The next three shots I’m planning on posting are from the same morning photo walk with the Fuji 56mm F/1.2. I went on this photo walk around the same time I was reflecting on Saul Leiter’s work (see here for more background), and I was experimenting with some of his tactics. EyeEm has a nice article that lists ten things we can learn from Leiter’s work, and in this shot I was incorporating the following:
- Everything is worth photographing: This is a very mundane subject, but through using some of the other techniques on this list it becomes interesting. This aligns very well with my urban minimalism project.
- Shoot through: I love this concept. Using a shallow depth of field and shooting through a foreground element creates an interesting layered, abstract effect.
- Out of focus, in focus: See above 🙂
- Rethink your crop: Leiter would often use large portions of the frame as negative space that would “block” the viewer’s eye from seeing the full scene. As a viewer of his work, my mind gets excited by the not knowing of what else is there…sometimes a hint of something can be more powerful than the full something.
With this image, I was really hoping to get someone walking by on the street below. I imagined a shadowy torso and legs walking in the illuminated space on the other side of the bars with the figure’s head cropped by the obstructing foreground element. Sadly, pedestrians in Omaha are somewhat sparse, and my patience ran out before one came by.
Looking at this shot now, though, I really regret not waiting longer. To me, this shot is pretty much a waste. It’s interesting, but there’s no punch line. Even though this shot is a throwaway, I still really wanted to share it because I wanted to shed some light on the growing pains and mistakes I’m making as I try to grow as an artist. Projects like this 30 Days challenge are so valuable because they force you to be so much more conscious of your shooting and reflect on each and every shot in a way that you normally don’t. And that’s how we accelerate our progress.