. Interview by Meredith M Howard

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Photographs by Mark or Heather Miller, except where noted


India Revisited Do you remember what it was like when you first moved from the United States to India? Can you tell us about that transition? My wife and I had the privilege of spending three months in India as part of a research team five years before we moved. As a team, we had spent nearly two years’ worth of man hours conducting ethnographic interviews of an ethnic group in Rajasthan. So, when we moved to India, we came with a wealth of cultural knowledge and experience. Despite that, as the plane landed on that November night in 2004, we held each other’s hand and cried. We didn’t have a return ticket! And we had two small children with us. This felt very different than a short adventure. This was a life change.

“Someone once told us that the best remedy for culture shock is more of the culture.”

Photograph by James Meadows

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India Revisited In our first nine months, we rode the roller coaster of culture shock— from the highs of learning a new language, meeting new people, exploring new foods and new ways of doing things to the lows of only being able to speak like a child in this new language, the tiresome labor of always meeting new people, getting bored with the food and wishing we could do things the way we used too! Someone once told us that the best remedy for culture shock is more of the culture. At our lowest point of culture adjustment, we took a family “research trip” as part of a documentary project I was working on. We spent two weeks staying in villages and people’s homes. One of these was a huge family that lived in a medieval palace. They made us feel like a part of the family and invited us in to their most intimate family moments. Suddenly, our experience had a new filter. That was the medicine we needed to keep going. We are still surprised that India became home and normal. We lived there for almost 13 years.

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India Revisited

Mark and his family pictured with their “new family.”

“They made us feel like a part of the family.”

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India Revisited What do you like about India and what do you miss about the United States? And how did your children feel about living in India? We learned a lot about hospitality from our Indian friends. It was amazing how quickly we could get invited for a cup of tea in someone’s home, but even more amazing how eagerly we were invited into their lives as well. Families welcomed us into their rites and rituals. We celebrated marriages with them, welcomed newborn babies, and mourned with them when members died. I really appreciate that openness. It is a rare quality in the Western culture that I am familiar with.

Photograph by Mark Miller picturing his wife Heather in the center of the photo.

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India Revisited I remember asking one of my kids once what he thought of living in India and he said, “What do you mean? It’s where I live!” I was experiencing India as a second culture, but their experience in India is the only childhood and life that they know. Going to America to visit grandparents was just a vacation. It is still hard for me to fully comprehend that.

Photograph of Mark's children at an Indian wedding celebration in 2007.

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India Revisited Can you tell us a little about your business – how you originally got into videography and also about your purpose and vision for your media creation business? I grew up as a PBS junky. Documentary film has fascinated me since childhood. I was inspired by Hugo van Lawick’s career because he lived among his subjects for decades and could tell stories in a different way than if you just showed up for a week. He knew the seasons and cycles of life among the African wild. The cinéma vérité work of the Maysles brothers and D.A. Pennebaker captured my attention when I saw Primary, one of the first sync sound docus. I wanted to make films like that! Around the same time, I was learning about cultures of the world. I grew up in suburban Atlanta and didn’t think much about the fact that other peoples might see the world different from me. The idea of a Muslim or a Hindu was really lost to me. One summer during college I did a video project for the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Papua New Guinea. It totally blew the lid off my provincial understanding of the world.

“I want to tell your stories in your words. And I want to live here so that I can really understand your life, not just pop in and out.” 78

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India Revisited From that time on, I felt like God wanted me to be a part of telling the stories of the nations. When we landed in India, that’s what I told people: I want to tell your stories in your words. And I want to live here so that I can really understand your life, not just pop in and out. The fun part about telling stories is there is an exchange that usually happens. If I take the time to honor them and their story, I then get to share my story with them. In 2011, we started a small production company (I55 Media) to serve small and medium sized companies in India that needed local knowledge and an international aesthetic for their corporate communications. I was uniquely suited for that having a foot in the East and West. We are not making a lot of money, but we’ve shared a lot of stories and I hope we can continue to do so for a long time and in even better ways. Watch the video series here

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India Revisited In Issue Eight, we talked to two photographers about India and both of them spoke of religious tolerance in India. Since publishing that Issue, several people have directed me toward information which says the opposite. I have read articles that say the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisions India as a Hindu nation and overlooks (and maybe in some ways encourages) violence against Muslims and Christians.* What is your perspective on this? I think it is helpful to think of India as several different “Indias.” With so many languages, cultures, religions, and geographies, it is astounding that it is able to be one political nation. I think that one of the ways that the dense population has been able to cope with such diversity is to adopt a sense of “tolerance” that says, “You be you and I will be me, and as long as we stay out of each other’s business, we can get exist together.” So, there is a very fragile veil of peaceful coexistence. But when anyone’s cultural identity is threatened (whether that be about beef or a temple or a government quota), things can explode in a hurry. Polarization is a global trend these days, it seems. The quarrels and fighting, which sometimes leads to violence, are a symptom of an ancient battle in the hearts of men. It’s really nothing new. We humans love to tear each other apart. It is the result of not getting what we want, even when we get it!

