The pussy generation…the bold street photographer does best.

Article Dedication

in Honor of

David ‘Chim’ Seymour & Walker Evans


Here is a snip from a Clint Eastwood interview and his take on the Pussy Generation

We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody’s become used to saying, “Well, how do we handle it psychologically?” In those days, you just punched the bully back and duked it out. Even if the guy was older and could push you around, at least you were respected for fighting back, and you’d be left alone from then on….I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.

Weegee also sums things up for the timid street photog wannabee when he said,

” There are sheltered souls, who are afraid to mingle with strangers. Some of them go in for table-top photography…a plain case of mental masturbation. To make (street) pictures, you can’t just be polite. You have to go around sticking your nose in other people’s business, same as a midget in a nudist camp.” (quote condensed)

Generally speaking, the bold street photog does best – not the timid one that is scared of their own shadow.

Here is a short video on Weegee…”You can’t be a nice Nellie and do street / news photography.”

Backup link for audio:

Even if your balls are the size of shriveled up, freezer burnt, green peas there is hope for the timid photog. What they need to do is to perfect their candid skills so they have little or no fear of being caught.

The young guns coming up are too politically correct to shove their cam in people faces. Society also makes it tough for male photogs to shoot kids. An old guy in his 60’s like me is labeled a sexual predator if they are caught shooting kids on the street.

Well…that is if you are caught!

Many photogs are overthinkers, worried at every possible opportunity. By the time they do all their mental masturbation, the shot is long gone. Shoot first…masturbate at home

There are bold mushroom hunters and there are old mushroom hunters…but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters. That was what an old time shroomer told me that when I told him he was not bold enuf in his foraging. We were discussing edible mushrooms and pushing the edibility envelope.

As a street photog ,boldness is an important part of the success equation. But like anything else, too much of good thing can be harmful. As an example – water and air are life sustaining, but in excess they can kill.

Here is my formula for staying safe on the street and still bringing home the goods with a balance of boldness and street smarts.

Don’t fall into these self-defeating traps…

On the Rangefinder Forum, a camera fondler gave up shooting the red rooms of Amsterdam before he even got in town. In his mind he was convinced he would fail. He quit before he started.

Camera fondlers are always blaming their equipment. Over nearly 50 years of shooting I have used many types of cams. I can tell you if the camera is capable of recording the scene and you don’t get the photo…it is not the cameras problem, the problem is with you.

As the timid photog perfects their candid skills, they will be able to work with impunity right up in people’s faces.

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Infrared flash helps, but invisible flash or not, you still have to stick your cam in people’s faces. Once you master your skills you can work between the 2 mediums seamlessly picking the best technique for the subject.


Selection from Iconoclastic Reporter artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.



No wonder the film photogs seldom produce anything good nowadays…

27 De Wallen Artists'  Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Selection from De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District artist’s book (Candid)

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

On the Rangefinder Forum they were discussing ‘how can you afford film anymore?’

I guess it never occurs to them to use digital, if film is causing them problems. I think many of the film photog are closet chemists. They like the process more so than producing iconic photos.

One photo forum camera fondling member said he would ‘give up photography altogether’ if they discontinued film – he would never shoot digital.

Why not put getting the shot first? What the poor film photographers have to go through…just for a good ego massage.

No wonder the film photogs seldom produce anything worthwhile nowadays.


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iridium7777 is offline
Join Date: May 2007
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how can you afford film anymore?

so i left my film rangefinder about 4 years ago, being 100% film shooter prior to that.

it’s crazy that Leica film RF prices stayed the same and I was looking at second hand M6s and MPs out of curiosity… and then I started looking at film developing and scanning prices

Seems like most Walgreens where i used to do quick develop/scan only for about $4.99 no longer even have film machines.

I’ve found a few specific Film developing places but their prices now range from 10$/roll to develop/scan for lowest resolution to 20$/roll develop and scan for resolution for 8×10.

And then I’ve looked at prices of film… my beloved Fuji either does not exist anymore or the prices are about 10$ roll of slide and at minimum $5 per roll for color film.

at these costs it’ll run me about 15$-20$ per roll to shoot film. I looked through my old photo journal and i did about 50 rolls per year, so that’s $1000 per year and probably things are going to keep getting more difficult and pricier.

is film becoming more of a nostalgic side hobby that’s only sustainable on the side, or those that do majority of film now develop and scan their own to keep the costs down? seems like mainstream options are dwindling…

Change in posting timeline for 2017

During much of 2016 I had been sending in a minimum of 4 posts a month, scheduled every 7-9 days. In October 2016 I began reducing my posting schedule to a minimum of 3 posts per month or 1 post every 10 days.

Due to a lack of time and being overwhelmed with photo projects I will have to further cut back on my posting timeline. It is very easy to end up in the trap of being a slave to your blog. You can end up writing your life away.


Force Feeding the Sex Slave

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Starting in 2017 I will be sending in a minimum of 2 posts per month. New posts will be scheduled for the 14th and the 28th of the month.

As was the case prior to this change, I may send in quick, off the cuff posts if they fit into my schedule. So, 2  posts a months is a minimum and not maximum.

Weegee Infrared Flash Reenactment Pop Mech April 1956

Weegee reenacting his infrared flash theatre photography technique.

I’ve lost all faith in myself

Article Dedication

in honor of

Horst & Eugene de Salignac


From the Rangefinder Forum

Back Alley writes:

i’ve lost all faith in myself…been in a funk, have not taken a pic in ages and not a good pic in even longer…was heading out the other day and decided to not take a camera with me…as i was leaving i heard my inner voice say to me…’well, it’s ok…you have your phone with you if needed’.
His photos:


Dunno, with street work one should seldom be in a funk. Just step out your door and opportunity is there. If you don’t live in a big city, go to where the people are.

33 De Wallen Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Selection from

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Redlight District artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (Candid)

When I look at Back Alley’s work I just see your typical photo forum bullshit photos with a few OK keepers mixed in. He doesn’t take chances, he just copies what everyone else on the forum does. When I looked at his blog dates, they were so spread out and infrequent, of course he is in a funk and losing interest.

Compare Cartier-Bresson’s attitude to Back Alley’s…

“I prowled the streets all day, feeling very sprung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.”

To do great work one must be excited at the prospect of freezing time. Be purpose driven, don’t do photography as an afterthought…do it as the first, foremost and only thought.

A tool Harry Callahan used to combat boredom was to mix things up.

Callahan had no time to be bored and wallow in self-pity. Callahan would go from shooting architecture to nature to nudes to motion blur and abstracts to shooting his wife to color to 35mm to large format to water and reflections to street photography to shadows. All these areas of interest helped make Callahan a better photog, by giving him a variety of projects to approach from a multitude of directions – instead of just working on a single project day in and day out, one way.

Lets look at Back Alley’s post count… 39,992

He is a computer addict. He likes the idea of being a photog and talking about it, but does not seem to like putting in the footwork hitting the pavement. He spends more time fantasizing and tickling the keyboard than pressing the button.

If Back Alley could pick his balls up off the floor and get his ass in gear, he may have a chance. But nothing can come about if he doesn’t spend more time shooting and less time fondling his keyboard.

Now, sometimes it takes time to bring home iconic photos. Weegee talks about taking 2 years to get a great drunk photo. But, during those 2 years looking, Weegee also brought home lots of great photos in many other areas.

The Rangefinder Forum banned me ages ago after only a short stay there, so I can’t answer him on the forum. The guy that runs the Rangefinder Forum knows a lot about camera fondling, but camera masturbation is it…he is a shitty photog. Most of the Rangefinder Forum members are fondlers, so not much help for Back Alley there. For the most part, you got the blind leading the blind at the Rangefinder Forum…just pitiful.

Two Blind Beggars copyright 1972 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Lets discuss portfolio theory and practice a little before discussing the funk…

Back Alley’s portfolio, it is loaded with crap. He needs to get rid of the crap and focus of great photography.  Your work should not only inspire others, it should inspire and impress you as well! If you have lots of garbage in your portfolio, of course you will be discouraged when you look at it.

When someone Google’s your name, only your best images and projects should show up. When a curator looks up your name, you don’t want them to see your non-professional work that you may be ashamed of. Or worse…junk from other photographers mixed in that could be mistaken for your work.

Don’t make the mistake that many photographers do by diluting a portfolio with lots of garbage and personal photos. They will have 20 versions of a so-so photo on Flickr. Just pick one photo. It looks like the photographer doesn’t know what they are doing. It looks like they are using the ‘shotgun approach’ in away that is hurting them, saying “Here, I don’t know if any of these are any good…you pick.”

Now, if your goal is to get ‘likes’ and ‘thumbs up’ then none of this matters. But if you aspire to be above that, if you’re serious about getting your work in museums and public collections – then what you present professionally matters a great deal.

Generally speaking, it will take more than a ‘thumbs up photo career’ to keep you motivated over a lifetime of freezing time. And going beyond the ‘garden variety thumbs up photog’ is one of the tools you can use to  keep your interest in photography alive and fresh.

Be careful where you leave online comments if you’re using your real name online or an account that is connected with your name. While it is nice to encourage upcoming photogs, the other person’s photos will show up on your image and web search. I don’t want their pix showing up on a search of my name. So, I had to stop that practice.

Here is an example. I left a comment on a blog and now his photo shows up on an image search for my name. (See photo circled in green.)

Image Search 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

                                         Click on photo to enlarge

I like his photo and it is not a hardship on me to have his image show up in my search, still it confuses things. Even worse, I don’t want an image search of my name to show up lots of bad work that is not mine and dilutes my portfolio. It also works the same if you have your images used by others. Their images can show up in an image search for you and your images.

I made the mistake of putting some of my lower end photos on Wiki Commons. Someone used it and did a bad job on exposure and now it shows up in an image search of my name. (See the photo circled in red.) Same with another person that chopped up one of my photos. The butchered photo shows up in my search.

This is what the photo circled in red should look like.

Steeplechase Copyright 2005 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

You want to keep a body of work focused and not all over the place…be consistent. If your work is eclectic, like Harry Callahan’s work, then your focus in your portfolio is to just show outstanding photography.

My work is in 125+ museum and curated collections around the world. When a curator looks up my name I don’t want them to have to sift through lots of junk and be turned off. So keep a clean and focused profile with Google, Bing, AVG and Yahoo.

If you don’t have individually focused portfolios, make them. I have 45+ Tumblrs.  Every project gets a Tumblr of its own. Some photogs on Flickr have thousands of pix and no focused portfolio. You will lose a curator right there. No one is going to spend half a day looking through your jumbled up work – a focused portfolio is a must.

You should be Googleing your name every week and looking at the images and searches connected with your name. If you don’t like what you see…change your M.O. Also have a complete BIO or CV easily available on the net. Don’t make the curators work too hard. A search of my name produces my bio first thing.

A nice touch is to offer an illustrated bio as well as a text version. Not many artists using this technique.

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Infrared flash photo

I see some websites where the photog was trying to be cute by designing an ‘artsy’ website. Some of them are very tough to navigate and are soooo slow. I just give up after a short time before I move on. No shortage of photog websites out there to view. Make it easy for curators to like your work. No one cares about your cute website if it does not work.

Some photographers like to do testing or illustrated tutorials online. In the beginning I used any old photo for the tests. Like clockwork the low end test photos started to show up in my search results. So, if I do any testing that is connected to my name I use decent photos now or I post results anonymously if I don’t want the photos to come up in my search results.

'Left Silver Gelatin Print - Right Hahnemuehle Ink Jet Print' Copyright 2013 Daniel Teoli Jr.

A comparison test of a silver gelatin print versus an inkjet print.

Left vintage silver gelatin print on Agfa Brovira paper 1972. Right inkjet print on Hahnemühle Ultra Smooth Matte paper 2012.

Now for the funk…

Here is the deal. When your in a funk, be open and push yourself by shooting in new venues.

Jay Maisel sums it up…

“If you’re out there shooting, things will happen for you. If your not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Try shooting around the clock. Some photogs only shoot at golden or blue hour. Try something different.

Walking around all day yielded very little, then when it turned night I got The Lost Princess. (above).  I never know when I will get a keeper, but one thing is for sure, if I’m not out there hitting the pavement with camera in-hand, I won’t get a thing.

It is very important to realize the importance of the in-hand aspect of camera carrying. These camera fondlers that carry a cam on a big, bulky shoulder strap are cutting their chances at getting the stealthy shot. Keep your cam on the wrist with a thin, plain wrist strap.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Time and time again Jay’s wisdom holds true. Many of my best photos are based in his credo.

14 img034-2 final-Spotted PRINT V5 MR

As I age it sometimes is hard to keep up the pace of my younger days. My feet, ankles and knees start giving out. But, I still do the best I can to be a witness to life…and document it.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

This was a one shot wonder. In the few blinks of an eye it was gone. You must always be ready…time waits for no one.

Same with the next shot, gone in an instant!

Twenty-Six Roadkills artists' book no.9 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

TV shot

Even if one is not able to get out, photographs can still be made. I shot this from the TV. Some photogs even produce museum pieces from their TV!

I’m still waiting to get a TV shot into a museum collection!

21Whoop-Whoop 21 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The key is to be able to shoot without having to think…it must be second nature.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

If you don’t have the basics down…shoot your TV screen. Although there comes a time when we all have to put priciples into practice.

26Whoop-Whoop 123 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (9)

Once you have the basics down and you get out there… things will happen for you!

50 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

Once you are at one with your cam…the world is your oyster!


 I went out for 10 minutes to test a used camera at lunchtime…now Faces of Gentrification is in a few museums’ collections.


