photocritique by philip n. douglis, abc, iabc fellow
Timing, anticipation and an understanding of human
nature are essential to frame the work and the worker
take your best shot
Email photos for possible
use in this column to
The Douglis Visual Workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The workplace can be found all around us by going beyond the limitations of offices, shops and factories
to extend into the streets. We can
make expressive images of people at
work on those streets by calling on the
same photographic instincts used by
photojournalists: timing, anticipation,
symbolization and an understanding
of human nature itself.
Here are three photographs I made
on the streets of cities in Brazil, Turkey
and France. Each of them tells a different story of the work at hand.
Balloon vendor, Belém, Brazil
The streets of steamy Belém, at the
mouth of the Amazon River, are a
workplace for this balloon vendor.
I found him as he retreated into the
shadows to savor a cold drink. I built
this image around its primary colors
—the vendor’s brilliant red clothing,
the red and blue balloons, and the
yellow brick road. The colors symbolize the playful nature of the balloons
themselves. The shadows conceal an
approaching child, invisible to the
vendor as he enjoys his soda. Will
that child stop to buy a balloon?