Capturing the Moment

Garry Winogrand‘s perfectly timed photo reminds me of the day I was photographing on the street and captured an unusual moment similar to his. See my image below Winogrand’s.

 

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Some of the” first impression” feedback I’ve received on my image above is that I caught this guy just as he fell, crashing to the ground, as in he’s fallen from a building. I admit it does look like that at first glance. In reality he was heading my direction with his companions, suddenly stopping on the sidewalk right in front of me, where I was standing in an alcove, and started breakdancing – one reason the image lacks clarity – the element of surprise! Rather than delete the image because it wasn’t sharp, I focused on the authenticity of moment. It is one of my favorite street photography images.

Photographer Eric Kim writes: ”

If you want to get a deeper insight into street photography and take better photos, I feel it is very important to study the work of the street photographers who came before us and paved the way for the rest of us. Not only that, but reading the quotes and words by these influential street photographers is a great way to train your mind to take better photos as well. Below are some of my favorite street photography quotes that are concise, inspirational, and have influenced me in one way or another.”

“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images I live with them.” – Bruce Gilden

After he unwound his tangled limbs and hopped up off the pavement, I got to know something about him, not as a subject but as a person. His name is Wanderer. He has a son by the name of Madison. He and his friends travel by box car around the country hopping off at towns along the way to leave their mark on the world – graffiti. I instantly liked him and his gang, who at first looked intimidating, but in reality turned out to be really sweet guys who shared a common passion. They were in no hurry to rush off, but hung around with me for a while talking with me about themselves as though we were friends reconnecting after a long absence and catching up. I suppose that to them, I was one of many people across the country that create a sense of community for  them wherever they go… one moment at a time, connected by thousands of miles of track.


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How many stories in an ordinary moment?

 

 

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?

 

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“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

 

Street Photography-Visual Storytelling

I have been so inspired by the street photography of Vivian Maier that I have taken my camera and begun walking the streets of my own home town to see what I can see, while getting some exercise. While approaching the intersection of 8th and Park, this young father with child caught my eye.

Here we have the same image, one color and one black and white. Click images to enlarge. How does color or the lack thereof affect your impression of this moment and overall scene? Of the two images, which one inspires your imagine the most and why? What impression or story is unfolding in your mind?