Light vs Dark
This October I hosted the first
Halloween Street Photography
workshop here in NYC. The
ice storm cleared and the
parade went off without a hitch.
The costumes were out of this
world as thousand of people
descended on the West Village.
It went so well that another one is
already scheduled for next year.
| Through Ice, Sleet, & Snow |
The day before the workshop was scheduled to start, the weather men were predicting a quick snow storm. It was hardly headline worthy, until it arrived and covered the North East in a layer of ice. The trees, which were still full of leaves, knocked down power lines, disrupted train service and brought the roads to a crushing halt. By Saturday morning all train service into NYC was cancelled till at least Tuesday?! Almost all of the participants were coming from out of state and the only one who arrived early was Cyrus. He flew in from London a day early. As it turned out, no one else, not even Jonathan Wagner from Ilford, could make it into the city. In a way it was disappointing, but on the other hand Cyrus was about to get a one-on-one workshop at a group rate. He was thrilled!
| Back To Basics |
With the rest of the participants on hold till the next workshop in the Spring, we focused on Cyrus’s current work and his future goals. He is no stranger to photography or workshops. He’s been taking pictures for over thirty years and he took Jay Meisel’s Workshop, on the Bowery, twice before. But even after years of shooting and plenty of coaching, there were a few areas he wanted to improve. In most cases, he knew something was wrong, but could not pin point the problem. I told him, “No worries, that is what I am here for. We will get you seeing in a totally new way.”
In the lectures we really concentrated on his figure to ground relationships and his lighting. The goal was to create more 3D images by understanding how to spot good lighting situations, be patient and capture great images without running around like a chicken with its head cut off. The Halloween Parade in the Village was designed to be the culmination of the teaching because it feeds a constant stream of lunatics past the lens. Everyone is an exhibitionist on Halloween, which makes it an ideal place to practice Street Photography techniques.
| Practice Field |
Before the Parade, Cyrus and I went to some of my favorite spots on the westside and deep in lower Chinatown. We found men doing Tai-Chi with real swords and tables of gamblers shouting and screaming over cards. I wanted to give Cyrus a constant setting, where he could wander around, find better angles, and weave through the crowds to practiced the techniques we discussed. Many of the techniques are discussed here on the website, but Cyrus said it was much easier to learn in person. And since we were a group of two, I was able to scout out pictures for him and show him exactly how I would shoot the scene. Many of the design techniques I showed him were never covered in other workshops and I was happy to fill in the gaps. I look forward to seeing new images from Cyrus, now that he is back on his home turf in London.
In the meantime, here are a few highlights from the Halloween Street Photography workshop. And for everyone who was unable to make it, have no fear. There will be a new workshop schedule posted in January for the 2012 schedule.