Collecting – shooting, processing and selection

I tried to represent different types of crowd gathering for this assignment. Some of the pictures were taken during my workday, and they show people commuting en masse to and from work, by foot or by bus, but I also wanted to show the same crowd on a different setting, which is when they wind down at the end of the day and go to the Pub. The Pub crowd is clearly more organic and fluid than the commuting crowd, which is very organized, focused and ruthless.

I also went into specific locations where I expected to find crowds: in museums, popular public places and coffee shops. While all the crowds I encountered in these places were essentially undertaking leisure activities, they ranged from the chaotic to the highly organized in terms of behaviour, and from being quite compact to being essentially scattered. Many of the people in these crowds show highly individualistic behaviour while being part of a group or class of people (eg  people reading or playing games on a mobile phone). The challenge for me was to find those who stood-out within the crowd, sometimes subtly, to capture that moment.

The pictures were taken across 8 separate photographic sessions from the 8th to the 24th of September. As previously advised, only telephoto lenses were used (a 90mm equivalent and a 100mm) and all were set at an equivalent aperture of f/5.6. Post-processing was limited to minor cropping, correcting of perspective when desirable, and correcting for highlight / white / black point issues. No cloning was used and all pictures are presented in their original colours.

In making the final selection for this assignment, I wanted to show as many of the different types of crowd that I managed to capture and to try to connect them both aesthetically and functionally (with the latter being in the context of what the people were doing within the crowd). One of the deciding factors in making the selection was to identify those pictures where there is something unusual going own, eg somebody looking back at the photographer or looking in a different direction from everybody else (this is being influenced by Alex Prager and Garry Winogrand’s work, which I researched for this assignment). Another deciding factor was to find pictures were the subjects are “layered” in as much as they appear in different planes of the picture, differentiated subtly by the relatively narrow depth of field used (inspired by Allan Sekula’s work, which I also researched for this).

The final selection includes 10 pictures. Two of them are presented individually and 8 are paired. The pairing was done primarily on the basis of pictures sharing common aesthetic elements, but I also tried to show them together as classes (for instance, there are two pictures together of tourist crowds). The pairs are anchored by two pictures of city workers, first commuting and later relaxing at the Pub, which also happen to be sequence of events (morning rush and evening wind down). This again was inspired by Allan Sekula’s work researched for this assignment. The final selection is included in the PDF attached below, and it is best viewed by setting the PDF reader to show two pages side by side.

Collecting final selection PDF


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