You know those nature channels that show animals in their natural habitat, seemingly unfazed by the presence of the photographer? Until i heard about telephoto lenses, I always wondered why the lion didn’t ditch the gazelle carcass and just eat the guy with the camera.

Let’s take a look at these photos by Philip-Lorca diCorcia:

Head #9, 2000

Head #13, 2000

What time of day were the images taken? How did the photographer capture these images?

Believe it or not, these images were taken during the day in Times Square. The shadowed background is a result of strategically placed scaffolding. The camera doesn’t simply record the figure, it isolates the figure from the background with a mounted strobe flash. With the camera a fair distance away, the subjects are caught unaware.

Does a photographer need to know the people they photograph? Why did diCorcia chose these people?

The photographs are of people diCorcia does not know, he simply observes them on the street as they walk from place to place, and takes their picture. Their faces are quiet, lost in thought, a familiar commuter expression. A photographer doesn’t need to know the people they photograph, although it’s hard to predict how a stranger will react to having their photo taken.

Do the images suggest a narrative, an image before and a following image?

The people seem to be moving to and from work or home, caught between one place and another. Their clothing gives some partial information about their job or identity (a postal worker, an Orthodox Jew) but ultimately they are the commuter, the passer-by.

One of America’s leading photographers, Philip-Lorca diCorcia combines a documentary tradition with the fictional worlds of cinema and advertising to create a powerful link between reality, fantasy and desire. Alternating between the informality of the snapshot and the iconic quality of a staged composition, his play between real and artificial lighting, his eye for symbolic detail and his saturated colours give diCorcia’s street scenes and domestic interiors a psychological and emotional intensity (whitechapel.org)

Here’s an article that deals with the idea of street photography as an invasion of privacy

This site talks about diCorcia’s work and gives some additional points to consider when making photographs

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