Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, there is so much more to what we see than we can take in, process, and remember. Life is made of stories. Even in an ordinary moment such as this, there is more than one subject. We observe that there are children in the foreground, people milling about in the background. They are in a certain place , all doing different activities, looking different directions. There are hints about who they are by who they are with, what they are doing, what they carry with them or have near them.
I know for a fact that the bicycle belongs to Cape Cleare Salmon; it is one way they deliver fresh salmon around town. I can tell you that this is a farmers market, and that the girls are listening to music. I overheard they are visiting with family from California, and they don’t want the sun to come out. I can tell you that this photo was taken in a town in the Pacific Northwest. The rest is now left up to your imagination… isn’t that what we mostly do when we people-watch.
With a photo, we capture a moment but give ourselves as many opportunities as we wish to look and reflect upon it again. If it’s a image with people, like this one, we have time to find more clues as to who we think they are , that is, how we chose to think of them based on the information we gather. One of the best outcomes is to learn more about ourselves, how we process visual information that comes through our eye-gate, even our other senses of smell and hearing, and our perceptions of those we encounter or view in a photograph.
As “ordinary” as this black and white image is… we can find one story or more stories, and with a little imagination craft an interesting one.
Here’s an image from my collection of street photography. What’s your first impression? Look again. One or more stories possible? Now what does your imagination beg you to write about these guys walking down the street?
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt