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Powerful images are not necessarily perfect


I saw this long row of porters struggling under the weight of the heavy barrels on their backs. Every step seemed difficult. They were crossing a street next to the harbour in Istanbul. Each time a fellow porter would turn around and help the man behind him step up onto the pavement.

Instantly I saw it as symbolic, this human gesture. I was a long way off and ran flat out to get closer. The porters in the photo were the last two in the row. I knew that if I didn't stop and take the shot I would miss it. So out of breath I screeched to halt, still quite a long way away and zoomed to 200mm, pressing the shutter to capture the moment they gripped each other hands.

The picture is not perfect. I should have had more of the man foot and the pavement. But this is one of those examples where the emotion in the image is so powerful, it is not important. The image communicates something about the human condition.

It one of those rare shots that stays in people's minds. It been praised by art directors, curators, won awards, been in exhibitions and has taken on a life. I am proud of it.

It another example of what I have continued to do in my photography: see, anticipate and capture the decisive and expressive moment.

The photograph was taken in Istanbul in 1987, on 400 ISO black and white HP5 Ilford film and printed in my darkroom.

Thanks for reading.

Paul
www.indigo2photography.com

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