There are many expressions of street photography. I mainly practice two forms. The street portrait and the candid moment. The candid moment contains controversy. Some feel it is voyeuristic. For me, the candid form of street photography is a practice in art, journalism, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. This is a candid moment and one that contains tension.
I was walking in a man made park surrounded by an outdoor shopping plaza. I saw them. I got as close as I could without disturbing them. As I approached them I set the camera to a zone focus and positioned my body 90 degrees to them staring straight ahead appearing to gaze elsewhere. I used my peripheral vision to watch the body language in their engagement. The juxtaposition of legs, posture, where the feet and torsos are pointed were all there, but I wanted something else and I was not sure I would get it.
He reached, she did not move. I snapped the shutter. Sometimes you have as much time as you want to compose a shot. In those moments you can take many shots of a subject. In this instance, I had one brief moment and one click of the shutter. Like when shooting film, I did not know I had the shot until later. I was a safe distance away from them before I dared to look at my screen.
I showed this photo to three associates and they all had a different story or interpretation. As you begin to formulate your story about them, you are both interpreter and subject in the social sciences. Your story is developed by cues in dress, body language, setting, her phone, his hand, etc. Your story about them also includes similarities and differences to yourself, your experiences, and other observed behavior in your life.
A decade, two decades, or five decades from now people looking at this photo will have new constructs in the story. Her shirt, for instance, may elicit nostalgia. Perhaps as the climate changes the idea of a couple receiving shade from a tree may seem odd and fascinating.
I am grateful to all my subjects. They give me an opportunity to accept the challenge of showing a frozen moment of time of people being themselves here and now. This photo is different than similar photos I took in 1991, 2001, and 2011. But the emotions of the story and the tension of the moment remain.
What story do you see between them?
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