Sunday, September 18, 2016

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Capturing the decisive moment



Two ladies pass on the street. Their hands, legs and expressions mirror each other. Both carry document folders, both are taking a step with their heel on the ground. They are unaware of each other.

It's a perfect Cartier-Bresson style decisive moment.

I believe that you make images, you don't take them. In photography, luck and serendipity always play their part. The unpredictability is what makes it so exciting. You never know exactly what you're going to get but you can plan and control a lot of elements that will help you make better images.

Walking down the street looking for a background that could work as a 'stage' or canvas, I saw this interesting blue wall. I set up and waited for something to happen. Minutes went by. I waited. People passed but nothing caught my eye. I waited.

Then I saw these two ladies approaching from opposite directions and I knew I had a potential image. The thing that struck me was how determined they both looked, striding purposefully along. They passed each other, perfectly framed by one of the blue panels. I took a single exposure. Everything had clicked into place.

Making a good image often comes down to creating the right circumstances, building a composition and anticipating the moment, when fortune smiles on the prepared photographer and the magic happens.

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Paul

Friday, September 16, 2016

Photographs that last


Some images earn a permanent place in your portfolio. Let's take a look at one of my favourites.

In this image a couple react as a large wave crashes over the promenade. People often play this game with the waves. Sometimes with tragic consequences.

I shot this on a Hasselblad, on film, using an 80mm lens. So I was close to the action. One chance. One exposure. I pressed the shutter button and just had time to spin around to protect the camera with my body, as the spray engulfed us.

I had been waiting for a moment like this when all the elements would come together.

The spray blurs because of the speed of movement. It reveals the force of the wave. Both the man and woman have a foot off the ground, giving the image a sense of urgency and action. I love the way the dog's ear is flying up and this movement is echoed by the lady's urgent hand gesture.

That hand gesture is the essence of the image. It's an instant protective gesture, which says so much about the sense of immediate danger.

There's so much detail here. The reflections in the wet paving, the black dog with a catchlight in her eye. Layers and layers of rich detail all coming together to tell the story. I think that's what good photography is about.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share this post on social media using the buttons below.

Paul
www.indigo2photography.com