Friday, 14 December 2012

POV: Street Photography & Mental Instantaneous Captioning

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved

I often wonder if my "mental instantaneous captioning" is shared by other street photographers...it must be.

The photograph snapped a couple of days ago on SoHo will serve to illustrate what I mean. Walking on Prince Street, I saw this woman about to enter a well-known artisanal bakery, and on the verge of turning to the dog leashed to the door. I quickly clicked the shutter to capture the image, and simultaneously thought of the caption for it. The caption was “Yes, You’ll Get A Cookie”. So there was a bunch of things happening in an instant: the visual of the scene, the clicking of the shutter and the coming up of the caption...all at the same time.

This happens to be the case in most of my street photographs. I see the scene, click the shutter and have the caption already figured out. A few of the captions come to me later during the editing process, or when I upload the images on my street photography website.

It must be the experience of other street photographers as well, especially if they caption their photographs.

What's funny is that I don't experience this so-called "mental instantaneous captioning" syndrome when I am photographing travel related images. I just returned from Hanoi where I did a lot of street photography, and I had no such captions ready to go...I didn't even think of captions. This only occurs in New York City.

Isn't that weird?