2008, Smoke Break in an Alley
Street photography can be very hard. It takes a particular skill to get out there and make images of strangers doing things in an engaging way without them being annoyed at you. It is one of those things that I can do if I put my mind to it. I have the communication and social skills to talk and smile my way into the situations I want to be in. But I also find it tiring and difficult, so it isn’t my default style of photography. This is a well known alley in my part of the world. It’s near a public market, so someone wandering around with a camera isn’t exactly a strange site for those who live and work in the area. This woman had ducked out of one of the nearby businesses for a smoke break.
I like the way that the lighting worked out for this image. She is little more than a silhouette, with no significant detail to tell the viewer any more about her aside from her body language. The walls and nearby signs have excellent tonality. And even the exposure of the city in the background serves to keep it from being distracting. I do wish I could have done something better with that light hanging down. I kept a piece of the “ceiling” in there in hopes that anchoring it would help ground it in the image (and eliminate the “open V” that the background would then have had). But I’m not sure that it worked. Perhaps I should have moved to the right significantly. That would have allowed the row of lights on the left side of the frame to be a stronger element, might have included the doorway for the Alibi Room, and perhaps would have moved the hanging light out of the center of the image. But without standing there again, it’s hard to know. It also appears that I placed critical focus on the signs. Understandable, but I wonder if placing it on the woman would have been a better choice?
Canon 5d, 24-70/2.8 EF L, unknown exposure