Thursday, 8 November 2012

Lotta Bottle

Nikon D800  F/8  1/160s  ISO-400  PrAP  EV +0.7  82mm
This is the craziest metro entrance/exit in Paris, with some very photoable features - huge irregular coloured glass balls - not even seen in the picture here.

But I've gone with something rather different and typically unexpected; a chance meeting and a flicker of humanity to soften an otherwise harshly metallic structure.

I've cropped the original (below) a little with the aim of pushing the two characters together by getting rid of some of the right-hand side of the shot. I've also tried to make it more intimate by closing down the top slightly and also chop it just below the level of both of their feet, thus framing it more conclusively with those marvellous metal hoops.

I couldn't help wondering if a more panoramic view wouldn't work even better, and the result of a furth crop can be seen just below.

I've gone up even closer to their feet, losing an intire row of coloured glass discs, and I've gone down at the top too, losing the evocative 'cafe', 'bar' etc. visible in the original. But the top of the pic is still framed with a top-type thing, that is to say the parasols, which give a nice unity to the upper edge.

Probably the strongest element of the photo, though, is the relationship between the bottle-wielding bearded gent and the long-haired bench squatter. The two thick posts of the metro entrance structure echo the two men's upright torsos. They also symbolically suggest a barrier between them, as though the advances of the bebottled one might be less than welcome, despite his friendly and innocuous demeanour.

Then again, who's to say he hasn't recognised a fellow of the streets and has felt a certain rapport with him? It's perhaps difficult to tell, and goes to create a 'story' which otherwise wouldn't have been present in a straightforward picture of this wonderfully welded construction.

The background could possibly be just a little fuzzier, which F/8 hasn't quite achieved with 82mm on the zoom lens and the fair distance I was from the subjects.

The final picture shown here is an alternative, and I just wanted to discuss why I didn't use it.

Although at first glance there's less space between the two characters and the chap on the right seems to be leaning forward in a more suggestive way, a couple of things stopped me from choosing this version.

First all all, that stubby post is interfering with the all-important bottle, and has joined up with the man's stomach, thus making him stand out less in the picture.

And then the man has crept behind the yellow disc and moved away from the blue and red ones, whereas in the picture I chose he is nicely framed by them.

Finally, it might be worth mentioning that the back-lighting is nicely shining through both guys' hair and modelling the edge of the poles rather pleasantly. And that the café in the background, I'm pretty sure, is where Angelina Jolie had her coffee or tea or whatever in the film The Tourist with Johnny Depp. That's Paris for you.


* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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