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i drift through life taking photographs

Hello from Outer Space

freedom tower by rufus mangrove (1)

I photograph to see the world around me. When I have my camera, I can wander for hours, drifting from scene to scene. There’s a certain magic in the unposed moments of everyday life, and the hope knowing that there will always be a moment to capture if we’re just close, bold, and lucky enough. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the elements still don’t come together for a photograph. But documenting the human condition is not so much about the photograph as it is about being there in the first instance.

In the pages that follow, I have tried to share some photos of the world around me that hopefully shed some light on the journey I’ve been on since picking up a camera. The pictures here are unposed and taken in public places. The writing that accompanies the pictures are imagined stories or quotations, and some of it, mind you, is not meant for children. If you see your picture on here and want me to remove it, let me know.

Since January 2014, I have been based in Takoma Park, Maryland, after spending quite a while in New York City, including most recently Brooklyn. I realized quickly that the City became its own character, one with a hundred different faces, mood swings, scents, and colors.

I am currently working on documenting the Metrorail. I will be posting those images soon.

Thanks for stopping by. I am learning as a I go.

~Eli Koppel a/k/a Rufus Mangrove
rufusmangrove[at]yahoo.com

You can find my ongoing projects here.

Copyright Notice:  All photographs on this website are copyrighted.  This doesn’t mean you can’t link them to a website.  Just use common sense:  DO NOT a) claim the photographs are yours or b) use them for commercial purposes in any way shape or form¨. If you don’t fall within the above-described two categories, then if you are going to reproduce, copy, publish or transmit the photos, just properly credit this website and where you got it from. Much appreciated.

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52 Comments

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  1. July 4, 2008

    the doggy daffodil is so humiliating

  2. July 30, 2008

    Love your stuff.

  3. usebagon #
    December 30, 2008

    I enjoy looking at you portraits. They are expressive in so many ways. Kudos to your work!

  4. steve #
    July 24, 2009

    hi, i love your photos…i’m about to buy a Canon 50D and am trying to decide between 50mm or 28mm as a prime lens…i’m mostly interested in street photography. I came across your site and thought i’d throw the question out to you.

  5. Rufus Mangrove #
    July 25, 2009

    hey steve, thanks for the shout out.

    Both are very good lenses and, depending on which 50 and 28 you decide on, you could technically get both and not break the bank. That said, with the crop factor on the 50D, it will all depend on the type of street shots you are planning on doing.

    If you are going for headshots primarily and are not worred about bringing the camera to your face to take a shot, the 50 is going to be a good choice. That said, you will still have to get close, even with the crop factor. Apart from street photography, the 50 is a great walk around lens and with its wide aperture, is good for night shots, too.

    As for the 28, it’s a fairly good lens. You can do a lot of hip shooting much easier than with the 50 and still get an acceptable composition. So, if you’re doing street shots where you’re in tight spaces and being discreet is key, the 28 would be good.

    That said, my favorite lenses for street shots, depending on my mood and what I want to capture, are these: 135/2.0; 85/1.8; 24/2.8; and the 10-20mm(EF).

    Good luck!

  6. November 17, 2009

    ‘love it!

  7. September 10, 2010

    great

  8. gjsnyder #
    September 10, 2010

    Great stuff! Nice theme too, kinda looks a lot like mine. lol

  9. September 11, 2010

    Just happened on your blog for the first time today. As others have mentioned, you do a great job of bringing NYC to life and showing the humanity that teems on its streets. Also love your pithy titles and thoughtful, poetic text. A couple of quick question – how do people react to being photographed by a stranger? Do you ask people for permission or do you just capture the unspoiled moment? Keep up the great work!

  10. September 11, 2010

    I have to say that I just love your street photos! ~ Seriously, like epiphany moment!

  11. September 11, 2010

    Really really like your photos. Just found out your blog and I love it!
    Thanks for sharing all this.

    Pam

  12. Annalisa Alosco #
    September 12, 2010

    truly beautiful stuff. I’ve also just picked up photography and started shooting stuff around new york.

    I was also wondering how you go about photographing people…do you ask for their permission or just go for it? (I feel like I lose out on the moment if I stop and ask).

    Thanks! :)

  13. September 12, 2010

    great! you encourage me more to continue on my small project. when i’m writing on this message i’m on day 21 of my photoseries in bali.

  14. luce #
    September 12, 2010

    i love your photos.

  15. December 26, 2010

    Very nice work here. You capture the feeling of NYC quite well. It has inspired me to go deeper into my own art. I am not a photographer per se, however, I have been creating digital photographic collages and videos since 1985. Great stuff and I will certainly follow your blog.

