woman hanging laundry 311.
(photo credit: Maxim Reider)
Here is a great shot by Maxim Reider. He took it in Evora, a small town in Portugal.
Telling a Story
is one of the most important factors when thinking about taking
pictures. Without a story, a picture is just a snap. Maxim sent me this
grab shot and says: “Sometimes a simple snapshot mysteriously turns into
a storytelling photo. I just saw this old woman, made a photo, she
heard the click, turned to me, we both smiled to each other and
continued with our lives.”
This shot contains all of the qualities that all Good Pictures have in common:
1. Background – The washing line and flat wall background add to, rather than detract from the shot.
Awareness – The impersonal shape of the woman is echoed in the shapes
of the washing. Often the worst place to position a subject is the
center of the shot. Here it works and adds to the elegant simplicity of
3. Story – This is a compelling and amusing
“story”. It’s difficult not to be drawn in and become involved. The
woman and washing are static but I’m sure that at any moment I will see
her hand move, or she will start to bend down, lift her head, or at
least the breeze will ruffle something on the line!
Imagination – Usually a photographer’s imagination will instantly
suggest alternative angles that tell different stories. But you must be
aware when something special is happening and grasp that opportunity
while it lasts. Such a good shot demands that you stand your ground and
shoot as much as you can. Only then do you move position to find
5. Critique – We’ll be looking at how
photographers give themselves instant feedback before taking a shot,
while taking the shot, and after taking the shot. Although the shot is
excellent I can’t help hankering after a few slight variations – the
head square on, a glimpse of the hands, etc.
Maxim scores 100% for Background, Awareness, and Story, and 50% each for Imagination and critique.
you take such a good shot it can give you the courage of an Oliver
Twist to “ask for more." Photographers often use their cameras as a
passport to friendship and intimacy, but Maxim took only one shot and
the woman turned: “we both smiled to each other and continued with our
Here was a great opportunity to make friends and ask
permission (probably with friendly sign language) to take a few more
shots of hanging the washing. This would give the opportunity to fully
engage Steps 4 and 5, Imagination and Critique, and afterward take
alternative views. Perhaps Maxim would have been invited into the house
and have some extra unique opportunities to take other Good Pictures.
course we often don’t have time for this sort of photojournalistic
sightseeing. But be warned that the photography bug can turn a decent
holidaymaker into a liability as they constantly stop to take “just one
more shot”, or disappear with their camera when all their friends want
to do is to take snaps!