If I wanted to, I could just shoot infrared flash and have enough material to keep me busy…


Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - - C Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 67 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C  PD infrared flash 2016 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. nyc-infrared-flash-photo-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m times-square-food-stand-2016-infrared-flash-daniel-d-teoli-jr-mm

PD 41 Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr C


Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 41 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C Piercing Darkness Infrared flash 7 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C

As long as you have your camera in-hand, opportunity is possible. And I don’t have to hide behind invisible infrared flash to get the shot either…



Street photography is like fishing – you can put in the time and still not reel anything in. So, I have a number of projects that I shoot ‘off the cuff’ to keep me motivated by pressing the button through dry spells.

A little known book on street photography was made something along these lines…Smokers and Sleepers.

One of my boredom projects is shooting people while yawning…candid. It is good practice for fast shooting…a yawn does not last very long.

PD 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C PD Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - C

Kissing is another area that can produce some nice candid photo ops while on the street.

Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C

PD Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr- Co

BMG selection copyright 2014 Daniel d. Teoli Jr. mr

…I’m not that fussy about what they are kissing either…

Bikers Mardi Gras no. 88 copyright 2014 Daniel d. Teoli Jr. mr

37Whoop-Whoop 111 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr (1) Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr Kissers Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

People pointing is another good subject for fast shooting.

Dancing Queen Bride Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

BMG Project Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - Copy

I have lots of pointing pix, but don’t want to put them in here.  I don’t want to sign my name to them online since they will dilute my portfolio of good work. They are something you would find on your average photo forum and nothing special. I only shoot em for fast shooting practice and out of boredom. And if something great comes about then I will keep it.

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In addition to my boredom projects, I have many serious projects to shoot for.

A project gives a photog direction and purpose. A project can showcase the photogs talents. Many great photogs are known for landmark projects they have done.

The great Zig Ziglar talked about this – “Do you want to be a wandering generality or a meaningful specific.”

In my own photo life I seldom shoot anymore unless it IS for a project or to put a shot into a institutional collection or my portfolio. I can’t afford wasting time shooting stuff that will go nowhere, just no time to fool around. Even if I stopped taking photos today I have 4+ years of photos I have not even looked through yet and tons of artists’ books to finish.

If I wanted to shoot the garden variety camera fondler photos on the photo forums I could shoot day and night 7 days a week. So, how is there any time to be bored when it comes to photography?

Here is a list of some of my completed and in-progress artist’s book projects I’m working on.  If the project is a major one it usually ends up as an artists’ book. I’d advise any funked-up photogs out there to find a project and devote themselves fully to it.

A Family Portrait – 1971

Engaging the Enemy Frigate – 2011

Anecdote – 2011

Imitation of Life – 2011

Pocket Art (Series 1 to 3) – 2012

Dye Transfer Printing from the 1950’s – 2012

Dye Stability Testing of Color Imaging Media – 2012

Portfolio 25 – 2013

Pocket Art (Series 4 to 7) – 2013

Peephole: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013

Portfolio: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A. – 2013

Twenty-Six Roadkills – 2013

Cutters: There is nothing I hate more than myself. – 2014

Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet-
Printing Media – 12 Volume Set – 2014 (f)

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – 2015

Pocket Art IR – 2015

Bikers’ Mardi Gras – 2015

Gender Benders from the 1970’s – 2015

Tonality – 2015

Skinned Alive – 2016

The End of an Era – 2016

Temple of Dreams – 2016

Meet on the Street…Shoot at the Home – 2016

Her Last Day Alive – 2016 (b)

A Day in the Life of a Drag Queen – 2016 (b)

Gone! Up in Smoke – 2017 (b)

Piercing Darkness  – 2017 (a) (d)

The Americans…60 years after Frank – 2017 (a) (d)

Dye Stability Testing of Color Imaging Media: Edition 2 – 2017 (b)

Whoop-Whoop – 2018 (b)

Gay Bar – 2018 (b)

Women are Beautiful: Beyond Snapshot Aesthetics  – 2018 (d)

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large – 2018 (b)

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large II – (e)

Big Mouth – 2018 (d)

Charmed – 2018 (d)

Moo! – Forthcoming (e)

Girls of the Beat Generation: The Mix – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: The Bodies – Forthcoming (c)

Raw: Girls of the Beat Generation – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: Hairstyles from the 1940’s-1960’s – Forthcoming (c)

The Rainbow Girls of the Beat Generation – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: Outtakes – Forthcoming (c)

Girls of the Beat Generation: 6 Volume Master Set  – Forthcoming (c)

Presenting Photography to Curators and Museums – Forthcoming (c)

Eight Millimeter – Forthcoming (e)

Infrared New York – Forthcoming (c)

Yum! – Forthcoming (e)

A Shadow in Time – Forthcoming (c)

A Hidden World – Forthcoming (c)

Secrets of Candid Photography – Forthcoming (c)

Eiffel Found  – Forthcoming (c)

Freezing Time: Vernacular Snapshot Aesthetics – Forthcoming (c)

Freezing Time: Vernacular Snapshot Aesthetics II – Forthcoming (c)

Manhattan 180 – Forthcoming (e)

In Their Day – Forthcoming (c)

Double Take – Forthcoming (c)

Wide Open – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past I – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past II – Forthcoming (c)

The Ghost of Christmas Past III – Forthcoming (c)

Pigskin Chronicles – Forthcoming (c)

Frosty – Forthcoming (c)

The Kennedy Files – Forthcoming (c)

All You Need is Love – Forthcoming (c)

Nursing Home Confidential – Forthcoming (c)

Klaus – Forthcoming (c)

Majorette – Forthcoming (c)

The Dinosaur Hunters – Forthcoming (c)

Balling the Jack – Forthcoming (c)

Gimme the Finger – Forthcoming (c)

Painted Ladies  – Forthcoming (c)

The Great Tit – Forthcoming (e)

Artifices of Convention – Forthcoming (c)

All about Dick! – Forthcoming (c)

Shooting Blind  – Forthcoming (c)

Beatnik Lovefest – Forthcoming (c)

Going Postal – Forthcoming (c)

Plain Brown Paper Wrapper Girls: Bohemian Models from 1940’s-1960’s – Forthcoming (c)

The Animal Lovers  – Forthcoming (c)

A Mucky Day in NYC – Forthcoming (c)

Magnifying Lens Photography – Forthcoming (e)

Take it Like a Man – Forthcoming (c)

Iconoclastic Reporter – Forthcoming (c)

Iconoclastic Reporter 2 – Forthcoming (e)

The Flappers: The Mix – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Raw! – Forthcoming (c)

The Rainbow Flappers – Forthcoming (c)

Flappers: Reflections – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Hairstyles from the 1915 – 1935 – Forthcoming (c)

The Flappers: Outtakes – Forthcoming (c)

 The Flappers: 6 Volume Master Set  – Forthcoming (e)

Nightwatch – Forthcoming (e)

The Pre-Beat Bohemians: Girls from the 1930’s & 1940’s – Forthcoming (c)

Bathing Beauties – Forthcoming (c)

So…You Think You Got Troubles? – Forthcoming (e)

Mirror Image  – Forthcoming (c)

The Bohemians – Forthcoming (e)

Hyper-Real HDR Street Photography – Forthcoming (e)

Blow Man Blow! Forthcoming (c)

Whoop-Te-Doo – Forthcoming (c)

Going Native! – Forthcoming (c)

Adorable – Forthcoming (c)

Hungry for Love –  Forthcoming (e)

Before Photoshop (Abridged) – Forthcoming (c)

Before Photoshop (Unabridged)- Forthcoming (c)

Pitch Black Crapshoot – Forthcoming (c)

Trucker Fags in Denial: A Closer Look – Forthcoming (e)

Harem – Forthcoming (c)

Vegas Undercover – Forthcoming (c)

Bikers’ Mardi Gras: Revisited – Forthcoming (e)

Pucker Up! – Forthcoming (e)

Rear View  Forthcoming (e)

The Broken Leg Variations – Forthcoming (c)

The Honeymooners – Forthcoming (c)

A Shot in the Dark – Forthcoming (e)

Blinded by the Light – Forthcoming (e)

Beatnik Lovefest II – Forthcoming (e)

The Lovers – Forthcoming (c)

America…in T shirts – Forthcoming (c)

Snob Repeal – Forthcoming (c)

New York Wide Open  – Forthcoming (e)

Bohemian Nights  – Forthcoming (e)

Nosing Around – Forthcoming (e)

In Motion – Forthcoming (c)

Strangers in Paradise – Forthcoming (c)

50 Photos – Forthcoming (e)

Hijabs of New York – Forthcoming (e)

Day for Night – Forthcoming (e)

You Just Gotta Have Balls! – A Street Photographer’s Manifesto  Forthcoming (e)

New York, New York – Forthcoming (e)

Pointers – Forthcoming (e)

Infrared Street Photography – Forthcoming (e)

ARTZ – Forthcoming (e)

IR in Motion: Greeley Square Park – Forthcoming (e)

IR in Motion: On Broadway – Forthcoming (e)

Piercing New York – Forthcoming (e)

Tough Women – Forthcoming (c)

Guerilla (Warfare) Photography – Forthcoming (c)

Mucking Around Manhattan IR – Forthcoming (c)

Humans of New York…No BULLSHIT! – Forthcoming (e)

Novelette – Forthcoming (e)

Metro IR – Forthcoming (e)

Gone Girls – Forthcoming (e)

Artsy Type…No Principles – In Development

What is Spontaneous Bop Prose… – In Development

Thirty-six views of Bison – In Development

With Due Respect Beloved One – In Development


(a) Under consideration for a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.  Edit 4.7.16 – Notified of Fellowship rejection from Guggenheim Foundation.

(b) Principal photography complete – pro forma book printing schedule.

(c) Principal photography complete – pending book printing, no date scheduled.

(d) Photography in progress – pro forma project completion date.

(e) Photography in progress – ongoing, no completion date set.

(f) World record for largest set of hand-printed artist’s books ever produced.

Fourth of July 2013 CV Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

OK…I’ve given you some tools I use to keep out of the funk zone. If nothing here resonates with you, start selling some of your usless photo gear your not using on eBay, clean up your archives and get caught up on your post processing. Study new photo techniques, do some experimentation or go to some photo shows / art exhibits.

In the end, you may also want to do some soul searching about your photography. As I’ve told you before, the hardcore street photog is going to have a different attitude, personality and ego than an anal landscaper or startrail photog. The street photog may not be as anal as the tripod photog when it comes to technical aspects, but their nature shows a different anal aspect when it comes to their personality.

The street photog may have to work outside of normally accepted societal conventions if they want to get the shot. As such, that special ‘anal aspect’ the street photog must posses can be summed up in the vernacular thusly…success on the street sometimes involves being an asshole.


Holy Water Bowl St Patrick’s Cathedral NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

The photog usually does not set out to be an asshole, but when you concentrate only on ‘getting the shot’ it is a natural offshoot of the process. Now, on the positive side, the better you are at candid work, the less assholeish you need to be.

If you can’t make a go of it, you may be in the wrong art. When I was a young photog growing up in L.A. I wanted to be a studio / fashion photog. Finally it sunk in that I had no talent for those areas – all my talent was in street / doc photography. It was important to my work and inner peace the day I accepted this. Once it sunk in I took to street photography like a fat kid eating pizza, just devouring it…and never looked back!

Good Luck and don’t forget the secret formula…layoff the keyboard, hit the pavement and press the button more!


Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

From Girls of the Beat Generation

A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Weegee talks to us from the grave…you can’t be a nice Nellie and do (street) photography.

Article Dedication 

In honor of

Berenice Abbott & Margaret Bourke-White


Taken in part from The Street Photographer’s Manifesto

a forthcoming artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Weegee talks to us from the grave…

A short Weegee ‘How To’ video

Backup audio link:

I was shooting in Hoboken and a wedding photog chewed me out for not asking before I shot him, his assistant and the bride. I gave him the spiel…if you are in public I can shoot as I please. I told him he was a photog and should know that. He said I should still be courteous and ask first.

Well, being courteous and doing street work do not go together. If the camera fondling wedding photog was a street shooter he would have known this. Weegee maybe said it best…you can’t be a nice Nellie and do (street) photography.

Here is the Hierarchy of Documentary Photography, which I developed, that spells it out.

1. Candid events unfolding as they happen.

2. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a candid, then the photo must be posed.

3. If it cannot be perfected or obtained as a posed photo, then it must be staged with the proviso it is a recreation of past events, preferably with the actual persons reenacting the events.

4. Figments of the imagination. Varies in documentary value.  Can be based on pure speculation or a recount of events.


Grand Central Station NYC (Candid)

There is a high chance the hardcore street photog is going to have a different attitude, personality and ego than an anal landscaper or startrail photog. The street photog may not be as anal as the tripod photog when it comes to technical aspects, but their nature shows a different anal aspect when it comes to their personality.

The street photog may have to work outside of normally accepted societal conventions if they want to get the shot. As such, that special ‘anal aspect’ the street photog must posses can be summed up in the vernacular thusly…success on the street sometimes involves being an asshole.


The legendary Samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi would advise his students to ‘think only of cutting’ when in battle. This same strategy is what I do when shooting on the street….I think only of getting the shot.

Eric Kim sent out a post on ‘how to be an ethical street photog.’ He outlined a long list of do’s and don’t he does not approve of. OK, there are no higher up management in street photography to oversee us, if it is legal, we can do as we like.

No wonder Kim specializes in  street portraits. After you run that long list of bullshit through your mind the photo op is looooooong gone.

Weegee Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection m

Boys and girls, here is the deal…

Are your photo aspirations that of a Flickr photog looking for your next thumbs up? Or do you want to be a museum quality street photog looking to get into a permanent collection?

If you have so-called street ethics that prevent you from doing what I layout for you here, then your niche is with street portraits or getting embeded / friendly with your subjects. That way you can shoot relaxed and with full permission.


Holy Water Bowl St Patrick’s Cathedral NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I am one of the best candid photogs in the world. But, no matter how great a candid photog I am; if I want to take photos out of the holy water bowl in church, there is no way round it…I got to stick the goddamn camera in the bowl. And that involves being an asshole.

Only other option is to set up a studio / posed bullshit shot. My personal ethics for a candid shot such as this only come into play when the guard asks me to stop or leave. Other than that, I can’t afford to worry about this or that or Eric Kim’s long list of dislikes…I am too concentrated on getting the shot.

Now, as Weegee told us, most people are reasonable. Most street photogs usually do not set out to be an asshole. But when you concentrate only on ‘getting the shot’ it is a natural offshoot of the process. And this need to be an asshole only comes about if you insist on in-your-face, candid photography like I do. On the positive side, the better you are at candid work, the less assholeish you need to be.

If you’re OK with doing the garden variety street photography you see on photo forums, the asshole issue should not be a problem for anyone. Just shoot from the hip far away or get a long telephoto lens, stand across the street and blast away.

But the majority of this type of photo forum street work I see smacks of…‘Hey look at me, I just shot a mishmash of strangers on the street that don’t mean a anything to anyone.’ These photos usually only hold interest to the photog that took them and maybe the people in the photo.

That type of work is what I try to avoid…and I avoid it by getting personal with my subjects. And getting personal with strangers is where the need to be an asshole comes in.

Now, just being an asshole isn’t going to cut it. The formula for great street photography is:

  1. The ability to be a good asshole.
  2. Having a great eye.
  3. The skill and ability to record what you see with candid photography.

You can see if you are missing any one of these components, you wont cut it in the world of museum quality street photography. You can be the greatest asshole in the world, but if you lack an eye, the  vision and technical skill to record what you see in any lighting condition, that very instant…then you are just a untalented asshole.

What about if you have an eye and the skill to record what you see in a heartbeat…but you are missing the boldness needed to be a good asshole? Well, if you can figure out how to grow some balls and press the button without pissing your pants, then you may come home with the iconic shot. (Instead of going home with nothing good and pining over the sales ads looking to see which next camera to buy to fix your problem.)


Order Women Like Pizza  Daniel D. Teoli Jr. v29 mrOrder Women Like Pizza Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Order Women Like Pizza – Las Vegas (Candid)

Photogs have always used tricks to get the shot, either from the need to not be an asshole or from having balls the size of freezer burnt green peas. For instance, Walker Evans, was said to hide his camera in his coat and Paul Strand was reported to use a right angle, fake lens attachment so no one could see what he was really aiming at.–and-the-real-reason-we-should-remember-diane-arb/

This type of sneaky candid work goes back to the early days of photography…

Vintage Spy Camera

Now, if you are of the nature of Donna Ferrato, Sebastião Salgado, Mary Ellen Mark, W. Eugene Smith, Michel Chelbin, Gordon Parks, Gail Halaban, Shelby Lee Adams, Nan Goldin, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Helen Levitt or Eugene Richards, then you have the talent and personality to be able to embed yourself into the project and become friends with your subjects. Once you are accepted into the group, you can shoot at will and not have to be an asshole. But every photog does not have this personality.

If you are not of that nature, then it does you little good to waste time trying to be something you’re not. For me, I accept I do not have the personality and disposition to do projects that require the photog to embed themselves and be personable with their subjects. Where I put my effort is in trying to be the least amount of an asshole necessary in order to get the great candid street or doc shot. And that is accomplished through honing my skills to be the best candid photographer that I can be.

De Wallen Postcards copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Postcard display Amsterdam

When Socrates was a young man he surveyed what areas of inquiry he wished to direct his philosophical thought to. He looked at the study of the natural world. He concluded he was not of the nature to study the nature of animals and the natural world. Socrates found what area of study interested him and he settled on the study of human nature.

When I was a young photog growing up in L.A., Irving Penn, Halsman and Horst were my idols and I wanted to be a fashion / studio photog.

Philippe Halsman Jump Series Martin - Lewis

Photo by Philippe Halsman

Only after years of anguish did it finally sink in that I had no talent in those areas. Once I accepted that fact, I took to street and doc photography like a fat kid eating pizza, just devouring it and never looked back. And to further distill this revelation, I had to accept the fact that the best I can do in the realm of street and doc photography was to be the best ‘hit and run’ street and doc photog that I could be.

Cartier-Bresson sums up ‘hit and run’ street photography nicely…

“I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.  Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”

The question I asked myself about having what it takes to be a studio photog is the same question you have to ask…do you have the talent and true desire to be a great street photog? I mean, in a world of 3 billion cell phone cams you have to be great nowadays if you want to stand out above the crowd…the world is just polluted with images.

1936 Temple of Dreams Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection m

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

You may say you have the desire, but you have to put this desire above all else and this is where being an asshole comes in. If you can’t be a good asshole or you can’t develop outstanding candid skills, then you may not have what it takes to do museum quality street work. If that is the case, then do you have the personality and talent to embed yourself into people lives to get the shot in a more relaxed atmosphere?

Whatever direction you do take, it does not matter what I say, they say or what you say. The proof of the pudding will be in your portfolio…either it will be great or it will be shit…that is the acid test.

If perchance you do not have any candid skills and you do not have the personality to embed yourself with your subjects, there is one last hope for you. You need to get a mouthpiece, fixer or talker for your project. The mouthpiece will do all the talking, interviewing, arranging and kibitzing.

It is very common occurrence that photogs and writers work in teams on projects. The writer interviews and writes, the photog freezes time for the project. All you have to do is to press the button successfully. For the majority of the circumstances girls work best as the mouthpiece. Everyone likes to talk to girls…the men, the women, the lesbians and even the homosexuals.

One last note on this subject with concerns to what ‘they’ say when it comes to ‘hit and run’ photography…

You will find critics all around you. Critics and art have a long history in bed together. Well, as the old saying goes…opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one.

Some critics will say ‘hit and run’ photography is bad. To do real street photography you must make eye contact with your subject. Others will say you must ask permission first before shooting and that shooting from the hip does not count.

The critics must be a little confused. They must think they are paying for the shoot. If you’re working for your own account and it is legal to shoot…you do as you goddamn please. There are no photo police or head photo accountants to say what counts and what does not count. There are no rules on how we should do our art…other than…THERE ARE NO RULES!


Sometimes in our photo career we come across people that do a little more than offering criticism. I have had plenty of confrontations with people during the nearly 50 years I’ve been shooting on the street. Here are a few of the self-preservation lessons I have learned over that time.

Fortune favors the prepared.

Champ Joe Lewis summed up the plight of many an aspiring street photog  when he said…”Nothing replaces ring time.” The modern day camera fondlers will do everything they can to ‘buy experience’ with books and seminarseverything short of getting their hands dirty, day in and day out, training on the street and pushing themselves to keep expanding the envelope.

The German’s have a saying…’You grasp by grasping.’

Cartier-Bresson once said “your first 10,000 pix are your worst.” In the digital age, I say it is your first 100,000, not 10,000.

Experience usually precedes insight.

I see this phenomena all the time on the photo forums, they want insight without any experience.  People will ask if I do this…then what? With digital imaging, nothing could be easier than to push the button and find out the what for yourself. Fortune favors the curious…that gets their hands dirty. People want it all breast-fed to them nowadays. Pretty soon they will be sending out robots to do their street photography for them.

3Whoop-Whoop 31 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

I had to laugh at reading some crap written by Eric Kim. (He blocked me from posting to his blog…so I’ll have my say here.) Anyway, he wrote about  a confrontation he had where he stood around arguing on a long term basis with a guy about a dispute over Kim taking his pix without permission.

Well, that is how wannabes do it. You know the ones…”Hey, I read 200 books on photography…now I’m a street photog!” and lets not forget…“I don’t know if my street photo will look better on film or digital – so I shoot it both ways.”

Goddamn…they got the blind leading the blind nowadays!  Listen up…YOU NEVER, EVER STAND THERE AND ARGUE.

When you are in an argument what happens – blood starts to boil…

4Juggalos no. 18 Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr

As soon as you snap the shutter, start walking away. What the hell are you waiting for…things to escalate???? Fortune favors the wise. Don’t stand there like a jackass, being an accommodating stationary target, arguing for 20 minutes with an idiot that could turn dangerous.

If someone is a nut case your not going to reason with them. Once you take the pix. (As you camera fondlers call it ‘captured.’) you move the fudge on. YOU take control of the situation, move out and let the person chase you down if they want to keep the conversation going.

This is an important ‘acid test’ in itself as to which direction this confrontation may take. The person may let it go and shrug it off or maybe they will stand there and yell at you. Well, people can yell and blow off all the steam they want. I’ve heard it all before from the cowards behind the keyboards.

Where the line gets crossed is when words turn into a physical assault. If the person starts to follow you to continue arguing with you that shows intent on their part that should warn you to be prepared for a possible escalation in the situation.

Joel Meyerowitz tells a story about Cartier-Bresson. He said Bresson was accosted by a drunk and flung his Leica in the drunks face to stun him. Bresson retrieved the camera with the shoulder strap and quickly disappeared into the crowd. That is how you do it. Don’t argue, don’t make a big fudging deal over it, give them the spiel on your rights about taking photos in public and move on.

Fortune favors those with street smarts. Never give the person involved in the dispute your name and especially don’t ever hand out a biz card. Many street wannabes think they can persuade someone they are OK by trying to convince them they are legit photo forum camera fondling photog. Well a biz card means nothing nowadays. All you have done is to give the person your contact info so they can track you down and continue the harassment after a conflict erupts.

When Bresson slammed the drunk he didn’t hand out a card and tell him to contact him for a free photo. But that is how things go nowadays with the photo forum street posers.

14 L1002945-6_7_8_fused-4-2-3 mr

If the person is physically prevented you from moving on, then give them what they want to appease them or use force as a last resort to defend yourself. You need to decide which road is best for you. The person could fold up with a little self-defense effort on your part or they could pull a gun or a knife and kill you. There is just no telling what can happen in any given situation. My advice throughout this post is to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Fortune favors those who run away to live another day. If confrontation is not avoidable, then incapacitate the attacker as quickly as possible.

Sometimes you will run into a person whom cannot be satisfied no matter what you do. You can apologize to them and give them whatever they asked for and they still have a hard-on for you and wont give it up. No matter how you try to reason with them it wont cut it. Maybe they have a mental illness or early onset Alzheimer’s…I don’t know, I’m not a mental professional.

The only success I’ve had with these type of people is to do an orderly retreat ASAP. If I stand there and argue and try to reason with them, blood starts to boil – for there is NO reasoning with them.  Don’t get suckered into their sick mind games. Now, in my limited experience with these type of personalities I’ve never known them to be violent, they seem to be all talk. But there are always exceptions to the rule, so keep an eye on them as you move out.

PD 66 Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - C

Infrared flash photo from Piercing Darkness and Gay Bar series.

The other night I was shooting at a group run by lesbian separatists. Lesbian separatists are a militant sect of lesbianism that envision an ideal world composed solely of women with the extinction of men.

One lesbian that did not like me taking pix started pushing me around and was very abusive. As I was leaving, I was surrounded by a group of 5 or 6 lesbians demanding that I delete the photos. First thing I do when confronted is to get my pepper spray or tactical light in hand. For a group like this I forget the light and go straight to the pepper spray.

I knew I had some good material, so I refused to delete a thing. After seeing talking was getting nowhere, I didn’t waste time, I didn’t suck my thumb, I told them the conversation was over and walked away. They followed me verbally harassing me, but it was an all-talk attack with nothing physical. But if things escalated, the hot Tabasco was ready to be served with my other hand fingering my collapsible baton.

Check out the S.C.U.M. manifesto for a taste of lesbian separatism…

I was in my 60’s when I shot all the pix in this post. Sometimes people on the street think they can pick on me just cause I’m old…they are in for a big surprise. These current crop of camera fondlers would shit their pants if they shot where I do. I routinely get threats, gear broken and attacked as normal business.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

But, before the need for self-defense comes to fruition, you have to ask yourself…what caused the conflict in the first place? Was it your lack of skill as a candid photog? Over the years I have refined my skill level for candid photography to a very high degree.

Here are just a few candid shots…


 Staten Island Ferry NYC (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

27 De Wallen Artists' Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.

 Amsterdam (Candid)

Selection from De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The Lost Princess Wheeling, WV (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


Sad Buskers Times Square NYC Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

Selection from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from 'Bikers' Mardi Gras' artists' book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Selection from Biker’s Mardi Gras artist’s book (Candid)

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Beside the lack of skills queation ask yourself is your photo worth that much to have to fight over it? Fortune favors those who are flexible. Sure, you can quote principles and being in the right. But it is like the rules of the road when driving…you may have the right of way, but you don’t demand it if your up against a knucklehead driver.

OK, I’ve done many landmark photo projects. My work is in over 125 museums and curated collections around the world. (See partial listing)

If I have a special pix, I will fight to keep it. Now, if it is a crapper, I’d just delete it to keep the peace. I’m not one to fight for principal, but I will fight for more museum prospects.  But, why should I fight and risk my life over a nothing pix I will just delete anyway?

In your case, ask yourself what are you producing?  Maybe a pix for Flickr of a person walking by a funny sign or someone walking in or out of a shadow with the hope you can get a thumbs up from 2 people on the photo forums? Is it worth dying over?

My advice is…fortune favors those who are realistic. If your photo is not going to win any contests and you see you are dealing with a potential threat or crazy person, just apologize and delete the photos…then walk away as fast as possible. There are plenty of other funny signs and shadows with people walking in them for you to shoot another day. If you don’t like to delete photos to keep the peace, then you had better be ready for a confrontation.

GOTJ project 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Now, if you are a legitimate street photog, altercations should NOT be a big problem for you. You should have developed candid skills by now that allow you to work unseen for the most part.

Candid skills or not, you must prepare for problems, as a threat can arise at any moment out of nowhere. As your walking away from the person that is a potential threat, you keep aware of what is happening behind and all around you. As you walk away, you stay in a public place and you are also getting your self-defense weapons in-hand for quick deployment if needed.

