I have a growing number of pics shot mostly at the Boston Financial district and I am tackling the idea of making something out of it. It is a kind of project I have, to come up with a consistent serie about this place and its people, during the working days. Not a very original stuff but something that speaks to me. It is not supposed to be strictly documentary, nor a critique, but merely impressions from myself, about the relationship of these upper class people in that specific high buildings environment. I can’t shoot people at work but they have interesting attitudes in the street IMO. Many photos from the batch are based on a repetitive motif of people just walking in narrow streets with razor light made by buildings shadow. Very specific of such financial district you have in US cities I think. The motif is like a musical riff, I believe there is some power in the iteration of the same motif.
But I need to find variation in the composition also so I tried out different things. One thing I started to practice for this specific project is to shoot from a low vantage point and angled upward, to get more dizzy perspective out of the building behind, and also from people usually on the very foreground. Nothing new under the sun of course but I figured out that it makes completely different street images than shooting straight or angled down – like e.g. Garry Winogrand used to do and my usual way to photograph in the street as well. That makes sense indeed, but not only the composition is different but the mood as well. It is less “in your face” and somehow like shooting a fashion model parade, and actually this is a sort of a glamor thing that IMO fits well with what I want to come up with for this little project (but also inspirational for street shots in general)
In practice it is not that handy in the first place. Those are not hipshots (I never do hipshot), so I have to bend down very close to the people – which seems to be an embarrassing routine and not a way to remain unnoticed. But finally I am not sure that people care more about me than with the usual shots I do, I got it now and have no real problem doing that, it is even fun! Sometimes people would just turn away to avoid being photographed which is fair enough (I never insist then).
The very difficult thing is to click the right moment with regards to legs motion when people are walking. This will give the image most of its energy… or not. It is something to practice but you need bit of luck as well. I believe that specific point makes a shot or not.
So here are some example I did lately:
This one is not part of the serie but very representative of what I am striving for. She is the “holy girl”, because she is like praying with the church in the background. And here I managed to freeze legs motion in a very nice way, giving some pep to the picture and that contrasts nicely with the upper body + face expression I think. Body language is great in photography. Vital body language is what often makes difference between a successful shot and a random one. This could be a good theme for a serie by the way, I might think about it.
This one is really core of the serie I mentioned at the beginning of this post, and a favorite of mine. This is “Matthew”, named after the Matthews St. sign behind. The foreground cone plays an important role here because of its shape, which is doubled by the shadow. And again I was lucky with body language in the capture here. Especially the legs+feet is a sort of “X” motif which is nicely juxtaposed with the cone+shadow motif.
… Hope this post is somewhat inspirational.