Bus Stop

This photo was heavily influenced by Saul Leiter, a New York street photographer from the 1940s and 50s. Leiter was mostly known for his quietly different abstract compositions and helping get color photography more accepted in the fine art world. Up until then color photography was associated with snapshots and family photos. His abstract shapes and innovative compositions have a painterly quality that I’m really drawn too and I think are reflected in my current work.

This image has some interesting contrasts. Most dominant is a series of straight vertical and horizontal lines that are contrasted by a sharp diagonal light beam that cuts thru the center of the image. This is the most dynamic compositional devise there is, at least in western cultures where we read left to right, top to bottom. There’s a second significant contrast in this image and it’s with the gestures of the people waiting for a bus. The squatting person calls attention to himself with his low profile making him different from everyone else at the stop. It almost looks like he’s trying to get out of the way of the light beam which is interesting in itself. There in lies the meaning of the image; to be different you don’t always need to call attention to yourself. A subtle, quiet gesture can be even more powerful than even the most dynamic one. Leiter’s work has these same sensibilities.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/90, f/8, ISO 125


About the author

Terry Schmidbauer: