Dave Potes

Photographs by Dave Potes

Text by Sahara Borja

Level Up: David del Pilar Potes in Motion

Dave Potes is one kinetic motherfucker. In the few hours we sat in the misty back patio of a bar on Flushing Avenue, the conversation never ceased. In between sips of Sol and rolling tobacco, his fingers repetitively combed through his beard in a steady downward motion, a movement I read to be equal parts obsessive and comforting. Dave’s photographic excellence is, in part, derived from a foundation that speaks to both of these words: his is the process of a man who knows nothing if not what he has been called to do on this earth, plain and simple. His methods have no limits because there are no restrictions. There is no time for set-ups, smoke, and/or (literal) mirrors in his particular photo world. What you see is what you get. Dave is that gorgeous antithesis of contemporary and conceptual photography, not because he mostly shoots black and white or 35 mm, but because his instinct is to shoot before there is any time to waste thinking.

It is hard to talk about Dave without talking about Hamburger Eyes. This was, as he put it, his “art school,” and where he began to shoot in the prolific manner he still does. Hamburger Eyes (H.E.), which began as a joint effort with his brother in 2001 as a xeroxed ‘zine, is now a publishing house – one that was built on a massive stack of groundbreaking and ballsy, well-edited, editioned ‘zines. Its aesthetic, methods, and content have become part of a sub-culture of photographers rooted in brotherhood and an unapologetic approach to image making. Some might seek to