Many photographers who shoot in the street like to catch people unawares, the theory being that it gives the image more authenticity. I don’t believe this, in fact I belong to a totally different school of thought. I believe people have the right to know when they’re being photographed and while this can still lead to abuses, it’s usually the photographer who is being abused. It’s this dynamic interplay between the photographer and the street that I believe makes the street photography genre both interesting and exciting. The best example of this school of thought is Dianne Arbus, who went far further than I ever will in engaging with her subjects.
Also, if like me you use a large camera with a waist level viewfinder and a wide-angle lens then you can’t hide and everybody knows what you are doing, which is why I like this format.
The return to film and specifically medium format film has also meant a reevaluation of many old negs that have been waiting patiently for years for a little recognition.
Often the reason they were left waiting was that I simply had no use for them whereas the net gives so many things a platform for display.
The picture was shot down around Wall Street some time around 2002. The distortion also tells me I used the 50mm wide angle, but that’s basically all I know of the technical stuff as I kept inaccurate records at the time.
I liked the framing of the picture because it shows the monumentality of the architecture in NY’s financial district. Also the central point of interest is offering a graphic metaphor to the avarice that built the district.
Plus, if your in New York, the Empire State Building is always a must to photograph.
It seems that all I do now is slink back to the past, and while that’s not essentially true, there is an element of truth in it.
Yesterday’s post was about a happy accident in the computer where as today it’s about one in camera. Scanning old negs (which I’ve been doing all day) has the benefit of letting one relive times gone by. Scanning is a slow process and therefore there is time for reflection. This picture was shot using a very old German made Beier bellows lens camera from circa 19 – who knows. It’s an odd camera that allows you to choose either a 6×4.5 or a 6×6 negative size, which is sort of funky and forward thinking when you think about it. A minor problem can be that it’s possible to shoot as many frames as you like without winding on the film as the lens and the camera back operate separately and this is what happened here.
The initial picture was shot down around 43rd street in New York, but I have no recollection of who the man in the second shot was, but the composite works.
While the picture was shot using the 6×4.5 option, my scanner has a problem with the odd shape of the exposures from this camera and always wants to crop in weird ways, and modern technology being what it is, it always thinks it knows better.