I love living statues, but I always find myself without a dime in my pocket when I see one and I struggle with photographing them without giving them any money. I’ve always struggled with exploiting people/artists/victims of crime or accidents or tragedy for a photo. Which is weird considering I discretely photograph random strangers going about their lives when I travel locally and internationally almost everyday and I never feel awkward about that. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s discrete and I haven’t done anything with them yet. There is something intriguing about people/strangers immersed in their own life, unaware that: they are being watched, that someone finds something about them or the way that they occupy space interesting and that they are being photographed while unaware.
I also never want to just photograph the living statue, I want to photograph the interaction of living statues and gawking tourists, amused children or the indifference of the locals just going about there day getting from one place to another in the midst of the crowds surrounding the living statue the way I see it with my eyes: the statue, their near obnoxious full-body greasy & powdered make-up/costumes, their donation pail, the city corner they’re working, the time of day, the temperature, the ebb and flow of the audience, the moment their eyes eyes come to rest on me, piercing, but silent… And even then, they’re just snapshots of people that look like statues, busking. And then I tried photographing one with the Hasselblad Xpan (using a 45mm lens – which is 24mm in panoramic mode). What a difference. A 24 x 65 mm negative is a time traveling format that fits in a lightweight street camera.
I’ve always meant to return to re-shoot this scene with the xpan. I was pleased with my results, the contrast of the red & yellow street accents and the grey buildings, but I always wonder if they would be stronger compositions if the weather/light had been just a little brighter.
2 thoughts on “The Copper Cowboy”
I really enjoyed your ‘explanation’ here, as I often feel caught in the same trap of immersed-interest IN interest, while still wanting to accurately capture the entire scene (emotional accuracy). Photos are bang-on, great work
This was a few years ago. I remember.Its me.