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Onlookers

By tom_earwaker
I took a lot of photos here, waiting for the right people to walk past. This was my favorite of the lot, although I feel like there could be a better photo to be had here. I saw loads of people out with tonnes of make-up on (some didn't look too dissimilar to the mannequins), which I think could have made a more interesting picture, but I didn't manage to get any good ones of them. I appreciate why street photographers have to spend so much time taking pictures!
I cropped a bit tighter, made a few levels and curves adustments to increase contrast and darken the lower half, and converted to mono.

Tags: Shopping Street Woman Window People Birmingham Shop Bullring Mannequins

Comments


mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.0k 2465 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2017 12:26PM
Right up my street...Smile

A curious coincidence - we were at a local garden centre yesterday, talking to the boss about taking a photography group there,and he mentioned that he was into street photography. And when we responded positively, almost immediately he came out with 'And what about mannequins? What do they think of us?'

That's what this is about for me, it's about the mannequins' view of us, and they are not impressed.

Street photography for me is about seeing connections, between us humans and the world we have built for ourselves. very often the human protagonists are totally unaware of those connections... If you look back in this member's portfolio, he's very good at it. His technique, which I also follow, is to find the frame and sit back and wait to see who passes through it and how they act.

There's a reason why street photography generally uses traditional landscape 3 x 2 format, and that's the way that with landscape the viewer's eye intuitively travels horizontally. That's the way we move, and the way we look about ourselves in a town centre. So I have uploaded a crop just for comparison. It loses the strong angles of the lady's legs, which is a minus, but it concentrates attention better for me on the way that the mannequins are watching her.

Another approach that you could try is to look at an angle rather than face on, look for mannequins with the reflections of the street in the shop window glass. Then you get an overlay of two realities. Edit - This is one of mine as an example.
Moira
iancrowson Plus
11 215 168 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2017 12:55PM
Good capture. i like moire's mod/crop too.
Well spotted and looks good in BW
regards
Ian
banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
2 Apr 2017 4:02PM
A suggestion, - might look better if the woman had been walking the opposite direction. Ive fudged an impression in the mod, - ideally she might be further right.

I think thats the picture thats in there, as the models are, in the main, looking left.

W
banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
2 Apr 2017 4:03PM
This is a shopping centre/mall. I find here that security often enforces no photography rules in these areas, as its private property, - ever experience that there?
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
2 Apr 2017 10:44PM
Moira's crop makes the point that there are two pictures, two sorts of picture here.

One is what I call the 'design' photograph - geometry, balance and layers make up the interest. Moira's crop shows the human interest in the image: less of the formal structure, but the opportunity to study the woman's face more, and the looks the mannequins are giving her.

Clearly, your camera delivers sufficient quality to crop the second out of the first.
paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2017 10:21AM
Yes, nice image. In general I like what you have done. Works in mono but appears just a touch flat on my screen as I understand mono. Just a slight contrast boost to get a 'normal' mono tonal range, or even a bit extra for punch - without bleaching highlights.

My guess is that this effect is a follow on from some of your slightly flat colour shots?

Paul
4 Apr 2017 8:55PM
Really interesting comments, appreciate your time and thoughts.
I had always thought it counted as a public place, but it seems not - I've looked it up and it says... "Members of the public are allowed to take photographs in and around the centre with a small digital camera/mobile phone for personal use only. To take photographs of shop interiors and exteriors, permission must be sought from the individual retailer." So, does this mean that I need to ask permission to take photos like this or does it come under 'photographs in and around the centre'?
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
5 Apr 2017 4:06PM
There are two ways to appraoch this.

One is to treat it as a public place, and stop taking pictures if challenged - but never delete anything. I would always point out that the owners want me to treat it as a street, and go there and shop. Love my wallet, love my camera, I say.

The other is to ask permission. Which you may never get. Or not to take the pictures.

I reckon that it all goes back to one mistaken, control-freak ex-copper giving advice 40 years back, suggesting that criminals may take pictures to record securty arrangements: so everybody since then has played safe and tried to ban pictures. Far less sensible than being more open, but that's Britian in the 21st Century.

And I'd point out - and have a few times - that if I wanted to take covert pictures, I'd have done it without them noticing. I wouldn't be using a real camera at eye level, but one concealed in a briefcase with a remote release in the handle, or poking out of the arm of a raincoat.

And yes, there are real objections to some of the things you could shoot - and a real moral choice to make in what to shoot, and what not. For instance, I've never taken pictures of a road accident or a police incident that I've happened on: it doesn't seem right to me if I don't have a purpose. On the other hand, if there was an indication that a picture I could take would provide evidence of criminal activity, I'd have no moral concern. Very awkward is the police were misbehaving - it may be rare, but it definitely happens occasionally.

5 Apr 2017 7:19PM
It's quite interesting where you draw the line with photography in terms of freedom in public places vs. respecting privacy, and I imagine its going to become more of a grey area as cameras can become more and more discrete. I watched an interesting program about Dougie Wallace the other day who takes very intrusive pictures of people. I think his work is great, but his methods are very controversial and I think in a number of cases it wouldn't pass the test of 'would you want someone to do that to you?', at least for me.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
5 Apr 2017 8:23PM
It turns out that I've met his work a time or two recently - a friend bought his book on Blackpool at the recent NEC show.

I've seen the technique before: flash, so there's no mistaking the fact that a picture is being taken. The opposite of the Jane Bown approach in many ways.

The pictures I found just now were the 'Harrodsburg' series - and, frankly, I have little sympathy for the ostentatiously rich, laying waste my capital city! Mind you, they don't seem interested in the more interesting parts: the East End series are far more collaborative images.

I think everyone has to decide where they want to be on the scale: and how much they want to comment on current affairs and mores.

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