Back in the days when I was doing street photography in South Baltimore (in squint-producing sunlight on this occasion), just about the only challenge I had was how to frame the image. When these boys spotted me and my Minolta, they struck a pose and the boy on the left yelled, “Hey, mister, take our picture!” (Click image for a larger view.)
When photographing kids, I usually tried to lower my point of view so I was on their eye level, but if I had done that here I would have had a clutter of background cars, buildings and telephone poles to try to organize visually. Since those things added nothing of value to the image, I didn’t move.
With backgrounds, the ideal is to have large simplified shapes, so I stood erect and shot slightly down at the boys and the sidewalk. Shooting either up (“worm’s-eye view,” ceiling, sky, or a forest canopy) or down (“bird’s-eye view”, floor, sidewalk or street) is a good way to eliminate unwanted visual clutter. In this image we still see a bit of curb, chewing gum spots on the pavement, and a pole shadow cutting diagonally across the top of the frame. But that’s fine; it’s just enough background detail to suggest an urban context, but no more — and zero clutter.
This is an edited re-post from August 18, 2008
Hi, I’m from South Baltimore, late 60’s early 70’s. I’m wondering where you took the photo of the 2 boys? One of them looks like my wife’s uncle! It would have been great if you captured the cars and buildings . . . a great memory to look back on and see how things have changed. Also, have you taken any South Baltimore photos of the Light Street shopping district around the market? If you have more photos of South Baltimore, where would I be able to view them? Thanks for your time!
Thanks for your comment, Mike, and for your interest.
I made a lot of photos in South Baltimore in the 1970s, and you can see at least some of them in various posts on Doodlemesister. com. To find them, click on “images,” “photography,” “pictures,” ect., in the sidebar Subject Cloud. You may also find some under “Baltimore.”