Monday, 26 June 2017

Getting Caught

“A photograph, which cannot contain all that swaggers on the eye, 
can at the same time reveal what the photographer did not see at the time.”
- Teju Cole, Blind Spot (New York, 2017)

I have sung the praises of Teju Cole in previous blog posts. The photography columnist for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, he has just released Blind Spot, a collection of photographs and accompanying commentaries. His photography, similar to his writing, is cryptic, insightful, and crackling with intelligence. Appropriately, I bought the book in Manhattan last week.

Bill and I were in New York for six days: Bill to take a quilting workshop and me to practise my street photography skills.

As I become more interested in street photography, especially the people who are on the streets, I realize that I keep holding myself back, fearful that I will offend someone by photographing them in public – and fearful of being caught. So my personal challenge last week was to push past those fears and simply click away while wandering the mean streets. The fear was still there, but it didn’t keep me from recording an engaging collection of human faces. (See last week’s blog posting.)

What keeps amazing me, however, is the number of times that one of my subjects ‘catches me in the act’ without my knowing it at the time. It is only later when I download the images that I realize, ‘Oops! Caught again!” As Cole says, a photograph can reveal what the photographer didn’t see at the time.

With this is mind, I went back into my collection of photographs over the past four years and found photos where, despite my efforts to remain anonymous and invisible, I had indeed been caught. These photos are not comfortable for me to look at, but they do have power, even if it’s the power to make me squirm. I offer them to you, not as examples of perfect photography, but as examples of photos that have LIFE in them.

Street photography – and anonymous photography of people in public – is very much a work in progress for me. And I’m still afraid of being caught, just not enough to stop doing it! As always, I welcome your feedback.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

University Avenue, Toronto

Dundas Street West, Toronto

Harbourfront, Toronto

Remembrance Day Ceremony, Belleville

VIA Station, Belleville

Luna Park, Sydney

Martin Place, Sydney



Brookfield Place, Toronto

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, Belleville

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