Before the Auction

This was taken just before the annual benefit auction at SF Camerawork. I was strolling around taking some photos before the auction when I saw this coat hung on the back of a chair. I liked the repetition of the empty chair backs and thought the coat was a nice break in that repetition. As I was framing the shot, the man in the background caught my eye. I thought he would be a nice addition to the other elements in the scene. So I adjusted my depth of field to keep him in focus and then the rest of the elements just fell into place.

I’ve been thinking about what makes any one moment better than another in street photography and this is one of those moments that really illustrates that question. The moment in this photo is really not about anything at all but there’s something intriguing about this image. The composition is strong but there must be more to a good photo than just good structure. When I started shooting street a couple of years ago I was always looking for the “Bresson Moment” when everything comes together at the perfect time. But as I got better at shoot street, I started looking for the “In Between Moments” which were more ordinary but still had something about them that captured your imagination. (This is a common theme among many street photographers where they are seeking to create the extraordinary in the banal.) But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s really about being “In the Moment”. I’ve been calming my mind to keep it from wandering which helps me to realize the moment and discover something fresh…… I’ll be writing more about this in the future but for the time being, I felt as if I was “In the Moment”” when I captured this photo.

SONY, ILCE-7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
1/60, f/8, ISO 1600


About the author

Terry Schmidbauer: