Look Up, Look Down

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Street photography provides many opportunities to see things that you might normally walk by without noticing.

The longer you walk the more you begin to look around for interesting perspectives. The luxury of time lets you view features and people from several different vantage points. And as your eyes roam, details emerge from the busy scenes in front of you.

Viewing features from below or from above, or isolating intriguing small elements for close-ups, changes the perspective and the character of the image. The composition, lighting, and viewing angle reveal the artistic intent and indicate the effort and thought that go into a photograph.

(Unfortunately, people seem to be conditioned to think that artistic photography requires a black and white image, or a poorly lit or blurry abstract image. When some people see a sharply-focused, color image they dismiss it as a mere ‘snapshot’ without considering the composition or isolation of the subject, or the distinctive perspective, or the time and work that it takes to show an interesting feature without other distracting elements. They don’t take the time to look at it and think about what the photographer was trying to do. Street photography is commonly realism. End of pet peeve #1.)


Pet peeve aside, the main subject of this posting is looking and seeing things that may be normally missed and seeing features from a different perspective.

Looking up at features makes them seem more imposing and exaggerated.

Ornamentation, Budapest, Hungary

Cathedral Rain Spout, Geneva, Switzerland

Did you see both dogs?

An overhead perspective diminishes subjects. Looking down is my favorite perspective for street scenes.

Overhead Perspective, Geneva, Switzerland

Time is an important ally of street photographers. It takes time for opportunities to develop. It takes time to see things from a unique perspective. It is enjoyable and creative time.

I hope that the next time you see an artistic color photograph you have the time to enjoy it and consider what the photographer was trying to create. Why did they take the photo from that perspective, at that time of day etc?

Cathedral Rain Spout, Geneva, Switzerland




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