Buddies, February 24, 1974
Back in the days when I was doing street photography in South Baltimore (in squint-producing sunlight on this occasion), 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 one of them yelled, “Hey, mister, take our picture!”
With 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 captured a clutter of background cars, buildings and telephone poles. Since those things added nothing of value to the image, the angle you see here was a good solution. I had learned the technique from a friend, Gary Baese, with whom I hung out a lot in those days and who also happened to be professional photographer.
With backgrounds, Gary said, the ideal is to have large simplified shapes, so I stood erect and shot 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 an interesting pole shadow cutting diagonally across the top of the frame; just enough detail to suggest an urban setting, but no more.
This is an edited re-post from August 18, 2008
Copyright © 2014 Jim Sizemore.