Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unexpected images

A night near the Schloss in Nürnberg (M6TTL, 'lux 35, Provia ISO 400 pushed to 1600)

Lorenzkirche (Nürnberg) during Blauenacht, the night when culture and art mingle with people in the streets of this German city (same gear & film as above).

From a bridge above the Spree river in Berlin (same camera, but with an Elmarit 28/f2.8 lens on Agfa APX 400)

What do these photographs have in common?

It's not that they are night shots.  In fact, one isn't.

It's not that they were taken in the same German city (one wasn't).

One could argue they are city scenes, granted, but the truth is that they were all more or less grab shots, images that I didn't plan.  They simply crept up on me.  The first and second were impulsive shots, mostly because I was there and thought the scene and the moment were cool.  I didn't really expect to see them come well, even though I knew they would turn up (not "out").  To be quite honest, they surprised me.  

As a guiding principle, I don't go into a town hoping to find something to photograph; usually, I "scout" the place, look for something to tell me what to expect.  Later, I try to see the kind of photograph I'd like to make, and then look for it.  As a result, not always do I shoot, or not always am I happy with the stuff I bring back.  However, there are surprises like these little "jewels" (if I may be this proud about them) that struck me as sudden and necessary.  The last one, more than ever, came to me after I had already crossed that bridge and was well into the following block.  Something about the trees, the intense light of that summer afternoon, and the desire to photograph the light itself made me return to a spot where I hoped to see this scene.  

I didn't quite find it, but chose to make do with what I had at hand.

Do you plan your shots?  Do you visualize them before pushing the shutter release?  Or do you believe in inspiration?  I'd like to know...

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