Category: Street Photography
Jeff Clouet’s image “Path to the Heavens” is a strong example of using leading lines and a vanishing point to convey both movement and depth in a scene. The bright light at the top of the escalator acts as the vanishing point, conjuring up imagery of the “light at the end of the tunnel” and other symbolic concepts. Meanwhile, it also leaves it up to the viewer to imagine what is there. The photographer’s choices in where to place the lines in the scene result in movement that draws your eye through the composition to this point.
Regardless of the photography genre, I return often to the concept of the “decisive moment”, and nowhere in my opinion is that more important than in street photography. I think this image perfectly illustrates how much an image can change from the smallest of things. I imagine, like most of us would, the photographer probably took a series of shots as the escalator rider boarded, and rode it to the top. Most people getting on an escalator aren’t going to freeze in place, we look around, change position, etc. What would this image be if the woman’s head is not turned, or her arm is not raised to hold the rail? The raised arm and slight head turn which reveals the eyeglasses, give this person shape and dimension. Without that, we have a somewhat shapeless figure. This simple change in posture makes this figure into a woman riding the escalator, and although she remains anonymous in silhouette, it’s this simple moment that defines the scene..