If your weapons are in-hand, you don’t have to worry about a fouled draw. You have also practiced what to do with them under duress. The assailant grabs your shoulder and spins you around…boom there they are ready for deployment. This ‘surprise’ attack should not startle you too much if you have kept aware of your surroundings.

No matter what weapons you have or how highly skilled a fighter you are – the best self-defense is ALWAYS avoidance. You try to avoid the fight at ALL cost. If attack is unavoidable, then you have no other choice but to deploy your weapons or physically fight off the attacker.

On the net it is easy for everyone to be an expert. Well, I’m not going to bullshit you, I am not some big marital artist or self-defense expert. But, early on in my social documentary career I realized physical attacks were an ever present danger. As such, I had to put a little effort in learning how to maintain my safety.

GOTJ 57 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I carry self-defense weapons for defending against an attack or to ward off a theft. I’m in my early 60’s. I got a bad neck and bad back, so I am not one for wresting a guy on the street. I am also at a disadvantage in that many times I have a camera strapped to my wrist and a backpack of photo gear on my back. Irrespective of my age and health issues, if need be, I can snap a neck or bust a head open like a cracked egg with a collapsible baton. That is the beauty of weapons…they are the great equalizer, they add power to the powerless.

Sometimes my backpack may have a lot of expensive gear in it. If I am shooting in dangerous areas, I use 12mp to 16 mp ‘disposable’ cameras and get my pack value down to $500 to $1500. My cheap Pentax bodies start at $150 and 50mm manual lenses at $35. That is about as disposable as I get.

Fortune favors those not dependent on attachments. Luckily for me I am not a anal fanboy of any one brand of cam. I can generally get along with most of the cams out there. That is where my nearly 50 years of experience has paid off.

Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell poo-poos the backpack for photogs. He says the shoulder bag is best. Well, Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell is right…if your shooting macro shots of flowers, your kids birthday party at the park or your latest ‘$50 for a DVD’ maternity gig. Now, look at Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell’s work and look at mine. Do you see any GD similarity at all between the two? Who do you think knows more about street work Ken ‘Know it All’ Rockwell or me?

Isn’t this what you all lust after?

You can take some sandpaper to your Fuji or Leica to age it and then you can look like Indiana Jones ready for his next adventure.

Here is the bottom line…for street work, staying low key and having something secure that wont work against you in a fight…the backpack wins hands down. How would you like an attacker to take your shoulder bag and choke you out with the strap? A thief can pull a shoulder bag off your shoulder in an instant and take off. Getting a backpack off your back is much harder. If they get the pack off your back, maybe then can beat you with it, but at least you wont be choked out with the pack.

I use a Think Tank Street Walker most of the time. For more stealth I use a cheapo Walmart backpack with camera skins for protecting the gear. If you can find a cheap backpack with a waist belt for extra security that is great. No, it is nowhere as convenient as the shoulder bag. But the backpack does allow me to keep my gear and life safe, so that is all that counts.

I also use a large fanny pack for some shoots. In it there is a fast draw knife secreted where it mounts tight against the body. I don’t have to dig for it or open the knife, just reach behind, give it a yank and boom it is there. Same thing with many of my backpacks. Many of them have a fast draw knife secreted in them that can be accessed from the outside. It never hurts to have a backup weapon or two. Never forget…two is one and one is none if you have a malfunction. Fortune always favors the prepared.

Over the years I have had many altercations since I started street photography in 1970.  Just between July 2014 and July 2015  I had 6 or 7 potential fights / threats and attacks that I was able to avoid or quickly fight off. Although this was an unusually high year for trouble. Luckily for me, the worst injury I suffered was a grazing blow from a fist to my tooth. If it had connected squarely, then I would have had a cut lip, loose tooth or worse. But as it was, it only caused a little discomfort for a day or so.

These altercations weren’t  from being caught taking photos of the person attacking me. They were all from walking or standing with a camera in my hand while doing nothing. Some of these attacks came out of nowhere, so you must always be on alert and ready. The other day a drunk wanted to fight me because I didn’t have a beer to give him. The camera can be a magnet for problems in some locals. I try to be as low-key as possible with it, but it is impossible to be perfect at all times with candid work.

But, no matter how big your ego, how swelled up your head is, even the best get caught every so often…

Hen Party Amsterdam Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

One of the problems photogs have with awareness is the tunnel vision many of us experience when doing street or doc work. We are concentrated on a scene or object and oblivious to the rest of our surroundings. Charles Ponzi, the great con-man of last century who gave us the Ponzi Scheme, used to say…”When a man’s mind is concentrated he is blind.” Concentration is a great trait to cultivate for doing candid photography, but it is a detriment to those under attack. I don’t have an answer to the problem except take a break and look around you every so often to keep aware of your world.

Awareness possibly saved my life recently. I was shooting IR flash for my project Piercing Darkness. It was late at night and I saw something happening on the edge of the parking lot. When I went over to see what was happening this is what I recorded…

PD copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - c Homage to Mssrs Weegee & Yoshiyuki copyright 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - c

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

Earlier that night I was almost run over. I don’t know whether the guy was drunk or was just trying to run me over for fun, but the he headed right for me. If I wasn’t paying attention I would have been clipped. Luckily I saw he was coming right at me and I was able to jump out of the way and he barely missed me at the last moment. Fortune favors the alert.

My first line of defense for weaponry is a 200 lumen tactical flashlight. I do a lot of night street photography, so the tactical flashlight is a very important tool for me×1500/knifecenter/surefire/images/SFLX2HAWH.jpg

Surefire make one of the best. The tactical switch is what you want  for self-defense. Surefire’s are very tough and nearly indestructible. Tactical lights can be had for as low as $15 to $30, but when you need it will it be there? Don’t skimp on your self-defense tool if you want to keep fondling your cams for years to come.

Many tactical flashlights incorporate a crenelated bezel also known as a strike bezel that can be used as a weapon itself. The edge of the crenelated bezel is pounded into an attackers temple, eye socket, collarbone, knee or elbow. It can cause a lot of damage. (I know…I’ve had one used on me.) When the edge of the bezel hits skin on bone it splits the skin wide open.

There are some really crazy tactical bezels out there…

These type of bezels may cause a lot of bleeding – blood can carry disease. Extreme bezels could also foul the draw when you wish to deploy your light. They also may pose a legal problem if you ever have to go to court. If you cause a lot of facial disfigurement or blind someone from using such an extreme bezel you may have to answer in court how that is to be considered self-defense? I just stick with Surefire’s minimalistic, classic designed tactical bezels – it gives me the best of both worlds.

Be warned, you strike someone in the eye with your light, you may cause permanent eye damage. If you strike someone in the temple or trachea they may die depending on the force you use. You should only be using deadly force when you are concerned your life is in eminent danger. But, if someone is out to kill or gravely injure you, they must be stopped at once using any means necessary.

For self-defense you want  a minimum of 125 lumens and preferably above. Surefire also makes a 500 lumen model, the E2D Defender Ultra LED. I’m sure the megapizel chasers will be all over it. (Well, until they come out with a 600 lumen model that is.) The ordinary household flashlight is about 10 to 20 lumens. So any way you cut it, tactical lights are way beyond that.

The tactical light is a very useful tool to carry beside self-defense use. If your on a rough road in the dark it lights the path. When going to your car in a dark parking lot it is an outstanding bright light to illuminate the lot. You can see who is lurking in a parking lot or near or in your car before it is too late. It also signals any would-be attacker that you are not going to be easy mark.

One of the ways a tactical light differs from a household flashlight is with beam focus. The tactical light has a highly focused beam, whereas the household light is spread wide. Be careful, some tactical flashlights have a capacitor that needs to be charged up for max output. It is charged by powering up the light then turning it off and repowering it. In a self-defense situation you will not have full power until you go through one ‘on / off / on’ power cycle. You don’t want that, you want on and full power, no games.

The tactical light can also be used as a photo light to shed a little more light on the subject. I lit up this guys butt crack and highlighted the liquid being poured from the bottle.  I could not use the light on high or it would blow out the highlights. But on low power it was just right.

Mike Busey 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The product shot below was done on the fly. I pulled the light out of my pocket, lit it up and boom there it is. As a street photog…that is as anal as I get with studio work!

De Wallen copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Lets get back to self-defense…

If someone is following you and you are threatened, you turn around and light them up. If it is dark outside they will be blinded, startled and cringe away from the light. If they are wearing sunglasses in the dark of night, they may not be as affected. (But anyone wearing dark glasses at night is giving a lot of pre-warning right there that something is wrong with them.) In daylight, the tactical flashlight wont do any good for blinding people unless it is very high lumens.

The big benefit of the tactical flashlight is out of all the weapons discussed in this post, it is the most benign weapon that can be deployed. If you can blind someone and they get the message and they lay off great – you haven’t had to spray pepper in their face or stab them with a sharp object or strike them with your baton. So if it is at all possible, use your flashlight as a first warning shot.

Alertness and Surprise are 2 tools you can benefit from mastering.

After you light them up you yell loudly ‘BACKOFF – GET AWAY’ or ‘WHAT’S THE PROBLEM’ or ‘STOP IT – YOU ARE SCARING ME!’ Keep walking away as you stay aware of what they are doing. Ladies may wish to scream ‘HELP I’M BEING ATTACKED’ and deploy a personal alarm. These loud commands give fair warning to the attacker to lay off and hopefully attract attention from passerby’s to your problem.

If you think a threat is eminent, while the assailant has been blinded by the tactical light, you must be proactive and spray them with pepper spray that is ready to be deployed in your other hand. Blinding light then hot pepper gas…a one two punch.  A second or two after the pepper takes effect, you gas them again so they can’t catch a breath. Then start running and get as far away as you can.

You have a strong hand and a weak hand, you decide which hand gets which weapon. I try to practice weapons use in both hands. My weak hand is not as good as the strong hand. But with practice, my weak hand is much better than it would be without practice.

The reason you need to determine which weapon goes in which hand is; if you plan on following up the one – two punch with number three, four and five, make the most of the weapon by putting it in your strongest striking hand. After you light up and spray the assailant, you follow up with a hit from the crenelated bezel of the tactical flashlight…then a kick to the balls…then a knee to the face or a hammer fist to the back of the skull as they bow over from having their testicles juiced. Work the assailant high and low, high and low.

A good tactic for tactical light and pepper spray use is to always sidestep his line of approach after they are temporarily blinded from the light and gas. This way the attacker is disoriented as to where your current position is. Once the attacker is stopped, get far away from the attacker.

I usually wear cargo pants and sometimes a hoody, so I have many pockets to carry weapons. You can also get snap-out belt holsters for your light, spray or baton. I sometimes pack 2 pepper sprays…large 2 oz or 4 oz sizes. (In NJ you can only have 3/4 oz sprays, so know your local laws.) You don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

The bottom of a pepper spray can will make an improvised weapon – you bang the bottom edge of the can into the assailants temple or eye socket…hard! Another use is as a breakaway aid. If the assailant has grabbed your shirt, you come down hard with the edge of the can on their forearm repeatedly until they let go. Then step back and gas them.

If things escalate and you see them start for their pockets, tell them STOP…TAKE YOUR HANDS OUT OF YOUR POCKET. Don’t warn them again if they don’t comply, you act immediately.  Only you can decide what self-defense measure you will employ next to incapacitate them. But, once the attacker gets whatever they have in their pocket out…it will be too late and too bad for you.

In this situation you just can’t afford to wait and find out. Mistakes can happen, they may be reaching for Kleenex or a asthma inhaler. Do you really want to kill someone over a sheet of Kleenex? Yet that is what proper self-defense dictates in such a scenario. On the other hand they could pull out a knife or gun.

If the attacker proves to be unarmed and you use a weapon against an unarmed person…guess what? Your the criminal in the eyes of the law and good chance your going to jail. Do you see why I tell you to avoid conflict if at all possible?

29Whoop-Whoop 43 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In recent times there have been numerous reports of criminals and attackers using pepper spray on the victims. Awareness is your only defense. If you see someone approaching you with something in their hand it all may revolve around who has the fastest draw.

Here is my experience with pepper sprays…

Cone spray is my first choice of pepper sprays. Stream / Gel / Foam spray can be defeated if the assailant moves out of the line of fire or covers up the area with a hat or cloth. The cone spray is all encompassing and pretty well atomized. No escaping it if you are in the large sphere of influence of the gas.

Cone spray can also be sprayed behind you if someone is following you. Be low key about it, but give them a whiff of gas…maybe they will get the message. Stream /gel  / foam spray requires a direct hit. Cone spray is like a scatter is amazing stuff and just needs to get near them.

Stream / gel / foam spray seem to run out quicker than cone spray. This may be due to the fact that your spraying large amounts of product trying to find the face of your attackers. Whereas cone spray atomizes the product into a large area and make it effective by just being in the general vicinity. Even though stream / gel / foam spray may be near the attackers head, it will still not have any effect unless it is a direct hit. So as the old saying goes – “when it comes to a miss, an inch is as good as a mile…close only counts in horseshoes!”

There is a shortcoming to cone spray. Since it has such a large sphere of influence, whenever I have deployed it I get some blowback. With stream / gel / foam spray, you seldom get any blowback unless you are very close. There is no perfect solution to irritant dispersal systems. I suggest you thoroughly test out the various options before your life depends on their use.

I don’t advise you use the little pink or black mini sprays except as a last resort. Many of them only contain 1/3 to 1/2 oz of product.  2 oz spray is the minimum size for self-defense. What would happen if your in a bar and you need to clear a path to the door that is being blocked by a guy and a few of his friends? You going to do it with a puny 1/2 oz. spray and then run out of product in the middle of the job?

Always read the labels, don’t go by looks. Some larger sized cans that are the exact same size of a 2 oz can only contain 1.25 to 1.5 oz of product.

