Street Photography: Caught Looking

Parliament Funkadelic. That was what I thought of when I saw the fellow on the right and decided to take the photograph. Or did I take the photograph because of the coziness I felt from the coffee shop?

I no longer remember even though I created the image less than a month ago. And my memory is hazy as to whether this was the result of aiming my camera when I had it at shoulder level or whether I quickly held it to my eye and peered through the viewfinder.

Such is the nature of street photography for me. I shoot instinctively as triggered by whatever conglomeration of elements registers in my subconscious. The creative process for premeditated photographs, like the ones I make for the National Park Service, are the ones I can often recall in detail.

Looking at the photograph carefully, though, I think I was motivated to press the shutter because of the scene inside the coffee shop. My intention might have been to create a color-centric composition based on the lighting, patterns, and shapes as there is nothing inherently interesting about a customer at a counter.

The reason why I think this is because the coffee shop is in sharper focus than the George Clinton doppelgänger. Since my focus point is in the cafe, it makes sense that “George” – given my settings – will look blurred as he rushes into the frame.

On the other hand, it is possible that – since I am also a musician – “George” caught my attention and I timed the photograph to get him in my frame. In my hurry to position my camera before he rushed into view, I may not have noticed that my focus was trained on the scene inside the shop – especially if I was not looking into the viewfinder.

So I guess I don’t really know. I would have to check my folder of RAW files to see if I might have any other photos of the shop or of “George” to indicate what I was thinking. Though even that is not dispositive. Maybe it was a combination of things.

In the end, whatever the motivation, I really like the instant of time that was preserved. If you’re on a smartphone, you may have to zoom in to fully appreciate the customer’s surprised gaze as “George” walks by the window.

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).

%d bloggers like this: