In music they say the spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves. Similarly in photography, it can be the spaces that are not in the light that add impact to an image.
Shadows help tell a story and enhance the mood and visual power of a photograph. In fact, they can be so interesting, that they “overshadow” the subject itself. By focusing your attention on the shadows, you can create beautiful compositions full of contrast, form, and minimalist simplicity. An object and its shadow will strengthen each other. Sometimes you might even want to cut the object out entirely, and play with capturing only the interesting shadows that are cast by it.
Hong Kong is a lot different to shoot in from Singapore. I like detritus and darkness, shadows and noise, so for me the backstreets and markets of Hong Kong give me the things that I want. Photographing shadows works best with strong, simple shapes that make interesting graphic designs such as flowers, sharp lines, or even human beings. After all, who hasn’t taken a picture of their own shadow as it stretches out across the sidewalk in front of them?
If there’s one word that sums it all up, it’s time. I spent a lot of time walking around and looking. It’s about taking the picture at the right time.
Being a good street photographer means training yourself to see in a certain way. You have to have time to look. Being in a public place with no agenda gives you time to observe things thoroughly. Time could be two to three hours or the whole day; it’s time not doing other stuff.
Walking around all day snapping photos can be meditative when there’s no agenda, no destination. You just clear your brain of distractions and focus on the now and I can keep on sounding like a hippy if you want me to, but it’s true.