  16. December 26, 2010

    Again nice work

  17. January 2, 2011

    very interesting work! thanks for sharing…

  18. January 5, 2011

    Baeutiful photographs. True talent. Cheers.

  19. February 11, 2011

    Rufus, I love the work I found here. What a delicious find and I will definitely be back!

    Ann-Marie Hensley

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 1, 2011

      wow, thanks ann-marie. that means a lot, especially from such an established (and working!!!) photographer like you!!!

  20. betharr #
    March 11, 2011

    I love to re-visit NYC through your lenses.

  21. March 22, 2011

    Greetings from Athens – Greece.
    Good stuff you have.

  22. Sonia #
    April 23, 2011

    Just found your blog and really love the pics. I grew up in New York and running across your blog was like falling back in time.

    Thank you.

  23. Chris #
    July 5, 2011

    Totally fab stuff – keep on goin

  24. July 27, 2011

    Rufus

    Really like your site. It was one of the ones that I came across that inspired me to start my own. I often get asked about the legal aspects of shooting on the street and I like your explanations on your Legal page. I was wondering if it would be alright with you to have a link to this from my blog? Thanks

    CharleyQ

    alifeinthecity.com

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      August 22, 2011

      hey thanks charley. trying to get more of a nyc community going on here with street photography so shoot me a line the next time you are out shooting! and sure, link whatever you want!

  25. August 7, 2011

    Love your work!

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 1, 2011

      hey all. sorry i didn’t check this out earlier. love the dreamy and expansive shots. let me know if you make it to NEW YORK please?!!! shoot me an email if you do.

      • December 1, 2011

        NY is one of my favorite cities and we will let you know when we visit. Love your shots!

  26. August 22, 2011

    like! and agree, for shooting, just go with your heart! :)

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 1, 2011

      you couldn’t have said it better! love your stuff. i wish my wife and i had you as a wedding photographer!

  27. October 10, 2011

    Just found your blog and I like your pics. Take a look to my blog. Not as good as yours but one can only try. http://bdlaluzc.wordpress.com/
    cheers.

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 1, 2011

      Ha! You are too kind! But never compare your photos to anyone elses. It’s the value that you attach to it that truly matters. And BTW, I love your photos. They remind me of Steve McCurry’s color work. Cheers and have a great holiday! If you are in New York, send me an email please!!!

  28. November 22, 2011

    Great, authentic stuff. Appreciate your photography and how your mind works.

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 1, 2011

      thanks for stopping by! i have a three year old (the apple of my life) and another one on the way (any day now!!!). i have a jack lalane juicer. i bought it when it came out. My favorite recipe is: 4 apples, a bunch of parsley, 2 beets, 6-7 carrots, and a small slice of ginger. I think jack called it the “liver mover” or something like that. Peace . . .

  29. December 5, 2011

    Great stuff…i try and do the same with my sketch book. Respect for havingthe courage to leave your job to do it. Goood luck…I have put you on the links of my blog…:)

  30. January 27, 2012

    Wonderful pictures, full of atmosphere and character.

  31. magithehat #
    August 31, 2012

    Love your captions – and your photos. Following you now so hopefully see more soon

  32. Sonya #
    November 21, 2012

    Serious cool.

  33. OT BC #
    December 6, 2012

    Its not Manoa, but its still cool :D Larry tha Cockaroach

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      December 9, 2012

      What’s up Bruddah Ulus? You have to tell Larry when you see him of course to send me an email at rufusmangrove{at}yahoo.com. I have many things to gwar gwar about.

  34. February 20, 2013

    I’m sat here looking through recommended blogs by Luddy’s Lens and have to say your work is inspirational. I have flirted with picture taking over the years and have recently been inspired again through some old Olympus lens.

    Your work inspires and scares me at the same time – thank you

    • Rufus Mangrove #
      February 21, 2013

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and for leaving such a nice comment. I think there’s something about photography that goes to a very primal part of our evolution. We want to see and keep, in the same way that we want to live forever. Whatever your inspiration is, follow it, breathe it, and drink it and then have some pudding after.

  35. July 2, 2013

    wow very nice stuff

  36. July 10, 2013

    Now he’s cute…..(the dog!)

  37. Lee #
    November 7, 2013

    Really love your work! Found you through React.
    Keep it up!

  38. kavita #
    December 30, 2013

    Beautiful pictures, inspiring me to pick up my camera :-)

  39. Eddy Waddel ( aka Gurkha ) #
    May 5, 2014

    absolutely admire what you do Rufus M. working on my B+W Street with the new Fuji XT1.. Namaste and TY

  40. May 8, 2014

    I really like your perspectives. Always a great angle. My favorite shot is of the amish (assumed) gentlemen. Nice work.

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