The Story Behind "What the What?"
Do you choose the moment everyone is watching or do you choose the people reacting to the moment? Which is the decisive moment? Which one freezes time that is unforgettable?
Labor Day. Naperville is a suburb of Chicago that hosted an event. Concerts on a main stage, carnival rides, carnival games, and food. It was one of the most crowded event I have been socially since shelter in place happened. Any of my Zine Documentary readers will know from my last issue, The Masks We Wear, that I take Covid-19 seriously and adhere to guidelines as best I can.
If you put a lot of people in a setting like this and add alcohol and the trauma of the times we live in, something interesting is bound to happen. Sometimes it can be horrific and other times hilarious. Rarely is the moment boring.
When you walk through an area like this your eyes are open to everything that you can see. You are not just looking for what is in this moment, you are also anticipating what is about to happen.
A moment was imminent. I had a choice. Shoot the people creating the moment or get a crowd shot. I was closer to the people witnessing the event. I had my camera set with a zone focus as I walked about. What I chose was the best play.
I took a knee, pivoted 45 degrees and caught this couple just as they were reacting. The reaction to a moment is a moment. It was what I wanted to preserve. This is a universal reaction that we all can relate to whereas the event causing the reaction may not be. His mouth agape, her hand over her mouth. Shock, awe, a genuine reaction. A moment in time.
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