Still Life Mingles With Perpetual Motion
Sometimes you just shoot from the hip and the results, while not perfect, certainly go some way towards rewarding your instinct. We were in the city with friends and family late in the evening and the atmosphere was pure Melbourne – families with young children, groups of tourists, buskers in Santa hats. It was simply one of those festive nights where relaxation is in the air.
As usual, I was lagging several feet behind the rest of the clan because I always seem to see an interesting sight (or three) to photograph. I was waiting to cross Swanston Street when these two children, running slightly ahead of their parents, raced up to press the button on the pedestrian crossing.
Then they suddenly noticed the three lifesize statues to our right. The three figures have been there for a few years now, representing workplace commuters in suits and carrying briefcases. Their faces are gaunt, their bodies impossibly skeletal, but they are striking pieces of art because they are so unusual. They are normal human height, but their bodies are not even as wide as a power pole.
The children immediately started touching the statues, fascinated by their dimensions and the expressions on their metal faces. I was only half paying attention because I was waiting for the light to change so I could catch up with everyone else.
Then I realised I had an unusual scene playing out before my eyes – if I was quick enough with my camera. Not only were the little boys beside me, a couple of tourists were also walking up to examine the figures. The light was difficult, because I knew the figures themselves would not stand out as the central theme.
Instead, I decided to concentrate on the movement of the four fast-moving human beings in front of me, as a counterpoint to the motionless sculpted trio. The lights of the shopfronts on the opposite side of the street would also work in my favour, for they would provide a sense of place and time.
And as I raised the camera to hit the shutter, I had another lucky break. A taxi drove past, leaving a distinctive yellow streak to the left of the frame, without compromising any of the figures. Now that’s what I call sheer luck.
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