two great tastes…

by sam on 08/7/2009

I went to photography class last night and generally got good feedback on my photos (which, given the technical nature of the assignment amounted to “yay, you were able to follow instructions!”), and we learned more about exposure control, metering and other similar things that will help shoot photos when there is inconsistent lighting (or too consistent lighting) in your scene. But, aside from the technical homework assignment on exposure control which I’ll do later this week, we got a more general assignment that extends for the entire class. We have to start thinking about a subject we’d like to shoot for the duration of the class, and take pictures each week in connection with that assignment. These pictures will be exhibited at the end of the class.

So, of course, I froze. I had no idea what I wanted to shoot. I like taking pictures of flowers, but those don’t really translate well when shooting in black and white. I like people, but I don’t necessarily want to be rude and shove my camera in people’s faces, and I don’t want to stress out too much about asking permission (plus, that always screws up the candid-ness of the photos). Theoretically I like architecture, but I find (for me) it’s more luck than talent when I get a good architecture shot, just because of the “bigness” of all the buildings around here. Other people were coming up with some ideas, and while I thought about, maybe, subway stations, someone else mentioned it and I didn’t want to be a copycat. Our instructor mentioned that it should be something fairly ubiquitous, so that it would be easy to shoot something week in and week out. But not so abstract so that no one would know what the theme was when they looked at your series.

So last night I decided that I wanted to shoot people who make their living on the street. People like street vendors and flea market folks and street fair booth operators. Maybe those folks who are always soliciting donations for charities and handing out flyers for manicure places. But this morning, when I took my camera out to get some shots of the food cart on my corner, I wasn’t feeling it. The photos weren’t very good, and I just wasn’t liking it. And then…

Someone rode by my on a bicycle. And it clicked. Of course! I love bicycles, I love cycling, I spend lots of time around cycling and cyclists, Heck, I’ve got two bicycles of my own. And when I started walking up the street looking at all the different types of bikes locked up, I realized it was perfect. Abandoned, damaged bikes, shiny new bikes, cruisers, racers, mountain bikes, bike parts, close ups of handlebars and gears, spokes and seats, people riding bikes, bike accessories, tandems, unicycles…the list goes on…and, they’re in every part of the city.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it last night, but of course the best thing for me to do would be to combine one of my favorites hobbies with the other. Now I just need to figure out how to pack my SLR with me when I go on the next Brooklyn by Bike ride, since, yep, we’re biking to the velodrome to watch the bike races!! perfect!!

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