John Free is a social documentary and street photographer whose photographic essays “range from railroad tramps in California to automobile abstracts to London and Paris street life.” He’s been shooting the streets for years and his photographs are, in a word, exquisite.
John once did a ten year project called, “The End of the Line” in which he daily photographed “railroad tramps” arriving at the end of the line in L.A. He had this to say about the project: ““I photographed these severely damaged and tragic men and women, who, because of a personal tragedy in their lives, the war, the woman, the bottle, were forced to the dangerous lifestyle of riding freight trains. Eventually they come to Los Angeles which is the farthest west one can travel on a train.” You can see his images from this project in the Social Documentary section of his gallery, on his website.
John also has a way with the written word, which is why I highly recommend you check out his blog. Thought provoking photo essays abound, along with inspiring stories and photographic philosophies from the likes of Robert Frank, HCB and even John Free himself.
If that’s not enough to pique your interest, he also does street photography workshops! And there’s a two-day workshop coming up in May in Washington, D.C. What kind of workshop does John Free run? Here’s a snippet from an event page with some of the details:
“Each day will begin with an intense historical survey of the methods and images of John’s favorite photographers, their approach and intent as it pertains to large crowds and political events.”
John teaches his students “how to dance like Cartier-Bresson, float like Frank and run like Smith” with a heart like his own. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? In fact, sounds like its worth a trip to D.C. in May to get a first-hand John Free photography experience.