UPDATE: here is an image from sometime ago that I re-discovered while looking through my files. When you’re in my blog, its certainly best to click onto this image, to open a larger version in a separate window.
People being photographed on the promenade at Lyme Regis, Dorset; 5 Nov 2009.
I rarely photograph people that I do not know, but here is an exception. We were lounging in a shelter beside the promenade at Lyme when these people stopped in front of us – and unwittingly offered me a photograph of both the photographed and the photographer – I had time for one frame. This is in some ways a strange shot, and some things can be surmised from it.
Structurally, it has three distinct planes. First, the camera is looking out from behind the low wall of the shelter, with a view harshly and uncompromisingly cut through by the shelter’s thick railings, which are in dark silhouette. Beyond this, the people are standing on the sunny promenade, which is itself bounded by yet more railings, this time lower, gentler and sunlit. And beyond this second set of railings is the sea, bluish and gentle, with a few wavelets. The distribution of people in the photo is also odd: the main subjects of the picture are towards its left and right edges – and, between and below them, an unknown, headless figure walks on the (virtually unseen) shingle of the beach.
Then, some things can be surmised about the people themselves. First, they are having their photo taken in time honoured seaside fashion, squinting into almost painfully bright, low angle sunlight. The aim here is not to achieve a quality portrait of the group, but rather a quick memento of a happy day out together in the sunshine.
Next, they are relations: the two women are sisters and these are their men / partners / husbands. The elder sister is nearest us, and her man is the photographer (from the photo, this could in fact be a third woman, but I remember that it was a man). The man standing next to her is with her younger sister, and he has his arm flung over her younger sister’s shoulders. Because her man is taking the photo, the elder sister feels slightly alone, and so puts her arm through that of her sister’s man, to feel and look more a part of the group.
D700 with long end of 24mm-120mm Nikkor lens; 400 ISO.