Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Leica File: Serendipity Or Decisive Moment?

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved (click it to enlarge)
Many interesting photographs are the result of serendipitous events that occur when the photographer is right there, while others are the result of the photographer anticipating the event, the gesture or the decisive moment.

In the case of the three women in the F train (which I titled "The Sleepy, The Anxious And The Bored"), it was certainly a matter of having these three distinctly different women sitting across from me, who being self absorbed in their own world, were oblivious of the M9 propped on my knee. Although I was conversing with Mervyn Leong on our way back from Coney Island, my peripheral vision allowed me to click the shutter when I "sensed" the scene you see in the photograph. I didn't see it...I just clicked...perhaps anticipating it because of their movements? I just don't know. I had taken a couple of frames earlier...and had no clue that I had really captured this scene until I exited the subway.

"I 'sensed' the scene you see in the photograph. I didn't see it...I just clicked.."

Human nature is so interesting. The Sleepy was very energetic when she boarded the train, but eventually slumped in her seat. The Anxious was serene for most of the ride...but suddenly became frazzled as you see her. The Bored looked bored all through the ride...and held that pose for most of the time.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved (click it to enlarge)

Now this one, which I titled "The Gawker" is different. It's a "shot from the hip" photograph at Union Square, and it is more of an anticipatory shot. The attractive Asian tourist was pacing up and down, waiting for someone, and I noticed the man approaching her, then setting down his delivery cart. I knew he would be looking at her (as I had been doing), and it's at that moment that I clicked the shutter. He had a bottle in his hands, and I just can't decide if he was gawking at her because she was beautiful, or whether he saw her drinking and decided he'd drink too...or both.