I am a London-based street photographer and spend most of my time capturing the everyday hustle and bustle of cities worldwide. Although I have explored photography in other countries, I always come back to London, the city I find most enchanting. I usually walk between different spots in London and wait for a single person to come into the frame.
I was on the brink of completing one of my projects and was inspired to start a new one that focused on working with shadows cast by the people who occupy this great city. On this particular day, I wandered to King’s Cross Station, known for its stunning glass ceilings that cast spectacular geometric patterns on the floor. A hub in the center of London that is rich with culture and beauty.
I arrived a little after 9 a.m., one of the busiest times when everyone was just starting their day, but one that allowed me to find the correct position for my shot without getting overwhelmed by the heat. King’s Cross is also a prime spot for capturing people from all walks of life going about their day. I knew this would allow me to find the right person and position for my frame.
I found a spot to stand and set my Q2 monochrome to F16 with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. I have my ISO set to automatic (the Leica Q2 monochrome, like all Leica monochromes, can handle and embrace high ISO, so I have a maximum of 3600ish). Standing there with crowds of commuters and travelers, I pointed my camera down and started shooting.
While many would believe capturing a shadow would be easy, I stood there for quite some time, waiting for clean shadows not tainted by feet or a stray suitcase. I am used to doing this and was pleased I was not stuck in a dirty corner and could embrace the sunshine for once. After a while, a maintenance worker came into the frame carrying a step ladder. I quickly got the image! It was perfect.
I have always worked with back-and-white photography using my Leica Q2 Monochrome, as this allows me to start with a tremendous contrasting image that requires little processing for the final result. This particular frame is one that I am very proud of and is one of my favorites. It defines the kind of work that I love. Work with an element of mystery. Work that ignites your imagination. The viewer creates the story of the person in the photograph, which is different for everyone. Perspective is critical in photography, and I always aim to develop frames where the perspectives are endless. Images that show something different to every person who sees it.
What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!
A sense of mystery and wonderful contrast.
If you could make this photo again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?
I would probably move my camera to the left to get more of the subject in the frame. That being said, I’m completely happy with this image.
Paul Batchelor shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.
Paul Batchelor, London, UK
Equipment and settings
Leica Q2 Monochrome
f/16, 1/500 sec., Auto ISO
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