Turning a Street Photo into Art

April 21, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

For my first blog post, I want to share a technique I like to use for turning a street photo into art - the use of reflections. I was first captured by this street scene with dazzling purple and red lights draped across the trees, and as I moved closer to compose the image, something else caught my eye. The lights were reflected on the roof of a car parked by the road. These made a perfect addition to the composition, balancing the lights in the treetops. The drizzle of jewels also gave a sense of mystery. 

Drops of Jupiter and Mars *Drops of Jupiter and Mars *Scene of trees draped in red and purple lights, outshining the well-dressed mannequins beyond, with drops of coloured jewels sprinkling down.

 

Some viewers have found this image to be too busy and complicated, and suggested cropping out the lights, keeping only the mannequins in the store windows. To me, making such a crop would lose the entire meaning of the image. Without the lights and reflections, this would just be a capture of a street scene, not an artistic interpretation. On the other hand, others have found this to be an intriguing image. A family physician chose this image for his office’s waiting area. The photograph serves dual purposes on that wall, both as art and to give his patients something to think about, relieving their minds from anxiety - how was this image made? What are the drops of lights beneath the trees? 

What are your thoughts - do you like the image including the lights and their reflections?

Another example of using reflections to enhance an image is that of the residential towers reflected in a water feature (below left), adding a surreal feel to the street scene. Or making a photo of reflections only, such as the image of a banner and surrounding buildings reflected in a pond of water (below right). The ripples in the water transformed the words on the banner into "Subliminal Messages", and interesting abstract shapes are formed. 

Reflections on Urban LivingReflections on Urban LivingReflections of residential towers in water feature.

Subliminal MessagesSubliminal MessagesReflections of a banner in the ripples of a water feature turn into subliminal messages and abstract art forms. When you go out to shoot street photography, keep your eyes open for interesting reflections, whether in ponds or puddles of water, on windows, mirrors, metallic surfaces or car roofs - they can turn an ordinary street scene into an art piece.


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