Friday, August 5, 2011

streetogrOFFY - Compositionally Speaking

I touched on this a little bit yesterday.  For me street photography has begun to evolve. I now longer enjoy taking the close up portrait shots that only express an emotion.  I have taken on the personal challenge of adding more complexity into the images by building much stronger composed images.

Composition is often to most forget pieces in street photography as it really is hard to master when you need to react so quickly  Really the only way to do so is making a conscious effort to focus on it and practice it.  I believe a strong composition is what makes the foudation and structure of great photos so strong, it is what creates lasting impression photographs.  In these style photographs the people are just pieces that enhance the overall composition and story rather than being the main focus.

Today I am sharing three seperate photos where I have begun my journey into examining stronger composition and better placement of subject to support this.  I hope you enjoy and can't wait to hear comments.  Feel free to also offer new names for any you don't like :)
No Hands | 28mm
This was my first foray into this new style. It is a fairly simple composition with the nice long path leading you into the frame.  I liked the biker with no hands but debate whether it could have used another subject deeper in the frame for more balance.

Bracing Herself | 28mm

I came across this scene while out walking one afternoon.  I was having a difficult time finding any shots. It turns out when you don't shoot portraits of every stranger you see you photo count goes down considerably, which is nice for rating, sorting, and processing :).  Here I was drawn to the pregnant women in the distance.  THe first large pole draws your eye and the steps lead you to the woman.  What really caught my attention is her body contorting to almost look like she is leaning onto the poles.  This photo has a lot of different leading lines taking you in the direction of the women, and when you get there I find myself wondering is she okay, is she waiting for someone, etc.

I am not extremely happy with the title of this so feel free to offer up any suggestions :)

Long Walk | 28mm

This is probably the photo I am most proud of from this personal challenge.  I just loved the composition of this background.  By placing the subject where I did you eye is initially drawn to her.  As it wanders I find the horizontal white lines add depth and help transition your eye to light sidewalk that draws you right to the building in the back.   It gets you asking, did she walk that whole distance alone, where is she going, why is she packed, etc.  Again with this image I go back and forth if I would like a person going the other way to add balance and more tension but I do like it the way it is.

Feel free to offer up name suggestions if you don't like this one too. :)

I am very excited for the posts coming next week.  They are I feel some of my strongest and best street photographs to date.


Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Love the photos and your explanations. I like the photo of the guy on the bike the best. Personally I feel it's the strongest composition. But, heck, that's just me. :D

Anonymous said...

I like every photo here.:)
One technique I use quite is the hyperfocal, which is often a challenge for composition. I make a reading on the overall light, I set my camera lens to manual focus (I use manual mode also) and the focus between infinity and 3 meters; with an aperture of 9, for instance, everything will be in focus, so no need to worry about focusing on that particular subject. This is very effective for hip shooting, but will probably require some straightening in post.

Aaron said...

Thanks so much, I am glad you like them! I use the hyper focal focusing as well, althought when I am using my ricoh grd i use the snap focus (same thing).....I started out doing a lot of hip shooting but I have come to not like the results as much...I always get way more keepers using the viewfinder and composing the picture....

Aaron said...

I like all the photos :) but i agree the photo of the bike is a good one...for me there is just one missing piece in the photo, I wish there was one more element adding a little tension in the photo....but i am picky and will never be completely happy with a photo :)

greg urbano said...

i personally like the pregnant lady photo, but i have an "untrained eye" , no formal photo training at all and i am going to keep it that way i think, one of the things that drew me to street photography was the lack of rules and judgement, shoot from the hip
my first two photowalks doing street was very relaxing i was using a fixed lens so no adjusting just firing the trigger at interesting subject matter

Aaron said...

@greg, I like that photo a lot too...there is some strong composition that draws the eye in.
I have no formal training either but I think you will find you will want to learn some of the composition stuff even for street......even though it is a free flowing discpline the composition still strengthens the image...

I am so glad you had fun on your first two photowalks, that is what it is all about....relax, open your eyes, see what others don't and just shoot :) said...

It is interesting to have our attention drawn to composition here. All three photos have interesting elements of composition (the lovely sweep of the path in the photo of the cyclist, for example).

Cartier-Bresson sometimes uses the word "rhythm" while talking about composition and in the last photo the lines of the road provide a kind of rhythm to her elegant, sedate walk... the earphones (with sunglasses and un-smiling face) suggest the woman is following a rhythm of her own.

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