The peak of the photographic medium, for me, is the candid shot. Photography can get no better than permanently imprinting upon 35mm of negative that moment of ridiculous absurdity or instance of perfect beauty that was taken straight from daily life. At its best, photography should put us in a state of wonder at life itself by making clear those precious moments we miss. I like portraits and landscapes, Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams, and all them just fine, but give me Henri Cartier-Bresson and his street photography any day.
By its nature, candid photography is impossible when the subjects are consciously aware of the camera, so it has always frustrated me when I pulled up my camera only for my friend to put on a funny face and strike a pose. Anybody can take that shot, and they do. Just check out Facebook. So it surprised me when I snapped the above picture and more than a few others like it while walking in the Eyüp neighborhood of Istanbul. These kids are not only posing for a shot, they're actively trying to get my attention. What could be more unnatural? A squirrel chasing a dog, I guess, but I digress. Partially, at least, I was humoring the kids, but there's more. There was a vitality and energy in their flailing that impressed me. The picture is not that great compositionally, but I think I caught some small sense of their fun with this shot. The boy whirling around and his friend looking on, bemused, from ahead, there's a unique sense of play there. And that makes me happy. Beside, even Cartier-Bresson's subjects were sometimes aware of the camera in their face, and those shots are still amazing.
2 years ago