Photos that question 2


This photo was taken today in the rue Maréchal Leclerc, where I spend most of my time. When I look at this photo, there are elements that make me think that this photo will surely be among my best photos of 2022. I know it’s a bit early to be talking about this as we’re just passing the first third of this year. What makes a good photo for me? As I said in the title of this Blog, it is a photo that questions the viewer. I went through my archives of the last few years and I pulled out a few to support my point.

  • #1

This photo was taken in the Paris metro while we were on a ten-day holiday with my wife and children. This gesture immediately caught my eye and anyone looking at the photo must be wondering why the man is holding his head in his hands.

  • #2

This one was taken in Toulouse. I already mentioned it in one of my Blogs written several years ago. But without giving the context of this photo, it’s quite amazing to see this man in a suit with his bow tie in front of a line of CRS with their riot gear.

  • #3

This one has more of a documentary feel. But it is clearly the kind of picture that questions the viewer. What is going on here? You can see that even the people in this picture have that questioning look on their faces. It’s clearly a photo I can spend a little time on.

  • #4

Clearly something has caught the attention of these two individuals and we too would like to know what is going on outside the frame that makes the woman bend down to get a better look. A photo that questions opens up the field of possibilities.

  • #5.

When I look at this picture, I see two people prostrating themselves. The synchronicity of their movements amplifies this idea. But what is really going on? I know the story behind this picture, but anyone who sees it for the first time will have questions.

  • #6.

It looks like a photo finish between a car and a guy in a wheelchair. Well, it seems that the car won… Here, it is quite strange to see this man in the middle of a street. What is he doing here? Why isn’t he on the pavement?

  • #7.

This last photo from my recent archives shows a young girl with a rather enigmatic attitude. Her mother, who seems to be carrying her little sister, is right next to her. What is going on here? Why is she in this position? Why is she closing her eyes?

Through these examples you can get an idea of what interests and attracts me on the street. These moments don’t happen every day and in fact are quite rare. You have here raw photos without context that make you imagine what is going on, to invent your own interpretation of the scene I have captured. That’s what I like about street photography. You capture moments in 1/500s. Out of context, the photo can be interpreted differently according to our sensitivity. I often demystify all this by explaining and deconstructing the photo to explain the story behind it. But in the end it would be better to let people build their own interpretation of the image. In any case, for me, a good photo is a photo that questions.

I leave you with these photos taken this week.

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2 thoughts on “Photos that question

  • John Harper

    Everyone finds some photographic enigma interesting, don’t they? If we look at the bulk of photography on social media it would appear not. All those titles added to clarify and give context don’t help the cause. For example, if I ever upload a photo to LFI (Leica) they insist that it must have a title and description to give context, plus what lens was used and the camera settings. You’d think they would know better. I always put “Street Life: Bristol (or wherever I took it)” as a title and in the description/context just “U.K.”.
    The less context the better as far as I’m concerned, I want to form my own opinion. #2,3,4 and 5 in your post are classic “What the hell is going on here?” photographs, they draw the viewer in, ask questions and the enjoyable part is making up your own narrative. You’re right, they’re by far the most difficult to find, see and frame, but the result and reward to the viewer is so much better than ‘just people walking along’.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I ‘m the first one to try to explain some of my photographs. I see that as an educational purpose but clearly photos don’t need thousands words. They should speak for themselves. They should stand by themselves. But somehow people want to know the story behind the shots. It’s like being in the backstage and seeing all the cogs of the show.
      For a long time I gave up on giving titles to my photos. Firstly I’m very bad at this and secondly I don’t see the reason why I should.
      For the exif thing people might think that they could be inspired by the settings you used. But the thing is that it’s useless. But people like that. Settings, gears…
      The reason why I keep writing behind the shots blogs is to give me blogs ideas! Otherwise I wouldn’t have anymore blogs ideas 😂😂