Looking for the Hero

Some locations lend themselves to photography and this bridge at the Friedrichstraße S-Bahnhof is such a location. Paradoxically, I have shot numerous photographs here without success. I guess the spans were what intrigued me visually, so I  ignored everything else, which meant boring images.

On this occasion I followed the teachings of a forgotten lecturer who maintained that a street photograph should always have a hero. On previous occasions I had thought  the graphic lines of bridge structure should be  the focal point of the picture, much in the graphic style of pictures by such masters as W Eugene Smith, but it hadn’t worked. I had also photographed people walking on the interior footbridge, while still keeping the focus on the spans, but again, it was all a little bland.

For this photo I set up the camera on a monopole and stood shooting while life went on around me, ignoring the enquiring eyes of passersby who wondered what was so interesting. The goal was to have a configuration such as we have here with a boat and a person on the stairs. Sounds easy but I needed to shoot 37 frames over a period of ten minutes to get one with which I was happy.

The moral of the story, patience and persistence pays in the end.

If you are wondering why I go to so much trouble to create pictures like this the answer is simple, they are great for narrative fiction because they’re graphic but ambiguous. Anything can be written around them and they have no place in time. Much the same as an author’s scribbled notes and observations.


Fuji X20 camera, f6.4, 1/10sec, ISO100


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