In Sydney recently I saved someone’s life. No, I’m no hero, but waiting for the lights to change I noticed a woman walking briskly towards the pavement edge completely engrossed in her phone and entirely unaware she was about to step out into the mayhem of Sydney traffic. “watch out!” I said and caught her arm as she stepped off the pavement. She looked confused and annoyed as though emerging from another dimension in some bucolic idyll to materialise abruptly on a busy city street.
I thought about how technology had become so absorbing, that people could lose their situational awareness to such a degree – as to put lives in danger. It was never thus in our grandparents’ time or their grandparents’. Or was it?
This photo was taken in 1906 and forms part of an excellent blog post by Dave Walker, titled Street style 1906: Edward Linley Sambourne’s fashion blog
While his post is about street photography and a documentary style that today would be called a fashion blog, I was intrigued by the way the early photographer captured the impact of reading on young women of the day – just as today the same kind of images turn up of people stepping off curbs and – heaven forbid – actually check their phones while driving!
Have you captured such images in today’s world? Why not share by leaving a comment below with a link 🙂
So here is a street photo with a story…
The photo above could have been taken anywhere. It shows a man and a woman exchanging a glance – perhaps there is a chemistry there.
But it didn’t start out this way. Sometimes when you take a photo it can be worth looking closely at the whole photo, and occasionally you will find that the drama is in the margins of the photo.
What the crop leaves out is what makes this the story of an interaction between two people at a distance. Perhaps an older man looking at an attractive young woman. The reality is of course a little more prosaic. Let’s see the original photo:
Festival morris dancers
The woman walked out from a side alley at the festival and was attracted by the morris side performing a dance further up the street. The man coincidentally walked out and had yet to hear the commotion caused by the dancers, so he was looking down the street.
By cropping down to the right hand side the couple were brought more centrally into the picture – almost on the thirds. By rendering it as a black and white image, it became a timeless story about a man and a woman. Street photography is always about the story – indeed all photography is arguably about the story. Sometimes it isn’t always the obvious one 🙂
Have you seen an alternative story in one of your photos? Why not leave a comment below and share your story 🙂