Friday, April 19, 2013

An Artist of the Floating World

When I asked this artist in Italian yesterday evening if I could take some photos of him he answered without pausing in his sketching. What attracted my attention to him in the first place was his full engagement with what he was doing.

I saw him again this evening: not far from the same spot, but setting up an easel and paints this time, and largely obscured amid the greenery of the Giardini Pubblici, protected from the foot traffic on the riva by the park's black wrought iron fence.

I didn't bother him this evening. It was after six again, when the sun seems to pick up speed in its descent and the light changes every few seconds--and it would have been a shame for me to distract him from a moment of it all.


  1. I prefer to shoot such scenes with long lens (55-200). People change when they are aware of being photographed. But of course I shoot only the people who are in their public mode: walking the streets, etc.

    1. I watched this artist for a while before taking any photos--or asking him to--and he was so intent upon what he was doing that his manner didn't change after I asked him. I'm not always sure how I feel about taking people's photos without their permission, but I find it so interesting to watch people do whatever it is they're engaged in that it's hard to resist--especially when the light is beautiful.

      I don't have a long telephoto and imagine it would be quite useful, but perhaps I feel more comfortable being closer to the person I'm photographing? I don't know...

    2. I plan to invent some sort of routine for asking people if it's OK if I photograph them - some gesture probably, something not making it look as a big deal.
      Yesterday I had a chance to shoot a portrait of girl at a train platform - she was
      illuminated by sunset so beautifully! And there was no chance of shooting from a distance. I didn't approach her - and I regret it.

      Luckily, half an hour later I've made a photo in my usual style, and it seems interesting.

    3. You're idea of a wordless gesture, Sasha, seems like a promising one; I'll have to think about that, too. And I know the regret of not asking to photograph someone when the light is so marvelous--and transient--that it seems a shame to miss the chance. But then it's much easier to ask a person of a certain age, like the above artist, who's actively doing something to take his pic than to approach a younger person who simply happens to be in an ideal place with ideal light to take her pic.

      That's a beautiful pic you provide the link for; wonderful light and color and composition.

    4. Thank you! It seems I still prefer shooting with long lens - the emotions that are caught this way are more immediate. Got myself a 55-300 lens instead of 55-200 recently, this kind of street photography seems to be the best for me.

    5. I've never used such a long lens. I'm still learning the shorter ones, but some day...