“For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film…if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better.”
– Garry Winogrand, street photographer
A documentary photo is part of a fluid life event. The photographer chooses to freeze a moment in time. However, there are many more frames than the one he places in front of us. This docu-frame is part of a sequence, a scene in a longer narrative. We, the viewers, are invited, sometimes provoked, to enter the screenplay, to pick up a pen and participate. Should we choose, we get to tell the rest of the story.
The photo above intends a mood, a tone. You can simply view it as a flat statement of urban life, or you can explore the streets with wonder. Who are these people? What will they be doing an hour from now? What and who will I find at the end of the street? You can imagine the time of day, the weather, and the smells in the air.
A photograph of beautiful flower makes us feel good. A silly cat photo makes us laugh. A child’s smile warms our heart. A sunset evokes peace. But rarely do we think about what happened before or what the scene will look like later. We are content with the solitary captured moment.
This is not usually the case with documentary photography. We are not content. We wonder.
This photo was shot from a speeding bus in downtown Havana, Cuba. It depicts an old Havana and represents the decay, depression, and destitution that hit Cuba when the fall of the Soviet Union cut off vital imports and financial subsidies.
I hope you will enjoy as well as participate in this collection. I invite you to write your own historical fiction.