Street Photography: Expression


Some forms of expression don’t need a T shirt, sign, poster, or billboard.  In fact, they don’t even need words.  One glance and you can sense a state of emotion from the eyes, mouth, hands, and postures.

For this photograph, I’m not going to reveal the location although you are welcome to leave a comment with your guess.  I can give you a hint.  It’s not in Times Square (for a change).

I can also tell you that the scene is not posed.  It is a completely candid and random moment in the stream of time.  Although the woman is looking directly into the lens, she has absolutely no idea that I was photographing her.  She was no more than three feet away from me.

If I had asked her to pose, I would have never gotten that look on her face.  Even if I directed her, as if she were a model, it would never be the same.  In fact, had I been directing an experienced model, I would not have even thought of it.  And if I did, I’m not sure how I would have described the mood I wanted conveyed.

The same would be true for the two men behind her.  It’s not a composition I would have considered.  And that’s the beauty of candid street photography.  There are these tiny moments that often disappear before our eyes and minds have had a chance to register them – unless we grab that millisecond from the air with a camera.

Then we can hold that frozen sliver of time and study it for a great many moments to decipher what is happening.  Not just in the scene itself.  But what is happening psychologically within each person and how those emotions connect, if at all, with each other.

For some photographs, I like this sort of ambiguity.  It keeps the image mysterious.  It draws the imagination in as one wonders what is going on.

As result, the photograph takes on a universality.  It can mean many things to many people as they seek to interpret the scene – often by projecting their own state of emotion onto it.  Having said that, you are welcome to leave a comment describing your take on the photograph.

Xiomaro does not endorse any advertisements that may appear anywhere on this page.


Published by Xiomáro

Nationally exhibited artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, and curator. Author of "Weir Farm National Historic Site" (Arcadia Publishing).

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