And for what ? 3

Friday the 28th of May, it’s a day off for me and I’m on a shopping chore … Well of course, it’s for a good cause, it’s Mother’s Day Sunday and as I don’t particularly like shopping, I always wait until the last moment to stick to it. I have to find a present for my mother, for my aunt, for my wife. Every time I walked into a store, I would run up to the saleswoman to ask her for help. Anyway, they could see that I was hard pressed … In the end, I was pretty good because I didn’t take that long. I also had an appointment for lunch with Gwen. I had picked up some stuff in a little cafe that we like and here I am crossing the city loaded like a donkey with a basket full of food and bags in my arms. Besides, I put my Fujifilm XF10 in my pocket because I needed both arms and hands to carry everything.



Usually I always manage to have a hand available to continue taking pictures. What could be better than bags in one hand to blend in and go unnoticed ? Once the lunch break was over, I passed everything on to Gwen because her offices were close by and also because my car was parked miles away … I decided to stay and take pictures in Saint-Denis. and to wait wisely until the children leave school. That left me a good 2 hours to roam the streets. At one point, I walked past a store that always has pretty windows with colorful items stuck on them. Frankly their windows are always very beautiful. It is also here that I photographed some time ago a cartoon dog that was hanging out on the sidewalk (Blog here). This time, nothing on the public pavement but some stickers caught my attention.



Clearly there was potential there. All those arrows pointing inward with just the right amount of space to be able to wedge someone in the middle. I’d rather tell you right away, I’m not a fan of this kind of photos which for me is more of a visual joke than anything else. I know that there are quite a few street photographers who are looking for this kind of situation and who can even stay there for hours, or even come back for several days or weeks in a row to have THE photo. The first name that comes to mind is Jonathan Higbee. This photographer is really amazing but it is not my conception of Street Photography. It’s too repetitive and frankly even if clearly there is a challenge, it’s terribly boring from my point of view …



But I decided to stick to it anyway. Here I am in front of these arrows trying to get someone right in the middle. This was already the first challenge because the Fujifilm XF10, like all cameras, has a little lag between the moment you press the shutter button and the moment the picture is taken. Or may be it comes from me, my eye has a bad wiring with my brain and there is a lag between the moment when I want to take the photo and when the information is sent to my finger … In short, whatever in itself, that was already the first difficulty. Put someone in the middle of the arrows. Not easy, because the people were all different sizes, passed more or less close to me … Once I had the timing, the hard part began. Well I did have someone in the middle, but it was horribly flat. How do some photographers manage to get something interesting out of it ?



I had my little idea. It was having the person right in the middle staring at me, but no ! It did not work. Most people were looking at what I was photographing, so most of the time they looked the other way … It was a total failure. I was still there for 30 minutes (!!!) trying to get something interesting, but it was doomed to failure. There are a few so so photos, but nothing transcendent.



Here I find the white arrow coming out of the girl’s smartphone amusing. It’s just luck, I assure you …



Here, we cannot say that the Indian gentleman did not put his own effort into it. He walked past me 3 times and it was a total disaster and yet the character was interesting. He was small in size and the first time I failed to put him in the middle. The other two times, I didn’t have much more success because this time, the distance between him and me was not good. I tried to move around a bit or crouch down, but it took quite a bit of timing to shoot the shot well.



In the end, I am more satisfied with one of the last photos I took. That of this man with a checked shirt who came to see the window and put himself in the middle of the arrows. It’s easier with someone static ! I tilted my screen a little to give the photo a little dynamism. John Harper will appreciate, he who does not like this technique! I tried to include other people in the composition, but in the end he didn’t stay long enough for me to take any more photos.



So what, all this for that Jeff ? Well sorry … yes. I remain convinced that there was better to do here with these elements. Other people would even be ready to come back several days in a row to succeed in having THE photo. Not me … I gave everything there and definitely this kind of situation is not for me. This is not my cup of tea.

In the end, the photos taken this Friday elsewhere are much more interesting.



All the photographs were made yesterday with the Fujifilm XF10.

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3 thoughts on “And for what ?

  • John Harper

    Hahaha…I could “point” you to any number of shots on my blogs where the horizon is tilted…okay, there’s two!

    Anyway, I get the “point” you’re making 😉 I admire your patience to spend 30 minutes trying to get a shot that at best is only going to be slightly amusing. I think they’re okay if you get them as you walk past, it brings a smile and you click. I’m glad you put it into context by posting the last four, wow, a million times better and true Street Photography.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      In a perfect street photography world, the guy would be surrounded by different little stories. The picture would be much richer than the average one I’m presenting. I’m most of the time guided by my instinct on the streets. 30 mins is a lot and definitely way too much for me. Like you said, it’s funny but that’s all folks!
      I ‘m thinking of something different for my monthly slideshow. Not sure that everyone will like it but i’ m gonna give it a try!