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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Street Photo - Groups of Threes + Sixes

Groups of Threes + Sixes
Take a couple of minutes to look at this street photo. Take a closer look. What do you see in it?

An old man, a man with 2 dogs and a couple crossing the road and three parked cars. It's OK if those are just what you see in the picture. Nothing wrong about it. However, if you look beyond the photo and see what I saw at the time of taking this shot, then we're tuned to the same frequency. Or are we?

More explanations after the jump.



OK, let me explain to those who didn't see it in the context of street photography. For those who know, you can check if we're on the same line.

By the way, this street photo was taken in Tiong Bahru area on a warm Sunday morning. Once in a blue moon, I'd visit this place and in hope to see something interesting to photograph. As I was wandering around, I saw this very scene right before my eyes. As I'm using a rangefinder camera with fixated lens of 50mm which I have used it for many of my street photography, everything I see in my mind's eyes is in 50mm framing. So I took a few steps forward towards the 6 subjects and waited for the right moment and Voila!

What I saw in the scene were groups of three subjects i.e. the old man, a man with 2 dogs and the couple, plus the three parked cars in the background and 3 metallic vertical bars on the foreground. Shown below in 3 different colors.


What about the sixes stated in the image title? Count the number of living subjects in the photo and they are in sequential groups i,e, ONE (the old man) + TWO (the couple on the far right frame) + THREE (man with his 2 dogs) =  SIX! In addition, the three metallic bars on the foreground, each has 2 painted halves which add up to six. Illustrated below.



What I also like about this photo is the light and cast shadows. The morning light was beautiful which shone upon the human subjects with rim lights. The almost symmetrical patterns between the three groups of living subjects and the three metallic bars that somehow are formed in the shape of triangles with relative distances as shown below. Subjects' postures intrigue me too. They are as if trying to tell a little story of this little street scene, which is opened for interpretations.


It is this kind of street scenes that I'm constantly seeking out while roaming the streets of Singapore. Street scenes that unfold daily human activities, communication, events, interesting scenes that suggest humor if not with interesting characters, all so unpredictable. No two scenes are alike and they do not repeat. Some scenes happen so fast in fraction of a second and some are as quiet and still, as though every thing comes to a halt or in slow motion. It is in this state of chaos that there are orders which require great amount of focus and alert to keep a constant look out. Some require basic instincts to anticipate before that street scene is gone forever.

To most people, most street scenes are too mundane to catch their attention, unless there's a lunatic walking down the street with a samurai sword. As a matter of fact, there was a man who carried a samurai sword, commuting in a public train and walked down the busy street before he was arrested. That was in late 2013.

Back on track, what I want to say is there are many great challenges street photography poses and it's that thrill and excitement that I'm seeking to capture with my camera.

Photo info:
Seagull 205 RF on Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed in 1:1 Kodak D76 for 500 seconds and scanned on Epson V700 with minor contrast adjustment in post.
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