Stephen TexeiraOakland-Based Street Photographer
About Stephen Texeira
Art has the potential to bring us together, erase differences, show us our common humanity, create community, and quite literally change the world. As an artist and a participant in this grand human experiment, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to make that happen. Most of us go through our lives looking for difference. This group is taller than that one; these people are richer; my friends are cooler; my family is better. I use my eye and my camera to create images that show us where we overlap, share a perspective, a way of smiling, a gesture, a love of self and others. I take pictures. I read. I love. I listen. I pay attention. When other people are busy acting or performing or trying to impress, I pay attention. When the world is going through each day as though it were just like the one before, I pay attention…and it makes a difference. It makes a difference in how I view the world and how I photograph the people in it. By paying attention I see pieces of people — pieces of the world — that others miss. I find moments that otherwise would easily slip by. I notice things happening a few seconds before they happen, and I am there with my camera.
Street portraiture is an intimate, revealing and, ultimately, invasive process. The fact that strangers are willing to allow me in — even if it is for just a minute or two — is a humbling experience. My pledge in return is to make images that are emotional, funny, touching, sad, beautiful, moving, and, more than anything, honest. It is the great privilege of my life to be allowed to find beauty and art in the people and the world around me. I’m a native Californian. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and I’m pleased to call it home still. I am part of a large and loving family, some of whom I grew up with, most of whom I’ve met along the way. I live with my wife, my father, the world’s greatest dog, and a bewildering number of cats in Oakland, Calif., where we try to create a home that is warm and open to whomever happens to be passing through town or needs some time away. I am passionate about the people in my life and the work I do each day.
I’ve been a journalist, a consumer advocate, and a freelance graphic designer. I’ve worked in nonprofits and hospitals, paid my dues at a local humane society, had my own marketing consulting business, made beds, delivered furniture, dug ditches, and typed letters to pay the rent. Taking photos beats all of them.
“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence towards the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” — Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
(Because nobody has ever said it better.)