Saul Leiter

Posted on November 27, 2013

In memory of Saul Leiter who died on Tuesday at the age of 89 in New York after a short illness. Leiter eluded mainstream fame for most of his life, but his body of work, particularly his experiments in abstract street color studies in the middle years of the 20th Century are a continuing inspiration to new generations of photographers. A shy figure, Leiter is the subject of a new film, ‘In No Great Hurry’ about his life and work which was recently released.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/350, f/1.7, ISO 100

In the End

Posted on November 26, 2013

I walked right past this shot and then realized what I saw in my minds eye so I took a couple of steps back to capture it. This women was so engrossed in her book, she never even saw me. When I later got the image on to the computer, I was incredibly surprised to find out she was actually reading a Harry Potter book. The funny part of this image is that she’s reading the back of the book. The viewer wonders whether or not she’s she’s skipped to the end, another nice surprise.

I made two captures, one horizontal and the other vertical. They both work well but the horizontal fits better with the theme of storytelling. We, as viewers, are so used to seeing our stories in a horizontal format that I wanted to try and reinforce that idea. Vertical images can tell stories too but the format lends itself more to a static image. For example, posters and book covers are mostly presented in vertical format. They are not trying to tell the story, they are inviting the viewer into the story, there’s a big difference. Of course there always exceptions to this rule but this is something that most viewers are willing to except without question.

There a couple of other things going on in the composition that I really like. First I darkened the foreground to create a separation between the viewer and the focal point. This gives the image a feeling of intimacy. Second, the pose of the reader feels like the shape of a book, she’s kind of folded in the middle and there are layers to her. I offset the balance by placing her on the left third to create some tension in the composition.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/125, f/5.6, ISO 100

Tortoise and the Hare

Posted on November 22, 2013

I don’t remember thinking about the concept of fast verses slow when I shot this image but once I realized it when I was going through my daily shots, I found the best image out the multiply images I shot at the train station that morning. Because the light was quite dim near the bottom of the frame, I had to keep the shutter speed slow. This allowed for the blurred movement in the person running up the stairs but it was still fast enough to capture a sharp image of the man on the escalator. This may have been a happy accident but I really think I perceived the image correctly in the field only to discover it later when I had some time to evaluate my images.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/15, f/5.6, ISO 100

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