While I don’t normally do street photography – by which, I mean candid photographs of strangers, taken in the street – I have a liking for this kind of abstract people image.
Using a slow shutter speed, I like to use the subject’s walking pace to blur the figure in the image, producing an abstract, surreal and sometimes dream-like effect.
One can produce particularly interesting images by shooting moving subjects in front of wall murals.
In such images, there forms a curious relationship between the human figure walking by on the street and the painted figure behind them on the wall.
The relationship seems to get more interesting when the mural figure has eyes and seems to watch the abstract person walking by.
Even in the absence of a wall mural, such images can produce interesting results, as with the image of the man walking by a bright pink-coloured building. I find myself wondering what is his relationship to this house. Does he live there? Does he know the people who live there? Or is he just a stranger, walking by? Does he realize he is being pursued by a flying bird?
My method for shooting such images is to have my camera on a tripod, use a cable release, put my camera’s shooting mode on Continuous High, select aperture priority with a small aperture, typically f22, and low ISO, such as 100, so as to enable a slow shutter speed. The images featured in this blog post were shot at 1/3rd or 1/5th of a second, which blurs the moving figure but, interestingly, renders one sharp foot, while the rest of the person’s body is just a soft blur.
While shooting, I look away from the subject, pretending to be distracted by something down the street. Locking the cable release means that the camera is shooting while I am not even touching it, which allows me to remain invisible to my subject. Sometimes, the subject’s attention is attracted by the noise of the clicking shutter but that can produce pleasing results, as in the second image, where the girl’s face is turned towards the camera.