NYThroughTheLens: Creating The Mood

Vivienne Gucwa


There are a series of decisions made while conceptualizing and shooting street photography. Some decisions are conscious and others are subconscious, fueled by influences and flights of imagination.

What mood are you trying to evoke? How does the shooting style lend to the mood? Will black and white or color add to or take away from the mood? Once you have found the backdrop, how do you know who the candid stars of your photo will be? Do you have an idea of the type of person you want to fill the narrative or do you take a variety of photos of various people walking by and then come up with a narrative later? Finally, when you look over your work after, how do you know which photo best represents all of the elements you were looking to capture? Is it a gut feeling or is there a precise method to figure out what works and what does not work?

When I shot this photo, I wanted to emphasize the way the cobblestones glistened in the summer heat and how beautiful the twinkling lights of oncoming cars were against the dark night. The car lights reminded me of fireflies. As I waited for the perfect candid stars of the photo to walk into the scene, I couldn't help but think of how this photograph would be perfect in black and white.

Summer nights in New York City are dreamlike. There is a romance in the lights and haze. When the perfect couple entered the scene, I couldn't help but think of this view as a still in a movie. Music would be playing and, as the couple walked out of the scene, the camera would linger on those slick cobblestones.

Check out more of Vivienne's work at her blog, NYThroughTheLens.



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