The Street Car on Lakeshore
Every so often you take a photograph and by doing so, you remove yourself from the creative process. If you’re not sure what that means, then consider this: Most of the time when it comes to a photograph, there are two people involved, namely the photographer and the person viewing the picture. But sometimes the picture creates itself – the moment presents itself to a person whom just happens to be holding a camera at the time. Streetcar on Lakeshore was one of those moments.
Of course, it is still up to the photographer to recognise these moments when they spontaneously arrive. I like to think that I have two kinds of vision. There’s the normal vision that almost all of us have that allows us to go about our daily business, but then there’s a very separate kind of vision that some of us seem to have. It’s an eye that allows us to spot spontaneous moments and recognise them as instances of time that deserve to be captured forever. It’s almost as if everything within the visible environment has worked together to compose something unique that deserves to be treasured forever.
It’s really a magical moment when this happens to me. Something seems to capture my attention, and that sense of inner vision takes over. It’s like there’s a tiny moment of realisation or dawning and I know that I have to capture that precise configuration before the composition is gone for good.
This is what happened to me one morning as I was walking down to Lakeshore Boulevard. I’d mistakenly ventured further that morning than I had intended and was heading home, feeling quite tired. I was crossing the streetcar tracks when I had one of those moments that I described above. I took a few seconds to compose my photograph, then took the picture, thinking little more about it as I continued my journey home.
It was only when I reviewed the photo in post-processing that the true nature of what I’d captured really came to me. I’ve always had a fondness for cityscapes, and turning what would typically be a somewhat boring everyday scene into something vibrant became my aim. I feel the colours match up with each other perfectly – the colours mainly being reds, yellows, oranges and golden browns. Because I love leading lines I also like the slight off-centre framing of the streetcar tracks as they hurry off into the distance before sneaking left. I positioned the streetcar tracks here because, although not obvious, the streetcar was moving and I had only a couple of seconds before it went out of my frame.
If I wanted proof that my “inner eye” was the one at work, I only had to look in the top left hand corner of the shot. I freely admit that I only noticed that the construction warning sign was upside down during post-processing. In fact I did a double-take when I did notice it, and for a split second thought I was imagining it. During my walk, and during the time I was composing, framing and finally taking the shot, I hadn’t noticed that the sign was upside down at all! I do wonder if, unconsciously, this “inner eye” noticed the sign and decided it would give my streetcar photograph a little extra nuance of character, whilst my normal vision disregarded it completely. A photographer friend said to me that you never quite know what you’ve captured until you review in post. I agree with her 100%.
As our famous photographic friend, Ansel Adams, once said:
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
Well, I certainly feel this was one shot my “inner eye” definitely made! As followers of my blog will know, I love art photographs that have a interesting story behind them. I’d like to think it helps the viewer understand the “why” of a particular photograph or art print. I know that every time I see this wonderful shot of the streetcar on Lakeshore, the distinctive circumstances regarding its composition will come flooding back to me, and that makes me very happy!