Archive for octobre 1st, 2010

Fantasy in street photography

vendredi, octobre 1st, 2010

For those of you that have been following this blog for a long time, you probably have noticed by now that I do like to invent stories around many of my pictures. Indeed, some scenes inspire me so much that tales immediately pop up in my mind. That logically brings up the question of whether it is a legitimate act to transfigure a street scene and turn it into a fantasy.
Gary Winogrand provided a great answer to that by saying « A photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how the camera saw a piece of time and space. » That made things pretty clear to me here, and to put it into other words; as descriptive as a picture might be, its interpretation is only a viewer’s fantasy. This leads me to the fact that when ones writes a fantasy, he must make sure that the story has a close link to the elements depicted in the photograph. Otherwise, the text and picture won’t blend and the fantasy will fail.

As an example, the following picture taken in Saint Germain shows a woman walking in the street with no other identifiable event. A potential text could be “a woman walks in Saint-Germain and think about her past loves”. While the picture might be aesthetically pleasing, such a story is simply not credible and weakens the picture. (click on picture to enlarge)


Leica M9  with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/250, ISO200

Meanwhile, the picture below depicts a women riding a bus whose sides are covered with an ad featuring a man’s mouth and two cards. A potential story could then be “In the game of poker, the most dramatic grin often hides the best bluff”. Here the text directly alludes to the three main elements of the picture. A surrealist scene obviously, but this is also what fantasy is about.


Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/500, ISO200