What one aspect of your documentary or street photography can you work on right now that will yield greatest results?
I owe it to photographers like John Free who opened my eyes to the power of gesture in documentary photography. To illustrate the importance of gesture, I’d like to share two images with you. But first here’s the background.
Yesterday I was in Portlaoise to capture potential images for my Pairc Life project (you can read more about this project here —> https://www.paullanigan.net/pairc-life). I was attending the hurling game between Laois and Dublin and whereas last year my focus was on shooting game action, my attention this year is on capturing the rituals and traditions that surround the game.
So, I’m heading into the ground and I see these two guys busking outside the gates to O’Moore Park. They’re not locals. They’re down from Dublin for the day. I can tell that by the bowsie songs they’re singing (Molly Malone, etc.)
This is the first picture I took (straight out of camera with ‘auto’ adjustment in Lightroom).
Now ask yourself ‘what is happening in this image?’……….if you’re like most people, you’ll say that it’s two guys busking. But what if you could add something that would change the answer to the question ‘what’s happening in this image?’ - if you can do that, you’ve changed the story……
My goal was to wait for someone to throw some money in to their bag….but that’s not what happened next. Instead I got a different gesture….and now, with a different gesture, you’re left wondering what’s happening. That curiosity and your imagined stories (is he thanking the kid, is he admonishing him?) engages a different part of the brain that if I had just captured two buskers.
Always look for the gesture……
What do you think?