How many stories can an image tell?

Pensive | Cremona | 2016

What drives my  Street Photography is my genuine interest in people and life. The desire to capture a genuine moment of everyday life and preserve it for the future. A snapshot of a fleeting moment of a person’s life that exists only in the very moment I press the shutter and will never repeat itself again. Physically maybe, because the old man I photographed here might actually always be sitting in this very church bench. But how he felt and what he thought in this exact moment was genuine to it.

What was he feeling, what was he thinking in this moment? This is not a photo that I look at and think it is a nice and photographically pleasing image. And then move on to the next. This is a photograph that whenever I look at it I ask myself the same questions over again. Why was he there? What was he feeling, thinking? Why was he alone? Was he sad? Was he tired? Was he just seeking a moment of contemplation and calmness in the buzz of a Saturday morning in the city?

This is why I love Street Photography. How many stories can an image tell?

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27 thoughts on “How many stories can an image tell?

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  1. Beautiful and powerful image, from composition to mood, gesture, body language, expression on his face. Love the colors and the way they work, together, to tell the story. And speaking of stories that an image can tell, he looks like a guy with many, many interesting stories to tell. Awesome shot! Thanks for sharing!

  2. That is a priceless moment you were able to capture. And this is a brilliant photograph of loneliness. It’s so difficult to portrait loneliness in photography. You did it so successfully.

    I love this photo very, very much!

  3. Love the picture and I love your description of street photography. I want to do more of this but my everyday life doesn’t really permit it. I can’t remember if I posted on my blog about the street photography workshop I attended in NYC. It was a great day and I came away with a couple of thought provoking images.

    1. Hi Vicki, thanks so much for your kind words. I don’t remember I’ve seen a blog post about this workshop. I’d love to one in NYC. And to hear from your experiences. Have a great weekend!Marcus

  4. Oh dieses Bild erzählt tatsächlich ne ganze Menge… Und du hast schon Recht, das ist es, was an der Streetfotografie und am Motiv Mensch ansich tatsächlich unglaublich spannend ist… Immer wieder und jedes mal aufs neue darf interpretiert werden. Die Geschichten dahinter, die Motive, die Stimmung… Sehr schön!

  5. I love how you explained street photography.
    I stared at this picture for a while before I read your text. So many feels coming from this photograph. Then I read your text and it fits perfectly together.

  6. This is a great image of a moment in time and provides much for us to ponder about this man and this moment in his life. I struggled to take this kind of photo and I am envious of your ability here. When you take this kind of image do you have a feeling of imposition on such a man’s life in that he maybe wants a moment to himself and perhaps you have interrupted that or somehow stolen something from him in his desired solitude?

    1. Thanks so much, I really appreciate your comment as it allows me to explain more the moral aspects of my Street Photography. I think that in general, with each photo we take of someone, regardless if they are relatives, friends or strangers, we “steal” a snapshot of them and their life in this moment, for ours to keep, regardless if it is to preserve a fond memory, the magic of a treasured moment or for any other, potentially more obscure reason a photographer might have.

      This shouldn’t be any issue at all if the subjects we photograph are aware of the fact someone takes their picture and consent to it. If someone is aware and does not consent (showing displeasure through acts, words or just by looking), it’s quite easy for me, because then I don’t take the photo.

      Then there is another simple rule I adhere to. I never take photos of people in situations were I myself would not like to be photographed in. For example, I don’t take pictures of homeless or begging people (you see this a lot from “Street Photographers”).

      For people I photograph and that are not aware of my activities, like this old man in the church, I always make a conscious decision if it is ok in this moment to snap away prior to pressing the shutter. In this case, it would have been wrong to disturb his pensive mood, maybe his prayer. But as you can see from the compressed perspective, I was shooting from behind a column at the far end of the focal length of my travel zoom (150mm m4/3 = 300mm full frame equivalent). There was no way he was seeing me and the PEN-F was in silent mode. I wanted to capture the magic of this scene without disturbing him. Taking the picture without disturbing him was ok for me. I wouldn’t have minded someone shooting unnoticed a photo of me in that situation.

      Hope that helps to put my approach to Street Photography into perspective.

      Thanks! Marcus

      1. Thanks for the reply and I am glad you have already considered these thoughts; your approach is a good one in my opinion.
        I’m interested you are using the Pen-F; I recently changed to one from a Canon dSLR and I’m loving it.

  7. You are absolutely right and besides your honest capture of that very moment, it is also your words that give great insight and tell a story. It’s a story of a man who cares deeply, who looks deeper with compassion and doesn’t only see the superficial, the outer appearance, the first glance. Not many people take that time being so consumed with their own lives and to pause for a moment and look beyond ourselves is a gift you have my friend.
    And what I see in the image is a man that is surrendering to the only place he knows to be reassured. He might have been tested and I detect a little skepticism, but he has faith and he is here, in the place that can help him find his way.
    A picture does speak a thousand words, but not everybody can hear them. Great job….❤️

    1. Thanks for your kind words, they really mean a lot to me, coming from someone who is so consciously thinking and writing about life and people ❤️ and who cares so deeply about all aspects of life. I believe we can only live a blessed life if we look beyond ourselves and care about the lives around us, through whatever means. Thanks again and have a great Friday, my friend!

      1. Thank you very much Marcus, I couldn’t agree more and the true meaning of life is so much bigger than ourselves. And in a way by living this motto we become enriched in so many ways out of our control. I know that you understand what I’m saying and I’m beyond humbled by your kind words. It is people like you who make the difference and why I wanted to share my own experiences.
        Off to work for me and wishing you a peaceful, restful weekend. ❤️ hugs.

  8. Exactly. I have pictures that I keep coming back to for similar reasons yet they are not of sufficiently good photographic quality for me to post on my blog. They just take me back to a specific time which has meaning to me as I try to understand the world around me.
    You explained it better. 😉

  9. That’s a great shot! I’ve looked at it a few minutes now. I think he has a lot of faith- and he is in the right place. 🙂 That’s what I like to think. Beautiful picture.

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