A very special photograph – not one of mine.

Street photography, Walk on Bye – Venice Italy

This photograph is not one of mine, these are my opinions only, I am not a critic,  I have only a passing knowledge of street photography. In fact I am not a huge fan of street photography, probably because as a genre it generates a lot of mundane images, which makes the gems hard to find.

Some of the great street photographers make wonderful images when looked at for their artistic and compositional skills. Take Henri Cartier-Bresson and his man jumping over a puddle or the picnic by the river, lovely photographs but, I get no strong emotional impact from either image.

But recently I have been paying more attention as there seem to be more gems popping up onto the web,  the image below image is one of the very best. Very rarely I see a street photograph, or any photograph, that has a huge emotional impact on me, this one of them.

I first came across this image on Facebook and it made me so uncomfortable that I slipped past it to the next post. But I keep coming back to this image and every time I see it it makes me inwardly flinch.

Walk on Bye – Venice Italy -Matt Hart

Matt Hart Photography

Walk on Bye – Venice Italy -Matt Hart

Copyright © Matt hart
http://lighttraveler.smugmug.com/

Why is this photograph so strong?

The first element is the photographers skill, technically the image is excellent. Also timing, the very close proximity of the nearest passerby is a result of perfect visualisation (seeing the image in advance) and spot on on timing. This image would not have worked with the passersby approaching the woman or having passed her, it is the moment of passing without any interaction with the woman that makes this image so hard hitting.

But it is the content that tugs at my heart, no human being should have to make their living the way this woman does, but this woman represents, to me, the many that have to. The fixed ahead expressions of some of the passers by and the apparent discomfort of the others represent most of the rest of us, we may not like it but passing by is easiest path.The image affected me to the point that it prompted me to donate a monthly amount to a charity of my choice.

This is one of those photographs that I wish I had taken, perhaps I should try street after all.

 

 

2 Responses to A very special photograph – not one of mine.

  1. Martin August 31, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    I see the same thing with this picture Mark. It is powerful and moving, it speaks loudly about the human condition. Like all great art.

    As you are possibly aware I have stepped out of my comfort zone and am now doing street photography. It has inspired me even if I have not produced images as powerful as this but I now appreciate life than I did before.

    It is summed up by Elliot Erwitt’s comment:
    “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

    That is what I am now trying to.

    • admin October 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      Hi Martin, I look forward to seeing how you progress 🙂

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