A Single Street Photo: The Blind Man (2008)

Candid street photography of a blind man, with white stick, walking past underwear clad models in a window display in Madrid, Spain.

I thought it would be interesting to tell a little more about some of my favourite street photos from over the years. So that’s what my new A Single Street Photo series is all about.  After all, photo series and projects can be interesting but there’s also a certain power in single street images.

So I’m starting with an oldie called The Blind Man from back in 2008. I was on a short break in the Spainish capital Madrid and had taken a little time out to go and shoot some street photography.

I’d spotted these shop windows with huge underwear models in on a side street.  However, in between me, on one side of the street, and the shop on the other was the entrance to an underground car park which prevented me getting in any closer – and also meant I couldn’t really cut out the railings on either side.

So I wasn’t going to bother at first, after all shooting street photos of random passers-by juxtaposed against advertising is one of street photography’s well trodden path of cliche.  But, as I was about to walk away and find something altogether more interesting, a blind man complete with a white “seeing” stick came tapping his way up on the other side of the street.

Suddenly it wasn’t just a random meaningless shot, but one that personally conveyed something quite powerful and interesting.  The women posing in a very sexual and alluring way but completely unseen by the passer-by.  It’s a real moment of contrast and in some way a comment on advertising and sexuality.

Of course, as with all the best street photography, luck played a huge part in this – right place, right time and all of that.  I also had time to think about how I was going to compose the “moment”, so decided I would place him in between the windows.

No it’s not perfect – the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough to completely freeze him, but I kind of like that slight blurring of him in that it conveys movement.  Also, in my defence, the side street was quite shady, so light wasn’t great and I was shooting with a fairly basic Canon bridge compact which didn’t have the fastest lens on it.

Funnily enough, I actually forgot about the image at the time and it wasn’t until I did a review of my archives a few years ago did I stumble across it again.  This all goes to demonstrate the importance of not deleting old work and reviewing old stuff from time to time. You just never know what you may have overlooked.

You can see more of my candid street photography work, like this, on my website: http://www.dlehanestreet.co.uk

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