*See www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/06/world/asia/modi-gujarat-riots-timeline.html www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/06/28/as-indias-muslims-are-killed-modi-keeps-silent/ www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/01/pastors-grisly-death-spotlights-persecution-christians-in-india

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India Revisited

Photograph by James Meadows

I read that Prime Minister Modi banned the 500 and 1,000 rupee bills (86% of the cash in circulation) in January 2017*. How did that affect daily life? Those were some crazy months! For the most part, India’s consumer economy runs on cash. This drastic measure to root out black money caught everyone by surprise. There were long lines at ATMs, banks had no cash, and there were all kinds of schemes going on for people to launder their unreported cash stuffed under mattresses. Most people were not used to using credit cards or debit cards, so it was chaos for a while. But, as we’ve seen in many different circumstances, the people are resilient and find ways to work around the system. Life goes on. It was another great example of how you never really know what is going to happen in India! *See www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/world/asia/modi-cash-ban-india

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India Revisited India is registering all of its citizens in a biometric database* (including fingerprints and iris scans) which is being linked to all areas of life (financial services, welfare, drivers licenses, voter registration). The government claims that it is a way to help people obtain services but some fear that it is simply a surveillance system that is not well verified or protected. What do you think about this? This is a development that I have followed for some time. I was an early entry into that system, because it offered me a government issued ID with my address on it. As a foreigner running a business in the country, it allowed me to do a lot of official things much faster. But after Photograph by James Meadows reading Nandan Nilekani’s manifesto of the program (Rebooting India) and following the almost manic adoption of Aadhaar across all government sectors, I have become quite wary of it and wishing I could get out. It was initially set up to prevent fraudulent access to government welfare schemes but has quickly become the silver bullet for any government administration issue. The fact that nearly 300 million people (most of them India’s poorest of the poor) were enrolled in the biometric scheme before there was even an act of parliament allowing it is clue number one of the potential problems.

*See www.newsweek.com/2017/09/15/data-security-india-biometric-data-benefits-surveillance

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With a population of over a billion people, how to govern is an issue. But it seems that the Photograph by James Meadows solution being put into practice is to reduce everyone to a number and attach everything you do to that number as some sort of metadata. The biggest problem I see is that, in the wrong hands, any one or group could be isolated and restricted unjustly. The trajectory of a system like this could be used to suddenly prevent a minority group or demographic group from buying anything, going anywhere, make any phone calls, or even “exist” in society. That’s the dystopian view of it. Just see how China is using this kind of system to isolate and persecute Uyghurs in Xinjiang. It is a grave use of government power. I am not saying that India’s Aadhaar is there yet, but it has the potential. That’s why the current supreme court cases judging the legality of the system is so important. It is a viable means for efficient and secure distribution of government subsidies and welfare schemes. And for such things, I might be willing to give up some of my rights to the government. But I would gladly retain my biometric information for the right to be left alone by any State.

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India Revisited

Photograph of the Great Wall of India overlooking Jaipur taken by Mark Miller

You recently moved to Malaysia. How does life there differ from life in India? Wow. It is night and day. We are still getting to know Malay life, but we really like it. There is a long history of cultural exchanges here, so I feel like the diversity has a different flavor. Our apartment looks over a mosque and we hear the calls to prayer every day. There is a Hindu temple at the bottom of the hill, and we see Taoists and Buddhists lighting fires for ancestral ghosts all the time.

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India Revisited (Continued) An obvious difference is that we used to live in the desert of India. Now we live on a tropical island! You can’t get much different than that. It’s another adventure, and I am glad that we as a family can do it. If we are to be lights in this world, we love having the privilege of shining that light no matter where we live.

You can find Mark at i55media.com

Photograph of Taj Lake in Udaipur taken by James Meadows

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Not the end

What do you notice in the streets? Tag us on Instagram

@thestreetsmagazine to show us what you see.

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Not the end

Photograph by Meredith M Howard

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ISSUE EIGHT

THE STREETS - Issue Nine  

A street photography magazine that builds bridges.

THE STREETS - Issue Nine  

A street photography magazine that builds bridges.