Photographing People, part 2

After getting the City Hall shot, I felt pretty good but something said there is more to this light than this shot alone and I heard a voice from my past saying “ Keep pushing!! There is always something more!!”  Eastward I marched still with 35 minutes left until my hard stop time to make my deadline.  By this time, I knew the light would be perfect on a spot I knew about and I thought about taking a chance on possibly making something happen and has it would turn out, that was the correct gamble.  As I approached the location, the light was perfect but nothing was happening. The more I paced the front façade, the less I discovered.  However there was an image waiting for me.. Here is what I presented to my editor.Image


Photographing People

I was given a task to go out and make a photograph with the subject being people. It had to be a compelling image and one with impact. I was given a timeframe and a deadline of an hour to make it happen. I figured, no biggie. I am in downtown, I’ve got great people skills, let’s do this. Off I went out into the world to create an image that would make a statement or was I looking to impress myself as well as my editor? I’d say that it was a healthy combination of both.

I knew the light was great so I ran out with two camera bodies one with a short lens and one with a telephoto. The first thought was to look for a “no flash” corner– an area where there is surrounding light that is reflected into the shooting space that beautifully illuminates the subject completely and yet it is about as much the quality of the light as it is the wonderful usage of light onto the subjects. I found what I wanted but there was something else that was calling me so I walked another 3 blocks east and found myself at Dallas City Hall.

I lined up my initial shot on the stairs and flag poles in front of City Hall then it hit me… this may not work as well as I see in my head because there was no wind to bring life into the flags, just the lingering Texas heat that was not only sitting in the air but radiating up from the light concrete.Then I looked to my left– a group of joggers coming… greatness!! As the runner crossed into my frame, I decided to wait until I could not see his face because this would translate into anonymity will allow for a viewer to see themselves in the moment. I thought great, but it did not sit well with me as the jaw dropping image.

I looked to my left and saw a city bus arriving to offload passengers I did not stare or pay close attention but I did hear the sounds of hydraulics and I realized there were multiple riders egressing the vehicle. I looked with intent and saw two people moving my direction; one in a motorized chair with both legs amputated, the right one above the knee and the left below the knee—a woman. The second person was a man walking 4-7 paces slowly ahead. The woman in motorized chair was moving backwards through my frame. Interesting.

The image screamed to me.

So I was in the right place with the light, the shadow, the composition and then the subjects to pull it all together.  The lesson I lived is that go where you are pulled or pushed and do what you know to do, then the rest will happen for you.