Thought & Story behind Photograph #4

Man with binocular at the Cheltenham festival (Copyright © All rights reserved Jerome Lorieau)

Here is a photograph taken at Cheltenham during the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. It was the most important day of the festival and so the whole place was crowded. The most difficult exercise when you work in a crowded environment is to deal with the constant movement of people. It occasionally makes it difficult to identify potential subjects and forms/contents that will work together. In this context, it sometimes helps to be able to isolate a subject to get the most of it and avoid disturbing content. During an event like this one, my eyes never stopped looking and they probably saw more than I realised. When I walked near this man, I almost compulsively shot at him. I didn’t want to miss the moment. I liked his position, his attitude and his facial expression. He was perfectly dressed for the event with the right accessories. However, the time you take to see a subject and take a picture often only lasts for 2 or 3 seconds. I don’t think it is enough to be aware of every detail that is in the frame. In an unstaged image when things happen quickly, you have to trust your subconscious. I took one shot of him deciding to centre him in the frame while getting close enough to him in order to not get any distractions and to frame him properly (well maybe two. I deleted the previous photo on the contact sheet so I am not sure). In my opinion, what helps to make the picture work (apart from his classic attitude) is that he is isolated from the rest of the crowd, busy looking in the opposite direction. There is no distraction coming from the background. The fact that he is in the centre of the frame creates a kind of symmetry thanks to his body’s position, the position of the binoculars and it allows the viewer to only focus on him. I was probably lucky in this image that the colour tones of each item of clothing were similar.