The compact, little cutsie sprays can be next to useless for multiple deployments or extended range. Don’t bet your life on toys like the little lipstick sprays they market to women. You may have to deploy the spray repeatedly – the mini sprays generally have poor range and have very poor capacity for multiple deployments. When it comes to you life, forget fashion for a moment ladies and use serious equipment. You don’t want to lose your life over not having one more spray of gas that you didn’t have in your pink cutsie toy spray.

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Infrared flash photo – Hollywood, CA

From Women are Beautiful – Beyond Snapshot Aesthetics artist’s book

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Even after all I have said against the little cutsie / pocket sprays …they can come in handy if you need to spray someone right next to you. Most of these sprays don’t have much power. So they may be the best tool for the job if the attacker is right next to you and you are worried about backsplash. But you will have to test them all out for yourself….fortune favors those that test…test…test!

Fortune favors those with a shield. If you can get to your car, you may be able to put a shield between you and your attacker. Within your car you should always have a 3 to 4 oz can of pepper spray handy.  If someone threatens you coming through the window you can gas them and drive off.  If you can’t get to your car, duck into a business for a shield and yell for Help I’m being attacked! and to call the police.

Reinbeau copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

When you deploy pepper spray in CQC you should be using foam or gel spray. You can see in the photo you will get lots of blowback if you use cone spray. Actually, no matter what you use you will get lots of blowback with someone sticking their head in your car window. try to give them a face smash and spray when they are a few feet out of the window. There is no reason not to have foam and cone sprays in the car so you are covered for CQC or long distance use. The thing is to mark ‘which is which’ if the cans look alike and try to store them in different areas of the car. You don’t want to grab your spray to stop an attacker 10 feet away and have foam dribble out 3 feet away.

There is a big problem when using certain foam sprays. Some brands give you a shaving cream consistency that is not too powerful, which is what you want for CQC. Other brands I’ve tested shoot out foam like buckshot having an explosive range of up to 15 feet. If you try to use these explosive foam sprays in CQC you will have it backsplash all over you. If you fear backsplash, try to guard your eyes and face with an open hand.

Fortune favors the knowledgeable. Test your sprays. I’ve used many, many sprays over the years and can tell you some are excellent and some are garbage. The spray pattern may be poor, range could be poor, and some dribble out and get your hand all full of spray after you use it.

Some foam pepper spray is only good for CQC, I use it if I have to deploy inside a car or house. The right foam to look for is the one that shoots the pepper foam out with a little more force than a shaving cream can with a 3 to 4 foot effective range. If you use the wrong pepper foam it shoots out too powerful for CQC and will get all over you. If you ever deploy cone pepper spray inside your house it can spread 15 to 20 feet into an adjoining room, not to mention the blowback you will receive being near the sphere of influence.

This spray takes some practice to get both buttons working in sequence for deployment.  Why get a complex design that you may have trouble with when under pressure?

Look for high potency sprays. Sometimes pepper spray is made with less heat for general crowd control. You want the maximum available heat for a self-defense spray. Civilian and Law Enforcement Pepper sprays range from 0.18% to 1.33% Major Capsaicinoids. Bear Sprays range from 1.0% to 2.0% Major Capsaicinoids.

Pepper spray can kill someone with asthma or a respiratory illness. Pepper spray is not a toy. Check your local laws. NJ / NY have tough laws, you can’t have a spray bigger than 3/4 oz and it must be a diluted formula. Pepper spray is as about a humane a deterrent as you can get for 95% of the people. (The old East Germans had a tear gas that would eat the enamel off you teeth…that is some potent gas!) In an emergency I’ve read people have used Deep Heat spray, women’s hair spray, DEET bug spray, brake cleaning spray and wasp spray as a deterrent. But most of these sprays are pretty big cans and vary in effectiveness and liability.

If you want a fast cleanup spray and one that the assailant can recover from more quickly, go with water based pepper spray. The most painful and long lasting pepper spray is petroleum based. Even if you wash out the eyes, the oils hold the irritants in place. While it is devastating stuff, you don’t want to use it in your car or house.

Here is the test I use to test the potency of petroleum based pepper spray.


I don’t advise you to do this test.  Don’t blame me, I am not responsible for adverse reactions you may have from this test.

I spray a little pepper out of the can. Usually a dab of pepper liquid is left on the nozzle. I rub my finger on the nozzle getting pepper liquid on it. Then I wash my hands with soap and water. I dry my hands then I rub my finger that touched the liquid around my eye. If I have a potent spray, my eye will start burning like hell in short order. I flush my eye out with water until the burning subsides. This test is meant for petroleum based pepper sprays. With water based sprays the effect will be less.

I’ve tested pepper spray that was almost 10 years past the expire date. It still was plenty potent and had OK range, But it had lost some of the pressure that it originally had. (I save my retired sprays to use as trainers or to see just how long they last.) Don’t fall for the lie to change your pepper spray every year, it is bullshit. Buy a sample spray, test it then buy more of that lot number. Just like we did in the old film days with lots numbers of film.


Another thing to be concerned with sprays is angle of deployment. I’ve had some sprays that wont work in certain positions. All you get is propellant with very little or nil pepper. Spend some money and buy some sprays to test thoroughly. You camera fondlers out there that spend thousands of $$ for your photo toys, can’t you spend $30 or $40 to buy and test various sprays on the market so you can have confidence in your self defense weapons?

With regards to impact weapons, a collapsible baton is a good self-defense weapon…if you know how to use it. If you don’t know what your doing, your assailant may take it from you and beat the shit out of you with it. The collapsible baton can also be deployed as a defense tool without extending it, similar in use to an oversize kubaton.

If your in NJ, NY  or CA, collapsible batons are not legal. Check out your state for the law. But you can substitute this:

The monopod will do lots of damage. Esp the spike…so be careful. I take strap  off of mine and crank it down tight so it wont come loose during deployment. I seldom use it for photos,  I use it for protection in the states where criminals have more rights that law abiding citizens. If you really want to keep it tight, Loctite it. Others may wish to leave the strap on and use it as a keeper or even as a leverage tool to swing the monopod from the wrist similar to a nunchucka.

Laws  vary so much, but in general it is illegal to use a weapon against an unarmed person. So, if a drunk takes a swing at you it is illegal to even hit him in the leg with a baton or similar bludgeon. The laws don’t seem to take into account being attacked by multiple opponents or take age into account. All this would have to be settled in court…again TRY TO AVOID PROBLEMS is the best advice.

Auto lock and friction batons both have their benefits. You study up types and how to use them. Auto lock batons are on average 2 inches longer than friction batons of the same lengths due to the auto lock mechanism. Auto lock batons are generally harder to open  than friction batons.  A 21 inch baton is a great EDC size. In my opinion, 26 inches is too long for plainclothes without a holster. If you find yourself in CBC, 26 inches can get hung up on obstructions.  I don’t advise to go below 16 inches if you can help it.

The super cheap batons may look good when you handle one, but once you hit something hard they bend and wont close. Although even the more expensive models can bend. The push button baton that shoots out the front is crap…a camera fondlers delight. The mini baton, the size of a kubaton, is also not very useful.

Some of the auto lock batons do not lock securely on the first deployment. It reminds me of the tactical flashlight I talked about above that needs the capacitor charged from cycling on and off before it can reach full power. The auto lock batons (ASP & Monadnock) exhibiting this phenomena require a secondary snap to engage the lock fully. In an emergency you may not remember to give it a second snap and it can close during deployment. Always test your gear in real life scenarios before trusting it to save your life.

Friction lock batons also have a problem when it comes to their locking mechanism. A friction lock baton may close unexpectedly if you hit it a few time up against something hard like a stick or metal pipe. I don’t think it will come unlocked just from hitting a person, but be aware of this problem. Once they are truly locked, an auto lock baton will generally stay locked securely, until you press the closure release.

Aluminum ASP Airweight batons are very comfortable to carry, but they tend to bend more than steel batons and can be harder to open do to less inertia from their low weight design. You can adjust the tension spring in the base cap to make it easier to open. But, too much bending for adjustment can cause an early failure and spring breakage. Just as you get a trigger job for your gun to make the pull smooth and lighter, so you do with your batons. With proper adjustment, the deployment of an aluminum baton can be comparable to a steel baton.

Beside being harder to open, aluminum batons also seem harder to close than steel batons. As far as I know, nothing can be done about that. If you hit something hard with an aluminum baton you will feel it in your wrist and hand more so than a heavyweight steel baton. Just like the S&W Airweight snubby gives off more recoil due to its lightweight design.

Even with all their drawbacks, I favor airweight batons for EDC when it is shorts season in the summer. If I deploy one and it bends I will just buy another one. It is the price one pays for insurance to stay alive on the street. If I had a baton that weighed too much I will end up not carrying it as I should. So what good would a heavyweight baton that may not bend do me if I leave it at home? The little ASP 16 inch Airweight weighs 7.5 ounces. That is next to nothing to carry – my keys weigh 4.5 ounces. BTW…the ASP 21 Airweight does a lot better opening than the 16 inch ASP.

For fall / winter use, when I wear hoodies and long cargo pants I go with steel batons. Steel batons are also my first choice for my car. They open easy and have great impact feel as compared to the hollow feeling aluminum batons that can twist your wrist from the top heavy feel when you hit something hard.

Peacekeeper batons are the ‘Rolls Royce’ of collapsible batons. There only drawback, beside being very expensive, is Peacekeepers are also very heavy. Just for comparison, an ASP 21 inch Airweight baton weighs 9 oz. An ASP 21 inch steel baton weighs 16.5 ounces and a 21 inch Peacekeeper weighs 22.5 oz. The Peacekeeper is a great choice for durability and striking power if you have a holster. But for  plainclothes use in your pocket, the Peacekeeper is way to heavy. In any case, if your a true blue camera fondler and pixel peeper, I’m sure you will give the Peacekeeper a go…just so you can say…I have the best!

Be sure you keep your baton in line with your strong hand that will use it. A clean and fast draw is important. It is also good to practice opening and using the baton with your less dominate hand. If something puts your dominate hand out of commission, where is your back up? Again, check your local laws regarding batons. Be careful, if you hit someone hard in the head or neck you can kill them.

1,2,3,4,5…fortune favors the fast. When your life is at stake you must meet a serious attack with enough force for it to be stopped…quickly and permanently.  A good practice drill is to use a heavy bag or dummy to beat on with your sticks or baton. But, you just don’t beat randomly on it. You practice specific hitting pattern drills to develop power and speed. The other benefit is, this training conditions your wrists and hands for using impact weapons.

As fast as you can read 1,2,3,4,5 is how long it should take you to deliver 5 powerful blows with your baton to the attacker. You really need hands-on training, you wont develop skills by reading a book about it, anymore than you can learn to skateboard by reading a book. But what is of foundational importance to all stick and impact fighting methods is to develop power from short, direct hits – not long wind ups.

When you use an impact weapon you don’t want to do a big wind up like your hitting a baseball and telegraph your intent. The assailant may strike first or block you if you give them time to see what you are doing. Let me give you an example. If someone is coming at you with a knife, you have your pepper spray in your weak hand and can gas them. As they take a pause to refresh, you slam you baton into their wrist with the knife in it.

Hopefully they drop the knife. In any case you don’t wait to see, from the wrist hit, you immediately strike your baton into their face, then a fast snap to the other side of their head or neck area. Then it is a blow to the side of their knee with a direct arch from the previous neck blow. As they bend over another strike to their head or back of neck. As I said, 1,2,3,4,5 should be how long it takes to deliver 5 devastating blows to the attacker. Each blow flows from the previous blow. (Don’t forget you can also use the butt of your baton as a strike weapon.)

Some training use 12 preplanned baton blows to practice. I dunno, I got a pea brain and 5 blows is enough or me to remember. Moreover, even if you got a genius brain, do you really think an assailant will stay put for you to complete your circuit of 12+ pre-planned blows in the exact order you have practiced them? The benefit of a 12 blow practice session I that it familiarizes you with delivering blows and blocking attacks from numerous angles. Like all things, there are pros and cons to everything.

A good technique to practice with your baton for CQC is the piston motion strike. It is similar to the old steam locomotive action where the main connecting rod moves up and down as it moved the wheel around. All the action is in a linear motion. So it goes with your piston strikes –  it is an in-out motion that does not involve wide swinging.

With your striking hand you piston whip the attacker with the baton and with the other hand you palm smash him in the face as you advance. Once you are clear of obstacles, you can swing a little wider for working them high and low. Whenever you strike with your baton you want to envision going through the object, not just hitting it. for instance, if you going after a knee you want to do it like your chopping through a piece of wood…look beyond the knee as your target and take it out.

Another good training method for developing dynamic skills is to have a training partner throw a medicine ball at you. You strike it with the baton and also a palm strike. Once the ball hits the ground, follow up with an attack to the ball as if it was your assailants head. Your eventual goal should be to get 2 baton strikes, as well as a palm strike, to the ball while it is still in the air.

Keep in mind the importance of training for consistency and efficiency in movement. The foundation of your movements should be deliberate and to the point. This not only goes for using firearms or your baton but also when it comes to street photography.

A good training tool  for baton, fist or knife fighting is to train by the combat clock system. You practice hits and blocks as a partner yells clock time as the guide…1 o’ clock, 7 o’clock, 11 o’clock. This is a very good way of practicing techniques for various angles of attack and defense. If an attack is happening so fast you don’t feel you have time to deploy the baton and make a  strike. The opening and strike can be in one motion. As the batons snaps open it hits the attacker at the same time.

Inevitably you will get the bleeding hearts that worry about hurting the attacker ‘too much.’

A few words on the subject from Jeff Cooper on consideration. (Quote condensed)

“Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause deserves no consideration. We are fully justified in valuing the life and person of the intended victim more highly than the life of the pernicious assailant. The attacked must be stopped – at once and completely. An armed man is dangerous as long as he is conscious. Take no chances – put him out. When your life is in danger and under lethal attack don’t be kind – Be harsh – Be tough – Be ruthless.’

5Whoop-Whoop 1 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

If the attacker persists in following you after you have lit them up and gassed them, a Class IV weapons laser (with a tactical switch as opposed to a key switch.) has been used as a self-defense weapon, especially for long range defense. You can light up a threat from a hundred yards away and blind them. (Check your local laws.) It fits in the palm of your hand and is smaller than a tactical flashlight.


Class IV lasers can cause permanent eye damage – I don’t advise you to use a Class IV laser or any laser for self-defense. Always remove the batteries before you work on any laser.

Some of you may wish to just carry a gun. If you do decide on carrying, make sure you use self-defense ammunition and are licensed for your state with a CCW. Every state is different pertaining to the CCW laws. For instance, in some states the concealed weapon must be holstered. Other states don’t require a holster, just drop the gun in your pocket. Laws change all the time, so you keep abreast of the current laws in your local.

The hallmark of good stopping power for self-defense needs is expansion. There are many good choices out there. I generally go with Hornady  hollow points.

Hornady also makes Critical Defense ammo. Mushroom tests vary, but they all have good penetration . Some of the Winchester hollow points really mushroom, maybe even a little too much, as penetration is on the low side. You test out all the ammo brands yourself, don’t reply on me or anyone else when it comes to your life. I’m just putting out a few brands I tested. Fortune favors the responsible person.

A new development with defense ammo is the ARX Devastator.

ARX Devastator

It is a composite bullet that corkscrews into the body creating a hydrostatic explosion within the tissue.


If you put a round into someone’s eye socket it will blow the back of their head open. A really destructive round in 9mm+P.

For short barrel wheel guns (snubs) I use 38.Special or possible some +P 38’s. The .357 mag is too uncomfortable for me to shoot in 2 inch barrel, lightweight guns. Just one shot of .357 in a snub and my hand is sore.

The .380 or 9mm Browning short is OK, but lesser so than the more potent 9mm. . The .25 is a toy, .22 Stinger is better than a .25, just  Forget all these puny calibers unless it is a last resort. If you do find your life resting on a .25 or .22, they do the best job when placed in an eye or an ear. But we are talking about life and death here, generally not arguments over a photo. Isn’t it sad we have to worry about all this when all we want to do is press the GD button and freeze time? But that is our world. Fortune favors those that accept reality.

 The tradeoff is if you want great penetration it requires more of an armor piercing nature of a full metal jacket with low expansion of the bullet. This may cause problems with the bullet exiting the body cleaning doing less damage to the assailant, offering less stopping power and hitting innocent bystanders.

No matter what ammo you choose, always shoot a box before trusting your life to it. Some autos are fussy and will jam with a certain brand of ammo. A good torture test for an auto is to load 4 or 5 brands of ammo alternating brands for every shot. If the gun fires the magazine of mixed brands of ammo…it passes.

Although nothing replaces live fire, an excellent training tool for home use is the laser cartridge.


You can get them for autos or wheel guns. When the trigger is pulled, they shoot an intermittent red laser dot where the gun is aimed. Highly recommend them. As a safety precaution always inspect the gun is not loaded with live ammo prior to pulling the trigger at EVERY session. Keep ALL live ammo out of the room you are laser training in. NEVER point the gun at anything you don’t wish to shoot.

When in a life or death situation it usually unfolds a few feet from you. So sight picture does not come into play. If you stick you hand out and try to get a sight picture, like a camera fondler like Kim would do, you assailant will grab your gun. Having skills for shooting from the hip  or ‘point shooting’ with your gun is important. Here is the correct defense for CQC when there is no time nor distance between your life and the attacker.


Some autos may jam if you ram the gun into the assailant. The slide may come out of battery. A revolver can be rammed into the body and let loose without any problem. You will also benefit from the gas that comes out of the barrel. The gas can be very destructive just on its own.

If you using a snubnose, you will have to test it in similar circumstances where it may be used. For instance, if you have to shoot your weapon indoors, in the dark with no ear protection,  you could be night-blind from the muzzle flash and deaf for a long time from  a .357 mag round in your snubby. Not to mention the trouble you may have actually hitting your target with the magnum recoil.

When doing penetration and mushroom tests always shoot through a few layers of clothes, heavy winter jacket if your testing low powered guns. You may think that is kinda anal shooting through clothes, but the gun below, shooting .22 magnums, will only penetrate a few inches of newspaper  with no clothes. So make sure any low power gun you use will still penetrate decently in the real world where you plan to use it. If your unsure, just go with full metal jacket if you want maximum penetration.

Without ear protection, you may be deaf for some time from the massive report of a magnum in a snubby. You may want to compare how many good hits you get from your snubby when you go with .38 Special instead of the .357 mag. Even though the .357 mag is a superior round to the .38 Special. The .357 mag does not do you any good if your night-blind, deaf, disoriented  and your hand is sore and bruised. after the first shot.

If your a lady and having trouble operating the slide on an automatic or you have trouble with the heavy trigger pull on a revolver…check out Ruger’s line of LCR snubs.

They are lightweight and have an easy trigger pull. If the .38 special is a little too much for you to handle, look into the Ruger LCR .327 mag. But, load it with .32 H&R mag loads, as the .327 mag is a very hot round to shoot out of the little gun.

The beauty of the Ruger LCR .32 mag is it takes 6 rounds versus the 5 rounds your average .38 snub holds. But, you try all avenues to see what works best for you. If you like shooting the .327 mag out of the little LCR, then go for it.

But, be advised that some of the LCR’s have reliability problems. If you want the best for reliability it is Smith and Wesson in my opinion. Here is a brand new .327 Ruger LCR right out of the box with a trigger that jams.

Defective guns aren’t limited to wheel guns. I purchased a brand new Glock 42 in .380 caliber. Even when trying 5 types of .380 ammo, the Glock 42 would consistently jam.

Hammerless snubs can be fired right out of the coat pocket. Yes, shoot through your clothes if it is urgent enough. Autos and revolvers with hammers may get jammed up if you try to shoot them while they  are in your pocket. My fav way to carry is with a un-holstered snub in my hoody pocket. I can shoot right through the pocket with no draw delay. My hand is resting on the weapon and the gun can be pointed at the attacker without them even being aware of their fate if things demand deadly force.

Just like we have pixel peepers that only will accept the biggest and most powerful sensor, so we have the same type of person in the gun world. They will tell you .32 H&R mag is underpowered. But the bottom line is; people have been killed by the puny .22 LR and 6 rounds of .32 mag in a person is going to do a good deal of damage. Esp if you get one in the ear or eye…that usually seals the deal.

If your going to compare the .32 H&R mag to a .44 mag, it is way underpowered. If you compare the .32 H&R mag to a .25 auto, .22 L.R or .22 mag…it has much more power. So just depends on what we are comparing it to.

Here is a size comparison of the 38 Special, .32 H&R mag and .22 Long Rifle Stinger cartridges.

If you do settle on a .327 / .32 H&R magnum, you can also use the .32 H&R mag +P for something recoil wise in between the original .32 H&R mag and the .327 mag.

Besides carrying guns concealed, I also have one in my car (shield). I try to have 1 or 2 guns ready for action at all times. But for street photos, I also have other options than just brandishing / shooting the gun or cutting someone up with a knife over a photo dispute.

When it comes to knives, they should be used for defense against deadly force being used against you. For general self-defense, I don’t want to have to get that close to someone to start cutting their arteries and tendons as combat knife fighting training advises. Although if I am going to work in dangerous areas I do carry a knife & gun in addition to the rest of my self-defense weapons.

You should use the least amount of force necessary to put down the attack. You must always keep in mind you may have to answer for your actions. When you go to court what will you say? I took his photo and he didn’t like it so I killed him with my gun. I took his photo and he said something threatening so I slit his throat. You can see where the gun and knife will end up.

Of course, if you beat someone to death with a collapsible baton you wont be looked upon much different. If you have to use force to defeat an attack, it must be measured and proportionate. Don’t go for revenge, just use enough force to stop the attack. If you put the attacker down don’t be tempted to give the assailant a lecture while they are on the ground. Let Kim stand there and suck his thumb…YOU get the hell out of there.

If you ever find yourself in a chokehold with your back to your assailant on the ground with his legs wrapped around you…one of these can save your life.

It is very hard to extricate yourself from this type of situation unless you got something sharp to slice and flay their choke arm wide open or stab them in the leg with. Your tactical pen may be of use. But in such a dangerous predicament, I’d want the best tool for the job and the knife wins over the pen.

If you do decide to carry a tactical folder, Benchmade makes some of the best folders, assisted opening folders and fully automatic knives in their price range. Check you local laws…in some locals they are ALL illegal. Sometimes I will use an automatic knife, but mostly I’ve settled on assisted opening models depending on the local laws of where I am shooting.

An important part of any self defense-weapon deployment is to be familiar with your weapon. This may sound basic, but with the camera fondling personalities that make up today’s photo world it is not. You know, fondling gear for pleasure, versus actually using it, is  not a monopolized by camera devotees. They have flashlight fondlers, knife fondlers, gun fondlers and down the line.

With knives there are all sort of slick opening mechanisms nowadays. They make some very sexy ‘out the front’ knives, but they tend to need lots of cleaning and prove unreliable with spring problems.

Emerson makes a wave opening mechanism knife. I don’t use it, but some people love the design.

Benchmade makes a DUO model that looks like a normal, manual opening knife with a blade stud. When you push very hard on the axis closing button it turns into an automatic (switchblade) knife.

Right away this stealthy, dual opening knife would seem to appeal to the camera fondler. (Hell, it would appeal to me too!) But, the problem with this knife for self-defense is twofold.

1) It does not auto open in ALL positions. Benchmade does not tell you this, you have to learn for yourself by testing. If things are not just right with the geometry it jams 1/3 open. While your life is slipping away before your eyes, your slick switchblade will turn into a useless limp biscuit if things are not just right.

2) This knife is very close in design to Benchmade assisted opening knives.  It is so close in design that you can’t know which one you have in your hand just by feel or even looking at it unless your a knife geek. Therefore you may confuse which knife you do have in an emergency if you change knives like people change shoes or the proverbial camera fondler changes cameras. You could be getting choked out as you keep pushing on what should be the auto-opening switch only to remember too late your knife is not the duo auto model.

This same continuity and familiarity with your self-defense weapons should be carried down the line in with all your gear…sprays, lights, batons, etc. Pepper sprays have all sorts of safety mechanisms. Almost all of my sprays are the same flip lock safeties for continuity and easy of use.

12Whoop-Whoop 38 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Good old basic, dirty street fighting may help you in an emergency. If an attacker would grab you in a bear hug from the front, head butt them in the nose and face with your forehead, get your arms loose, grab their ears for leverage and bite into their nose like a fat kid eats pizza. Then dig your fingernails in their eye sockets while you knee them in the coconuts. Once you are loose, put your self-defense weapons into deployment. A dose of pepper spray and putting the assailant down with the collapsible baton will finish them off. Fortune favors the ruthless.

Hopefully you won’t let them get so close to you to start with, but we all get blindsided once in a while. If you get a bear hug from behind, head butt them with the back of your head, stomp their feet and swivel your hips to the side while you deliver a series of fast, hard blows to their privates with hammer fist strike. Even if your caught firmly on the upper torso in the hug, you can generally still swivel your hips to one side or the other.

If you are being hugged around the waist and can’t swivel your hips then try this. Grab a finger on their hand and pull it back. Generally this breaks the lock. If they don’t let go snap the finger, then start on finger #2 and snap it. Once the lock is broken then turn around and deliver some of your weaponry.

If you have been lax in carrying self-defense weapons, a palm strike to the face, eye gouges, knees to the balls are some good options. Whether you are using a weapon or your hand, you reaction to any attack should be explosive and violent. If you put in a half-ass effort your attacker will know you will be a pushover.

Get some training in the hand-to-hand area. You need real life practice. There are just too many scenarios to train for. What training does is to make your reply to any attack second nature. Practice full contact, full power with someone wearing protection. Don’t just play patty-cakes. The general rule is; you will fight like you train, so put some purpose and effort in the training. Even if you never have a need for it, martial arts training helps keeps you in shape. You should be doing proper training and conditioning in a number of areas.

If you have to resort to hand-to-hand fighting because you don’t have any self -defense weapons, don’t forget you have many options for strikes. You are not limited to just punches. You have your knees, elbows, foot stomps, forearms and a number of hand strikes such as knife hand, hammer fist, open palm and the devastating eye gouging and raking. I don’t care how big someone is…you fudge up their eyesight or windpipe and they are finished. They will forget about you pretty quick and work on trying to see and breath again.

If your not flexible and used to throwing high elbows to the rear or using an overhead hammer fist, you may pinch up from the exertion. Fortune favors the flexible, favors the aerobically fit,  fortune favors the speedy, fortune favors the coordinated, fortune favors agility and fortune favors those dedicated to strength training. These areas of fortune all make up a balanced foundation for any good self-defense program because all things being equal…fortune favors the strong.

Fortune also favors the protected. I’ve experienced lots of bodily abuse while shooting. Depending on the project, many times I will wear protection while shooting. I wear prescription eyeglasses and wear eyeglass keepers or Rec-Specs. There have been a number of times they came in handy and kept my glasses from being knocked off my face.  On some projects a cup may be welcome insurance, so think about protecting your entire body.

Shins can get kicked, toes trampled on, stuff thrown in your face.  I got an eye infection one time from having some paint splashed on my face. Someone threw a beer bottle at me and hit me in the head. Last month one of my toes was injured and shin was cut up from someone stomping on my foot and kicking me. I wished I had my steel toe boots and shin protectors for that shoot, but skipped wearing them. (Who wants to wear that heavy gear in hot July weather….so I paid the price.) I keep my hair about crew-cut length. I don’t want my hair being used against me in a  fight.

