Melanie Hurwitz  

Street in Kliptown by Melanie Hurwitz

August 2020 - Street in Kliptown

August 2020 - Melanie Hurwitz


About the Image(s)

Kliptown is part of the area called Soweto which is outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. In the apartheid era, the government designated that all local black people live in this area. It remains poor with few of the amenities afforded to first world countries. The unemployment level of people living here nears 40%. This is a typical street scene. We were most fortunate to be taken here by a local photo journalist, who has developed a close relationship with the people there. The people were friendly and welcoming. We were able to talk with them and hear their stories. Although South Africa is a most beautiful country,and we visit family who remain there, we continue to be heartbroken by its history.
Taking people with infrared is often a hit and miss project. It seems to remove facial detail, but I feel that the story telling aspect of the scene is worth that loss. We were there on a very bright day and the image is really contrasty making working with dark faces a little more difficult.
I converted using a lifepxel action, Photoshop conversion to black and white and the neutral tones in select color to find the black and white points. I removed some of the contrast. Toned it slightly in Camera raw.
Sony ISO 200 F11

5 comments posted

Gary Potts   Gary Potts
hi Melanie,

I really like the image for the 'story' it is telling me about the people of Kliptown. I find the people walking directly toward you to be an effective way to compose the image and give it a sense of place. My only though is...I find very little to say "IR" with this seems to me to be a conventional monochrome for the most part. And...that's ok too!   Posted: 08/01/2020 10:54:21

Jack Florence Jr   Jack Florence Jr
I found the people walking toward me so naturally to be the highlight of the image, Melanie, as Gary alludes to. I keep looking down at their feet; they're only a step away from being just standing there, which would be static, ordinary. What a difference such a detail makes.
It's interesting that you chose to take a photo journalism or travel image in infrared. I have also found that IR comes to the rescue in midday light. Just a nitpick, the processing in the sky seems a little uneven, as in lighter blotches. Very nicely done overall.   Posted: 08/02/2020 13:24:02

Palli Gajree   Palli Gajree
Hi Melanie
Taking group pictures of African folk is always challenging, let alone bringing out details in faces. You've done well here, depicting how they go about living their everyday lives.
On a minor point though, would you possibly consider cloning out the building in the background as my eyes keep getting drawn to that area!   Posted: 08/03/2020 02:53:14

Emil Davidzuk   Emil Davidzuk

Thanks so much for sharing your journey to Kliptown. I love this candid shot of the town's people walking to a place we can only guess which makes it thought provoking. I have no comments over above what Gary, Jack and Palli noted

Emil   Posted: 08/03/2020 11:18:33

Charles Walker   Charles Walker
Again Melanie, you stretch the envelope for us. I find myself taking photos the IR camera is biased towards. This is a fresh image of people and part of a human story too. Steve McCurry would like it.   Posted: 08/11/2020 17:22:59


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