Cast of Shadows
On numerous occasions I have turned on up an assignment and stood about scratching my head, trying to figure out how I am going to turn what I see in front of me into a picture. Not to say that the following technique is a gimmick. Far from it. If you try and pull this one off and get it wrong, it will, take my word for it, look abysmal. The use of shadows in pictures is not the first picture the wire photographer will shoot when turning up to an assignment, but if the light is right, and the light has definitely got to be right, it can turn an ordinary news conference, sporting situation, or political doorstep into an unusual picture. If pictures stand out and get noticed on the wire against the hundreds of others that are seen daily by the sub editors on the world’s picture desks,then half the battle is won. Graphic eye catching images always stand out, no matter how small the monitor’s thumbnail size.
Loathe as I am to fill a blog with my own pictures, here are a selection of photographs that I have taken in the last decade that hopefully illustrate the point.The first couple of sport pictures come from the beach volleyball at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It was the first time the sport had been included unofficially in an Olympics and was set on Bondi beach The potential for pictures was huge and with the light at midday and sunset being equally effective for shadows, both these pictures were possible.
The next news picture involved a lengthy doorstep in Downing Street where the story also required a security picture.This was lit with television lights where every half hour the policeman would pace up and down the street, passing the door for a split second. This took many attempts before getting it right. The second picture was shot at a mass grave in Iraq where the shadow of the pointing hand was completetly fortuitous.
These three press conference pictures show Microsoft supremo Bill Gates, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak Britain’s then Chancellor Gordon Brown in action, lit again with daylight television lights.