Street Photography: 32nd Street

It’s not often I see a bus with “Evil” prominently displayed on its front. So how can I make it look a little more diabolical, twisted, and menacing?

For starters, getting the front of the bus straight on gives the impression that it is going directly after me in an effort to run me down. It appears to be so close to me already that I don’t see the street, buildings, or sky around the vehicle. It’s just one big wall of bus that fills the frame. This is an example of where the so-called “rule”‘of thirds is best ignored. Imposing the rule would have undermined the directness achieved by centering the image.

I also made sure that the buildings reflected in the windshield could be seen. Their contortions give shape to the idea of this being a moment in a very bad dream. Indeed, their melty tilts suggest Dutch angles in dual frames within a larger frame that is perfectly straight. The mirroring of the buildings also serve to obscure the identity of the mysterious apparition driving this bus from hell. From the collar, the ghostly headless torso morphs into the solidity of the stone edifice.

Street photography is the embodiment of the old adage that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” And there are a few lucky accidents in the photograph. Being above the word “Evil,” the position of the wiper blades in relation to the horizontal bottom edge of the windshield faintly suggests the “A” symbolized inside of a circle when representing the call for anarchy.

More sinister is how the wiper blades and vertical divider separating the windshield form an upside broken cross often associated with satanists. The design subverts the inverted, but unbroken, cross, which is a Christian symbol derived from the apostle Peter who allegedly requested that he be martyred head down as he was not worthy of being crucified in the same manner as Jesus – right side up.

Finally, the number 11 inauspiciously appears on the left side of the windshield. Numerologists contend that those twin digits portend – at best – imperfection, disintegration, and chaos. At worse, 11 is the number of peril, transgression, sin, and… evil.

That’s all for now. It’s time for me to move on quickly. I don’t like the looks of those two bright red animal eyes and their laser-like stare.

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Published by Xiomáro

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

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