21Whoop-Whoop 21 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Since  I brought up training, realize that training in a number of self-defense areas can pay off even if you don’t plan on using that exact method yourself. For instance, even if you don’t plan on using a knife you can learn how to defend against a knife by learning how to attack with a knife. Same thing with a baton / stick.

A tactical pen is another small device that may come in handy in an emergency. It would be weapon of last resort for me, but it will do the job if jammed in an attacker’s eye or ear. The whole point of this post is to give you options. You never want to be in the position of having to depend on one self-defense weapon and not have any other options.

What would happen if all you carried was one small can of pepper spray and it malfunctions due to the fact that someone played a joke on you and emptied the contents? Well, if you have a baton you bring it to bear or your tactical flashlight.

While the pen shown above is slick, it is useless if all you have is one hand free. The pen above would appeal to the camera fondler. They are more concerned with looks that use. You need 2 hands to unscrew the cap to deploy the sharp part, so the design is flawed for serious self-defense use.. In addition, the sharp part is weak as it is the pen’s writing tip. What you want is a double tipped pen like this.

Even when closed the pen is deployable. It also has a dedicated sharp tip that is not as fragile as a pen tip. When you use a tactical pen you want to strike repeatedly, hard and fast like your using an ice pick.

Pain compliant tools such as kubaton, a sharpie pen or electric shock are also an option. I don’t use them. Most of these, (other than the Taser) require you maintain constant contact with the assailant. “I don’t want to do things with the assailant…I want to do things to the assailant.” ~ K.M.

Selection BMG 2 copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Selection BMG copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr Selection BMG 3 copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

As I said above, there are all types of laws around the world, so you study them up. To show you how self-defense laws vary with local, the poor, defenseless U.K. residents have to use sharp pencils, WD-40 and a coin purse that can be used as a ‘sap’ or coin ‘blackjack’ for self-defense. No pepper spray, no lasers, no collapsible batons, no self defense knives. The criminals have more rights in the U.K. than the law abiding citizen it seems.

We may look at the poor U.K.’ers self-defense efforts with amusement with all the freedom we have in the US of A. But, you wont be amused if they jam a pencil deep into your muscle tissue and break it off. The UK’ers are very creative with their improvised self-defense weapons. Even so, if you have to break the law to save your life – it may be better to be ‘judged by 12 than to be carried by 6′ as we say in the US of A. But only YOU can decide what is best for YOU, no one else can.

If you are in a local that outlaws pepper spray this is a decent option for something compact and offers a cone pattern and usable range.,500

No matter what self-defense weapons you are carrying, try to stay consistent with their location. In a stressful emergency you don’t want to be hunting for the weapon…you want it at your fingertips. Fortune favors the organized.




I’m not telling you to disarm an attacker that is holding a gun to your head or a knife to your throat with your flashlight. Yet, that is exactly what the expert can and will do…with their bare hands. But, it takes skill and a degree of luck. Frank Doorhof tells us…sometimes you can force luck. I tell you that you can help force luck by preparedness and training.

Fortune favors the bold…

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

The bold street photog does best – not the timid one that is scared of their shadow. Although if you have great stealth techniques, then it does not matter either way.

From an interview of Clint Eastwood…the Pussy Generation…

We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody’s become used to saying, “Well, how do we handle it psychologically?” In those days, you just punched the bully back and duked it out. Even if the guy was older and could push you around, at least you were respected for fighting back, and you’d be left alone from then on….I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.

….you gotta love Clint!

In any case, you want freezing time to be fun. Use your head when street shooting. Dress plainly and subdued so you don’t stand out.Leave flashy jewelry at home, you don’t need to advertise ”rob me!” (I wear no jewelry, only a cheap watch.)  For street photography, fortune favors a low profile and those who develop a good technique for candid ‘sneak’ photography.

If you are caught shooting a person and they come up to you and ask for a few bucks, just give them something. You took something from them…they helped you out being your model…now you help them out. If they ask for $, don’t offer to email them a pix of themselves. That is not what they want. If you don’t want to pay, apologize and offer to delete out of courtesy to them.

A gal in Hollywood died over this exact same scenario I am telling you here. She took a pix, refused to pay a $1 tip and got stabbed to death. (I read elsewhere she may have mouthed off and the argument escalated. Don’t add fuel to the fire, delete, apologize, be courteous and keep your mouth shut. Beside guns and knives, ‘mouths’ are another big killer of people.)

Eric Kim talks about becoming a fearless street photog. That is stupidity at its highest. Always remember…no one’s head is bullet proof. Only idiots are fearless, for when your fearless you think you are impervious to death. Fortune favors those that are not idiots.

When on the road shooting I seldom stay in a hotels…I can’t afford it. I boondock in my vehicle at rest stops, motel parking lots, casino parking lots, truck stops, hospitals or anywhere I think it is safe ‘enough’ to park overnight. So I am especially aware of self-defense concerns while boondocking.


Jersey City campsite when I shoot in NYC…$55 a day for a parking spot for your tent or $65 a day to sleep in your vehicle.

If all this talk is making you feel squeamish about street photography, then don’t do street photography. Every time I head out on the street I am situationally aware and armed for self-defense. And it does not matter if I have a cam with me or not. In your case, no one is going to force you to shoot street. If your uneasy about street photography, shoot flowers, shoot sunsets, slap a sunglass filter on your lens and shoot smoky water or cutsie dogs and cats, star trails, burning steel wool or whatever you feel comfortable and safe shooting. Or do the watered down ‘Eric Kim brand of street photography’ where you ask permission and shoot 80 photos of the same subject while they strike different poses for you.

PD Project Daniel D. Teoli Jr. G300 mr

Infrared flash photograph from Piercing Darkness project.

Always remember…photography is not worth losing your life or anyone else’s life over. Be prepared, be smart and always try your best to walk away from any conflict before things get out of control.


I don’t recommend you deploy any of the weapons or tactics I discuss here. What I present is for informational purposes only. Every state and country has their own laws and regulations regarding self-defense. You check out your OWN laws pertaining to YOU. Take responsibility for yourself – develop real and useful self-defense skills and know the law.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Photos used herewith are from the following limited edition artists’ books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Encyclopedia of Photographic & Fine Art Ink Jet-
Printing Media – 12 Volume Set – 2014

Bikers’ Mardi Gras – 2015

De Wallen: Amsterdam’s Red Light District – 2015

180 – The Circular Fisheye at Large – 2016

Piercing Darkness – 2016

The Americans…60 years after Frank – 2016

Whoop-Whoop – Forthcoming

Gay Bar – Forthcoming

Secrets of Candid Photography – In Development


De Wallen Graffiti copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


I wonder what America will look like…100 years after Frank?

Article Dedication

In honor of

Louis Faurer & Eugene de Salignac


As I finish up my book project for The Americans…60 years after Frank, I am amazed how much things have changed in 60 years. I can’t help but wonder what America will look like…100 years after Frank.


Open Carry Las Vegas, NV

If you have not looked at Robert Frank’s The Americans for a while, crack it open and give it a look-see for yourself.


Venice, CA

Here are a sampling of some of the photos I took for the project. (See footnote:a) While I didn’t try to anally follow in the footsteps of Frank, if I was already in the area, I hit a few of his old haunts. If you are interested in a more sentimental type of Frank jounery, check out this DVD:

I try to be a balanced social documentary photographer. I can’t afford to concentrate just on the pretty or just on the ugly aspects of society. I seldom censor, but I am discriminatory in what I do present. If it is legal to shoot and I like it…I shoot it.

Yes…Yes…Yes…photography is like that and there’s no maybes. All the maybes go to the trash. There is a tremendous enjoyment in saying yes, even if it is for something you hate. It is an affirmation…Yes!” ~ Cartier-Bresson

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Campground outside of Columbus, OH

(Not staged – As I walked by there she was sitting on his lap with a hand on her breast. I asked for the photo and shot it.)

While street photography is an important part of the mix, it is not the only thing I do. My photography has to go beyond talking pictures of people walking in and out of shadows or finding funny signs and waiting 20 minutes for someone to walk by it. Still, if I can inject a little ‘art’ into my work I do while still being true to the subject matter. While I like to do straight photography, I also bend it a little if it works to the benefit of the image.

 BMG Project Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr mr - Copy

Multitasking   Campground outside of Columbus, OH Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

A photo is not like a video or movie. The photo must catch our attention and tell the story in one image. There are many tools the photog can use for this job and I try to make use of them all. I hold no prejudices to any genre, whether it is B&W, contrast, HDR, color, lighting, sharpness, selective color, bokeh, grain, or motion blur. In a world of 2 billion cell phone cams at large, these are some of tools the photog can use to garner attention for their image

Lost Princess Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Lost Princess  Wheeling, WV (Candid)

Agricultural Fair  West Alexander, PA (Candid…ish)

In 2016 if your a male photog shooting stranger kids on the street…you’re labeled a sexual predator. And this is especially an issue for someone like me in their 60’s.

Man Eating Trash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Barefoot man with soiled pants eating from the trash  Los Angeles, CA (Candid)

I don’t make everything black and white nor do I make everything color. I let the image speak to me and go with the treatment I think is best. The ‘I only shoot BW’ photogs can lose important information if they stick to their dogmatic position 100%.


Faces of Gentrification  Wheeling, WV

Now, I used to be one of those ‘all B&W’ types back in the 1970’s before branching out to color in the 1980’s. I would look down on the color photogs…I was a purest. It is all ego driven nonsense. Sometimes the image will work either way. If so, do what you like. Other times it needs to be in color or BW only. Do what is best for the image, let it decide and don’t let your ego get in the way.

Ernst Hass on the subject …

“There are black and white snobs, as well as colour snobs. Because of their inability to use both well, they act on the defensive and create camps. We should never judge a photographer by what film he uses- only by how he uses it.”


Campground outside of Columbus, OH  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)


Pinky  The Grove, Los Angeles, CA (Candid)

…a big challenge nowadays is to get a photo of someone without a cell phone in hand.


Bronze memorializing civil rights sit-in  Wichita, KS


Gravestone  Cincinnati, OH

Hollywood Blvd Selfie- infrared flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Pucker Up!  Hollywood, CA  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)


Memphis, TN

To see a diversified mix of America I traveled through 24 states and D.C. for this project. While shooting I didn’t have the luxury of sticking around for hours until the sun or weather changed into something I may have liked better. That is the domain of the anal landscape photog with tripod in tow. My challenge was to get a great shot in 30 minutes and move on.

Of course, that is the hallmark of the expert documentary photog. They must go to strange lands they may know little or nothing about and out-shoot the local photogs to bring back iconic images usually under the demands of a short time schedule.

Sometimes I am successful, other times I fail…but I always try. As the old saying goes…if I knew how to take great photos…I do it every time! On the photo forums you always see photogs that don’t even try. They have convinced themselves they will fail before they even start. Don’t fall into that trap if you want to get ahead.


Being self-funded and not rich, the budget is always a concern. When shooting in Manhattan the only way I could swing it was to stay at a campsite in Jersey City and take the transport into NYC.


Campsite  Jersey City, NJ

It cost $65 a day to sleep in your vehicle or $55 a day to sleep in a tent. (You supply the tent.) I asked if I could sleep in my vehicle at the Ferry parking lot in NJ, but they said no. If they would have allowed it, it would have cost about $19 a day.

 I thought about taking a bus / hotel package to NYC, but the hotel killed the deal. The bus was only $28 for a one way Greyhound from Pittsburgh to NYC, but the hotel was $2750. Only bad thing about tent life is you have to carry all your gear on your back for fear of theft. I prefer staying in vehicles as I can hide some of my gear under the car seats and trunk.

I boondock all over to save $…Wal-Marts, casinos, motel parking lots, rest stops, truck stops…even a church parking lot. If your working with a limited budget that is how you do it. When I’m on the road I can wash up in any bathroom I find or hit the showers at the truck stops every few days for $10 to $13 a pop.

A good boondocking trick is to make a 25% dilute alcohol / water mix and use it to wash your body with a washcloth. Then wring out the cloth and use a water soaked cloth to go over your body. If you want privacy for a sponge bath, go into stall and stand or squat on top of the toilet.

GOTJ 57 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

 Thornville, OH (Candid)

…but you can only be ‘so candid’ when your using white light flash.


Holy Water Bowl St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC (Candid)

As I looked around at the churches it seems to be of interest to older people more so than the young. But this depends on what location of the USA we are talking about. From my limited view, religion seems more popular in the Southern Baptist region.



Los Angeles, CA (Candid)

The lady above died a short time after I shot her and the long bench was torn down. Her house was the concrete bench at L.A.’s MacArthur Park. I’m glad I was able to document her for my book. This is the gift photography provides to mankind – a way to go back…a time capsule of sorts.

Here is how Cartier-Bresson described it…

“I prowled the streets all day, feeling very sprung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.”

The gift that photography provides me is a way to make sense of my world. I don’t do photography to make money or to try and ‘change the world’ for the better. I am not a god, I don’t claim to know what is better. But, I can freeze time to get a better look of it at home.

You see,  if freezing time is in your blood, being a do-gooder or making $ does not matter.  If your dedicated to your art, you must produce and keep producing, whether you have an outlet or not to make $…or even have any practical use for your output.

Art is the way many of us make sense of our world. A wordsmith sifts it all through their brain and writes a book or article, a musician composes a song, a poet pens a poem, an artist sketches a drawing or does a painting, a photog shoots a pix, a sculptor forms a statue, a choreographer creates a dance. We each express what is in us and make sense of our world through our art.

Georges Simenon summed up how it is for the writer and this can go for any of the arts as well.

“Writing is considered a profession, and I don’t think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don’t think an artist can ever be happy.”

