It's my roommate who recommended I look at the work of Peter Kayafas. Professor, as was his formal relationship to her while she studied at Pratt some years ago, was one of those teachers who really pushed her limits as a photographer. I've had those too- the ones who feel almost impossible to please- but a lot of times it's when you succeed in that setting that it is most rewarding.
I can't say that I walked away from seeing his work unmoved. His images are upclose and personal, and those that are taken a step back are decisively so. Really when you take a risk to get a portrait of a stranger, it's their reaction that makes the photograph. I'm starting to understand that pissing people off might actually be the ideal situation. As my Documentary Critique teacher at the ICP said in last week's class, "Sometimes you see a photo that's a really great close up portrait and you wonder how did they get that shot? It's usually because they were assholes." See more of Kayafas' photos after the jump.
Location from top, all photographs by Peter Kayafas: Cuba, Cuba, Coney Island, New York City.