Light, Color, Gesture

Which Way
Which Way by I Nancy, on Flickr

Yesterday’s field trip with the Thousand Oaks Photo Group took us to Los Angeles Union Station and Olvera Street. Union Station is a premier piece of Art Deco architecture and Olvera Street represents one of the original Spanish settlements in LA. There is a lot to photography just concentrating on the architecture, historic, and cultural significance of these two places. My mission yesterday, however, was about the people. Moreover it was about how to photograph the people with the story supported by photographic elements which make the viewer look harder, even when they are not sure why. I didn’t want to just find interesting (or weird people) and have only their oddity tell the story. I wanted to find those visual kick-starters that make the viewer continue to look at the image, to provide a layer of information and interest, that goes above and beyond the content. This is what I am learning adds dimensionality and impact.

As a sort of mixed-up compilation of three photographers writings and teachings, Ibarionex Perello, David DuChemin, and Jay Maisel (yes, Ibarionex and David, I put you in the same sentence as Jay) I’ve walked around Union Station mumbling the mantra “light, color, gesture”. In a recent video I was watching of Jay Maisel with Scott Kelby, I was introduced to how Jay talks about looking for “light, gesture, and color”. Ibarionex is all about “Chasing the Light“. And David is about all about being vision driven – understanding what the scene is saying and then capturing that.

This image, with its controversial composition, was one of the situations where I found my “light, color, and gesture”. In the first layer, we have an interesting story, where is this man with his hat and fancy shirt, people all around, what is he pointing at or asking about. The next layer was the color – harmonious warm hues of yellow incandescence echoed in his hat and shirt. Then we have gesture – dramatic and, although depth of field challenged, indisputable action.

Light, Color, Gesture – I think I’ll keep this mantra around for a while.

One thought on “Light, Color, Gesture

  1. Mark Garbowski June 29, 2011 / 2:59 pm

    Light, color and gesture. I like it. regarding this image, I find it interesting that the gesture ends up hiding half of the man’s face, but despite that manages to make the image more interesting.

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