Stephen Levitas  


Meeting Obama (lookalike) at gun protest by Stephen Levitas

August 2022 - Meeting Obama (lookalike) at gun protest

August 2022 - Stephen Levitas

Original

About the Image(s)


This was taken at the Washington, DC “March for Our Lives” protest (3/24/2018), after the Parkland mass shooting (2/14/2018), organized entirely by surviving teens. My wife (pictured) and I met our daughter’s family there. I have been looking a lot at street photographs in the other groups recently, and there is a vigorous discussion going on, led by Lance Lewin and others, about “telling a story.” In this street photograph, I see some elements of storytelling: the original image shows a partial view of our grandkids on the left in a double stroller, my wife is charmed to meet the pleasant Obama lookalike protester; his sign is semi-comical; the “March for Our Lives” T-shirt in the background tells the place and event; the T-shirt woman has brought her child, just as our daughter did.
However, one must work with the single shot one gets. In this case, I chose to crop in on the meeting between my wife and the Obama lookalike. It is still clearly a gun protest, but should I have left in the “March for Our Lives” T-shirt woman and her child?
Aside from the cropping, I found that only one of my preset conversions to monochrome brought through the man’s sign”“Infrared Effect.” I darkened overall highlights, lightened overall shadows, increased mid-tone contrast, and sharpened a bit.
What are your ideas for how to use this to best tell a story? Of course, you might suggest other angles and subjects to try for next time. Thanks.


8 comments posted




Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(Groups 24 & 83 & 87 & 92)
Hi Stephen! Seems you were in the right place to capture this street photograph within a documentary style: I am speaking more about the "original" scene captured through your lens. I enjoy the balance of elements portrayed in the scene. (Perhaps crop out only the baby carriages).

In this case, the two apparent subjects of your focus, and the lady with a very noticeable T-shirt slogan, both support the "whole" narrative. The "street photography" vibe is well displayed with all these people, the trash on the floor, and the background foot traffic: the "gestalt" comes through when the spectator takes in all these components contemplating the work. It feels natural, less staged; the original is open and presents a sense of place, attitude and overall atmosphere on the street.

Alternatively, the featured crop view, focuses only on our two main subjects, while eliminating the aforementioned components. As such, I must suggest, though the featured shot is also well composed, it does not carry the power of narrative as well as the original capture. For examples, again I point to some of the work by Gary Winogrand: see posted Winogrand images: the girl crossing the street is clearly the subject, and the author feels her surroundings say more about her stride and expression than cropping closer … I think we can agree. The other image includes four main subjects, together create the amusing narrative, for one interpretation. In fact, Winogrand was often lazy as it relates to proper horizon, as his images and their narratives spoke more as a whole (their gestalt) than the images individual parts.

I hope you consider converting the original to a B&W rendering for us to discuss. Thank you, Stephen!
  Posted: 08/02/2022 08:42:59
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(Groups 24 & 83 & 87 & 92)
  Posted: 08/02/2022 08:44:27
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Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Thanks for coming by, Lance. Here is the fuller view of the scene.   Posted: 08/02/2022 09:39:10
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Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Now I had that bright area in the upper right, so I darkened it a bit. What to do?   Posted: 08/02/2022 09:42:57
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(Groups 24 & 83 & 87 & 92)
Stephen, I feel this edition is wonderful! Perfect!

The only thing I did in my example was to separate the tonal gamut a bit more; I too, "burned" the upper right just a little, but the added brightness on the wall (my version) helped balance between the main focal point and the brightness of the sky better ... I placed the image through yellow filter in Efex pro to help define the differences between shades of grey. I also added a custom copper-silver tone.

What do you think?   Posted: 08/02/2022 14:38:15
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Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
Thank you Lance, looks great. Please come back later to see what my group colleagues have to say :)   Posted: 08/02/2022 21:11:34
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
(Groups 24 & 83 & 87 & 92)
My pleasure, Stephen!!   Posted: 08/03/2022 07:27:06



Diana Magor   Diana Magor
I think if I hadn't seen the whole image, I would have been happy with just the two figures. Since I approve of the sentiment, it speaks to me. Seeing the whole gives a setting for the action- a busy street with people intent on getting across a message. The two children in the pushchair made me smile because the woman is far too old to have produced them. Maybe she is Granny! I think I prefer the colour scene because it appears brighter and the two have both a red hat and a yellow sign so they stand out well. I did think the woman on the right had a Tshirt which was a bit too noticeable so maybe tone that down.   Posted: 08/07/2022 09:51:07



 

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