Irrespective of recognition, fame and riches, dedicated photogs all have one thing in common…we know photography is our life blood and as long as we can keep pressing the button and freeze time, we fell the better for it.

Weegee on the subject…

“Sure. I’d like to live regular. Go home to a good looking wife, a hot dinner, and a husky kid. But I guess I got film in my blood.”


NYC Subway (Candid)

My old home town L.A. has changed tremendously since Frank’s time. They have more people living in tents and under tarps than many American cities have population.

In the Shadow of City Hall V25 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In the shadow of City Hall – Homeless tent encampment Los Angeles 2015

(In the shadow of City Hall was shot on the fly, through my car windshield while driving, unframed.)


Times Square Food Stand  NYC  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

No Bums 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

 Alley  Ohio Valley

In 2016 having roommates are very common if you don’t want to end up on the street. I asked a guy living in Santa Monica how much he is paying for rent in a apartment building at the beach. He said 3 guys live in a 1 bedroom and split $2600 a month rent. He told me they take weekly turns at sleeping in the bedroom.  I read in NYC they can get 4 roommates into a 1 bedroom apt.


Internet photo

Privacy beds are a popular roommate option for packing people in. Although in NY they are experts at making illegal walled off little cubicles for privacy.

GOTJ project 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Thornville, OH

Life is very complex nowadays, it is nothing like the 1950’s when all we had was 3 on air TV stations…

Cool Cop m

With the high cost of living, people seem more frantic nowadays to make a buck…any way they can.


Bareback Musclefuck

In the mid 1990’s they had a black homeless lady that hanged around the portajohns at Santa Monica beach. She would ask passerby’s, Give me a dollar and I’ll show you my clit. 


Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

I can see why it is easy to become homeless if you lose a foothold for a month or two and you are living paycheck to paycheck. Cold water flats are a thing of the past.

Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (4)

Cold water flat

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

One months rent of $1800 for an upscale apartment in Pittsburgh would have paid for six years rent on a cold water flat back in Frank’s day.

LAS Busker Daniel D. teoli Jr. thin border mr

Busker  Las Vegas, NV


Sad Buskers  Times Square, NYC  Infrared flash photograph (Candid)

One of the gals was crying because no one wanted to pay them to take a photo with their boobies out. (See footnote:b)


Gas Panhandler   On the road from Vermont

He brings an empty can over and asks if you can spare a little gas while you are filling up. He waits at the station as long as it takes bumming gas until he fills up.

God, how things have changed in America. Who would have ever thought you would need a ‘poop map’ to navigate San Francisco?


 Poop Map San Francisco

Image: Human Wasteland


The family has changed a lot…

Christmas December 1941 Alice Ammerman & Mary Cox - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Stats tell us 50% of the marriages fail. Families are no longer close-knit, family affairs living on the farm, where multi-generations live and die under one roof. Nowadays families scatter to the four winds to fend for themselves.


Cotillion ~  Viennese Winter Ball   Wheeling, WV (Candid)

Dancing Queen Bride Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Wedding Reception  Ohio Valley (Candid)

Marriage is in decline with kids. They got their cell phones, hook-up apps and can get ‘fuck buddies’ on demand…so why get married?


32Whoop-Whoop 13 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

 Thornville, OH (Candid)
fuck bud·dy


vulgar slang

plural noun: fuck buddies
A friend or acquaintance with whom a person regularly has sex without the expectation of a romantic relationship.

 23.2Whoop-Whoop 111 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (5)

I was at a concert in Ohio and saw these 2 standing beside each other. I asked him if she was his girlfriend. He said “No, she’s my buddy”  and he gave her a little hug. At the time I did not know of the term ‘fuck buddies’ so I didn’t think to ask him, “Are you fuck buddies or just plain buddies?”

Well, young or old, humans thrive on affection…Bikers Mardi Gras no. 26 Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Campground outside of Detroit, MI

The benefit of a committed relationship / marriage / family support is it gave people a back-up if there was a financial emergency. I was talking with an old gal in her 90’s. She said during the depression they had almost 10 people in their extended family living under one roof trying to get by. The few that worked helped to support the family members that were unemployed. Without family support 6 of the 10 would have been homeless.


Our food supply has changed a lot…


Left: Farmers market (Kennebec) ~  Middle:  Dole (Red) ~  Right: Green Giant (Idaho)

Potatoes stored in a root cellar for 6 months.

When I was a kid, simple things like finding untreated potatoes that were not irradiated or chemically treated so they would not sprout was not a hard job. When I surveyed the supermarkets in my local all the commercial potatoes, even organic potatoes were treated one way or another so they would not sprout. It was not a novelty to see peaches with fuzz on them that actually tasted good and had a wonderful fragrance when ripening.


Many of our products have changed since Frank’s time. A lot of those products are extinct, those that survived have evolved. Look at how Ivory soap shrunk just over the last 2 years. You now pay more for 8 smaller bars of ‘original’ Ivory soap than you would have paid for 10 larger original bars…that is 1.58 pounds of soap now versus 2.40 pounds of soap then.

Old and new Ivory soap comparison D.D. Teoli Jr..


Lets go back in time to David R. Shackelford’s retirement party in the 1960’s, courtesy of The Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

1960-retirement-party-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-1 1960-retirement-party-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-2 1960-retirement-party-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-3 1960-retirement-party-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-4 1960-retirement-party-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-5

Back then workers stayed with the same company for 25 or 30 years then retired with a pension. Once flipping companies became the rage on Wall Street, the pensions had to be spun off as companies were being dismantled left and right during the ‘takeover craze’ years. This coupled with people changing jobs like people change their socks also contributed to the pension’s demise.

David’s’ party sported real china, real metal cutlery, a linen tablecloth and fancy folded napkins…and a bunch of white guys.



Greenwich Village, NYC

Nowadays…white people are worried they may be extinct one day. Scientists do support this theory, with an eventual muddling of many of the races.



Politics and politicians…

1960 RNC Temple of Dreams - Daniel D. Teoli Jr Archival Collection (125)m

The Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection



Magazine rack at supermarket – border of Kentucky and Ohio


Swapmeet Ohio

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (5) mr

The Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection


26Whoop-Whoop 123 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (9)

Thornville, OH

In the early 70’s, before the oil crunch,  gasoline was .23 cents a gallon. A one bedroom apartment in L.A. was $150 a month. Studios were $75 to $95. Tuition at L.A.C.C. cost $6.50 a semester and Cal State L.A. was $63 a trimester. For one tuition fee a student could take as many classes as they liked.

Uncertain Future copyright 2005 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Uncertain Future

If you attended a junior college for the first 2 years, a bachelor’s degree could be had for $450 to $500 in tuition costs. Houses in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, that sell for 2 to 3 million dollars now, only cost $25,000 back then.


Huffin  Thornville, OH (Candid)

In the news this year they claimed in the distant future robots will be taking 75% of the jobs. Who knows the real number of jobs to be lost, but it is the American way. We are a capitalist country and money is god.

I select Kimberly -Task Rabbit'er 2016 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

I select Kimberly  Taskrabitt’er

Gigs, freelancing and ‘winging it’ by a growing army of freelancers, temps, contractors, part-timers, day laborers, micro-entrepreneurs, gig-preneurs, solo-preneurs, contingent labor, perma-lancers and perma-temps seems to be the new normal.

27Whoop-Whoop 123 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr (10)

‘Lette  Thornville, OH

If we were bees or ants then humans could be successful communists.  Can you imagine bees and ants working as greedy, self-centered capitalists? They would be extinct…wouldn’t they? But we can see when greedy and ego based human nature is mixed with communism it becomes worse than the capitalism.

In a world that requires continuous consumption to work, something will eventually have to give, unless the resources are infinite. I don’t pretend to have the answers…all I can do is document my world.


Free Poetry  Busker NYC Subway (Candid)

As I am writing this post they are now talking about a Universal Income for each citizen as a tool to combat the invasion of the robots. Someone threw out a figure of $13,000 a year as an  allowance. The gov would abolish Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps and the rest. OK, fine, a person could survive on it if they had a couple of roommates, shopped at thrift stores for clothes and rode a bike or took the bus. But what happens when they raise the price of bread to $500 a loaf? Will the allowance keep pace?




Staten Island Ferry  NYC (Candid)

Beside Trump, Islam is in the news a lot nowadays. A 2015 Pew Study predicts Islam to be the worlds most dominant religion. Will Sharia Law be what controls the world 100 years after Frank? Are you worried? If so, in 2016 that makes you Islamaphobic!


I had read that Tinder, Facebook and some others have expanded their gender identity list to include some of these options. Wow, things are very complex now. I need a guide book for figuring it out. I looked some of them up then forgot what they mean. Looks like they left off Lesbian Separatist.

Cis Female
Cis Male
Cis Man
Cis Woman
Cisgender Female
Cisgender Male
Cisgender Man
Cisgender Woman
Female to Male
Gender Fluid
Gender Nonconforming
Gender Questioning
Gender Variant
Male to Female
Trans Female
Trans* Female
Trans Male
Trans* Male
Trans Man
Trans* Man
Trans Person
Trans* Person
Trans Woman
Trans* Woman
Transgender Female
Transgender Male
Transgender Man
Transgender Person
Transgender Woman
Transsexual Female
Transsexual Male
Transsexual Man
Transsexual Person
Transsexual Woman

Gender Benders from the 1970's 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Melissa  Los Angeles, CA

Over the years the ability to transition from male to female has improved greatly for all those unhappy with their birth gender.

Jennifur Copyright 1974 Daniel D. Teoli

Jennifur  Los Angeles, CA 1974


Bathroom 2016  Ohio Valley

A lady complained to me that she didn’t feel comfortable having a guy with a penis use the same bathroom as her just because he thought he was a woman. I told her I’ve known a lot of trans people over the years and most of them have no interest in women, they like men.

Joe at Doorway - Gender Benders from the 1970's 1974 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. m

Joe at doorway  Hollywood, CA 1974

I told her just in case you run across a trans poser that is after women, get some pepper spray. Are you worried about this topic? If so, in 2016 that makes you a homophobic!

Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash Daniel D. Teoli Jr. 22 mr - C

Infrared flash photograph  Near Columbus, OH (Candid..ish)


37Whoop-Whoop 111 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

The Kiss  Thornville, OH (Candid)


Art Installation LACMA  Los Angeles, CA

Reinbeau copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Reinbeau…her toenails matched her fingernails   Las Vegas, NV


Little Dicky   The Lucky Chops from NYC (Candid)


Sunday on the Ohio River   Wheeling, WV (Candid)

21Whoop-Whoop 21 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Thornville, OH (Candid)

Water is in the news a lot nowadays. I wish I had a sample of 1950’s tap water to test to see how it would compare to the dirty water we drink in 2016….was it worse or was it better? A lot of America’s water comes from polluted rivers. The rivers not only get the factory chemicals dumped in them the rivers are where many cities dump their human waste.

If your city gets its water from a river, you may be drinking recycled human waste.

Distillation residue from 1 gallon of tap water from Wheeling, WV.

Water source: Ohio River

Even if you have a clean source for your drinking water, some locals seem to be having a hard time keeping pace with our ever growing population.


Drought marker Hoover Dam   Arizona / Nevada

A ranger told me it has been decades since the high water mark was last reached.

20Whoop-Whoop 81 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Thornville, OH

EPSON DSC PictureFlag in Alley   Wheeling, WV 



The missing beat girl…our girls used to be natural…no tattoos or pierced clit hoods!

While working with the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection, an area that stood out like a sore thumb was the lack of tattoos that the gals had back in Frank’s time compared to the girls of today.

The Americans...60 years after Frank 2016 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

  Freemont St.  Las Vegas, NV  Infrared flash photo (Candid)

And believe me, I’ve seen every type of gone gal under the sun from the beat era! Over the last couple years I have looked through about 125,000 photos of naked beat girls from the 1940’s to 1960’s and many more tens of thousand beat girls with their clothes on. Out of all those photos I only found one gal with a tat. She had a small one about as big as a half-dollar on her hip.

Well, when I find the beat girl with the tat I will have to post her here. It is a real rarity, but she is lost in the archives as of now…

Girls of the Beat Generation Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (1) m  Women of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (1) Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (2) Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (1) Selection from Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel. D. Teoli Jr. Women of the Beat Generation - Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (2) h

Girls of the Beat Generation Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Selections from Girls of the Beat Generation 6 volume artist’s book series

by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


…OK, they did have the tattooed lady at the freak show.


The Americans…60 years after Frank is scheduled for printing in 2018.


(a) Photos used in this post are for illustration only. Not all photos shown are from The Americans…60 years after Frank

(b) I generally don’t interview my subjects or seldom talk to them. Any description I use is just my best guess of the situation at hand. Surface appearance is not always reliable and I may be wrong.

(c)  If any image is fuzzy, click on it for hi-res version.


A complete list of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.


A Thanksgiving Remembrance 2016

In the Shadow of City Hall V25 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

In the Shadow of City Hall

Homeless tent encampment Los Angeles 2015

from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.



Poem by Louis G. Gonot

Hello sir, can you see me?
I know, it’s hard
No one will feed me
I mean you all think what is Christmas Without a tree
But look, I can count my ribs, 1,2,3
How can this be
We all live in this land of plenty
Plenty of what, and for who
But not for me
I am the invisible one you hope to ignore
Who you pray doesn’t knock at your Holy Christmas door
Asking for food, just enough to stay alive
I mean you no harm
I just don’t to die
Can you still see me, or am I already dead
Visions of starvation still filling my head
I ask you kind sir for a morsel or a bite
Of your sweet Christmas ham on this cold snowy night
Just one small meal and I will leave your sight
I pray that you can help me for I can no longer go on
My body it now weakens, and I may not see the dawn
You tell that’s fine and to go my way
For you’ve heard enough to ruin your Christmas day
You have gifts to give and merry to make
And will not offer to fix my mistakes
I never knew I was to blame
For dying in the streets alone and ashamed