Portraiture in Unexpected Places / by Mark Van Noy

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 There are opportunities for photography all around us.  Sure we all inherently understand this.  So why even write about it?  I hope to provide perhaps a tiny bit of inspiration by relating one of my finds.  There are lots of books and articles concerning composition and seeing things people do not normally notice then using photography to really pull out those details.  All of that advice is great and I strongly encourage everyone to play around with composition as it always pays dividends.  I however, enjoy taking pictures of people more than pictures of landscapes of abstract compositions of color, texture, lines, and so on.

 On a recent business trip to Boston that had nothing to do with photography I decided to bring some camera gear along and take a self guided tour of this historic city in the evenings after work.  I am not comfortable with street photography so people seemed to be an option I would not get on this trip.  I took some requisite shots of the Boston skyline, interesting buildings, and the water.  At Paul Revere’s home I saw the normal tourists taking snapshots of his home.  I, too, took a picture and almost immediately deleted it because his historic home is wedged in among modern architecture.  So I switched to taking pictures of the cobblestones making up the preserved road in front of his house as that was more interesting to me.

 I was mostly ready to just put the camera away and tour like a traditional tourist; since I was a tourist.  I then came across a sculpture near a subway entrance by my hotel and decided I needed to come back after dark.  With the yellow/orange glow of the streetlights, the sculpture of Polish underground fighters during World War II took on a much richer quality than it had during the day.  While most of the city was snug in their beds, I went out to the sculpture, tripod in hand, and started shooting long exposures.  I probably saw at least 200 people walk right past this sculpture during the day and not even glance at it; I found some very cooperative portrait models.