Portfolio images revisited: Alley cats

Alley cats

Alley cats

One summer evening I was on my way to meet a friend at a bar down town. I had my camera with me – just in case – but had no real intention of doing any serious street shooting. Anyhow. While passing this street musician (as I rarely care do photograph them) I noticed two things. First: he had a full size keyboard that almost completely blocked the narrow alley he was sitting in, and second: an old man was giving him the evil eye while trying to pass into the alley.

It would have been a perfect image, but I was blocked by people passing by and couldn´t get the shot. Damn those tourists! I really felt i had missed out on a great opportunity, but decided to give it one more chance.  So: I put myself in position, pointing the camera directly at the musician and waited. The boy obviously thought he was the main subject and was probably a bit distracted by the fact that i just stood there, never making the snap. But in the background, the older man was slowly making his path into the alley. Suddenly, he decided to turn around to give the musician one last evil look. Snap!

5 thoughts

  1. I’ve seen this one before and always liked it. Like many of your recent images it has a subtle power that will not be evident to a superficial viewer, but recognisable to anyone who looks a little deeper. Very nice.

  2. Nicely done & good patience…

    This is why I’m constantly suggesting to other photographers that they should always have a camera of some kind with them… just in case… :-)

    and i love the looks on both their faces..

  3. Thanks, Glenn & Nikhil. It´s quite rare that it turns out great, but I love previsualize a potentional scene and snag it. Makes me happy :)

  4. It is indeed a very cool shot, the expressions are marvelous, and the previz and patience definitely paid off handsomely. I particularly love the tension that exists between the two figures — they both fight a bit for attention from the viewer.

    My eyes can’t help but lock onto the young musician… only to slide towards the older man and then back to the front. It is not only their expression, but the kinesthetic rhythm, their bodies and the space between them just feels as if one is pulling on the other one — and both are pulled by your presence toward the front as if we could see them get nearer the “fourth wall” (to use a theatre term). That feeling of course is immediately countered a bit by the fact that the formal perspective lines lead inward. Thanks. This is most definitely a compelling image.

    Best, Nacho

    • I like that you bring up the fourth wall aspect, Nacho. My usual modis operandi is to go by the fly on the wall approach, since it gives me the kind of images I like. This images, however, shows that street photography doesn´t have to be conducted in that sneaky way ;) Anyhpw – I find it very interesting to hear how my images are beeing read by others, so your insightful comment is very much appriciated.

      Regards, Jimmy

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