Whether we care to admit it or not, luck is an ingredient in street photography. When on the streets, walking about, we sometimes get lucky and a shot just falls into our laps. Instances like that remind me of the idiom, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.” If you’re out there, you’re bound to get lucky sooner or later and a decent scene will find its way through your lens. After that, it’s up to the photographer to shoot the photograph using composition, exposure, shutter speed and all the other righteous ingredients we use in crafting an image. However, the shot doesn’t always fall into our laps and we must try to “make” our own luck. And one of the ways I’ve done that is by simply not giving up on a subject. By not giving up on a shot.
This shot I took at Artscape in Baltimore, which I mentioned in this series before. Briefly, it’s a three day arts festival in downtown Baltimore that attracts over 400,000 people over the extended weekend. Shooting there is a great deal of fun and the experience is a sensory overload. This shot was, essentially, a by-product of the original shot I was bent on making.
I was initially shooting the gentleman on the left, who was dancing wildly to the pumping metallic music in the background. As I shot him, trying to catch a memorable expression while his arms flailed about, he noticed me and stopped. I instinctively started to lower the camera, preparing to smile and thank him or, at least, give him a thumbs up. But then something strange happened. He motioned me to follow him.
I kept the camera up and trained on him as he turned and walked through a small group of people, with me in tow. Then he pointed towards this strange and wonderful “Mad Max: Fury Road” scene. Two young men were “playing” cardboard instruments along to the blasting music. The stage was atop a junker car and they were definitely into it, as evidenced by the expression of the fellow on the right. I immediately shot a few frames as the original dancer pointed at the performance. Looking back, he had certainly given me a gift. Even though I usually don’t seek out such busy shots, there’s a lot going on here I like. I like the fact he’s pointing to the scene while looking at me. I like the expression of the guy on the right. I like the “Turn Down For Butt” shirt to his right. I like the gentleman lurking in the background. I love the chaos! After I shot, I mouthed out a thank you while the music continued to blast and gave the gentleman a well-deserved smile.