Stumbled on these store mannequins in Cue on the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane yesterday and knew I had to make a photo with them in it. The afternoon light was beautiful and there was a stream of people coming out of O’Malley’s Irish Pub next door. I knew I had to wait for a person with a particular look (to create a connection between the mannequins and the outside world) to walk past in a particular spot (to catch the light and to reflect in the glass) to complete the picture. Thankfully it was only about five minutes (much to the delight of my wife, who was waiting for me on a bench nearby). I may have waited longer, but the changing light means that this image could only be taken in about a fifteen-minute window.
I quite like this one. Even the store name – Cue – makes me think of a smooth, round white cue ball (like the mannequins’ heads, as well as that of the man walking by), and the fact that the guy walked into my composition right on cue.
Street photography really is a combination of skill and luck, as well as anticipation. You can’t wait until something happens to capture it on film (or sensor), you need to anticipate the moment before it does so that by the time you react and press that shutter button, the moment is there. I’d love to say I have perfected the anticipation and fast reaction skills, but it’s something that seems elusively just out of grasp more times than not.
The day I feel I’ve truly mastered everything will be the day I put my camera down for good. Even the masters are driven by that desire to create something more magical and perfect than they have already. It’s the quest for those things just beyond us that keeps us striving to be better in our craft, regardless of how much we’ve already attained.