By Levi Shand
What do you mean, “emotion”?
On the face of it, this challenge seems pretty straightforward. The idea is to shoot a candid street photograph wherein the bearing element is a person expressing an emotion. Any emotion at all is valid: happiness, excitement, surprise, anger, sorrow, confusion…any point on the spectrum would work, save emotions in the “restive face” range. A viewer should be able to see the image you make and with relative ease categorize the emotion on display.
How do I capture candid displays of emotion?
Robert Capa said it best, and I’ll paraphrase it: get close. This challenge is as much about courage as it is about making a compliant image. It’s difficult to make an image that features emotion from a great distance, unless you’re using a tele. Imagine this: you are framing up the play of light and shadow among some interesting architecture, and a happy person enters the frame and jumps for joy. In a case like that, where two themes (architecture and human emotion) compete for visibility, you must ask yourself: is this image carried by its background (arguably one of its subjects) or by the tiny, leaping human (another subject candidate)? If it’s unclear, re-read the challenge brief: the image must be carried by the emotion shown by a subject. While an image of either type may be good or bad, the former image would not be considered compliant.
So, get close. If you aren’t comfortable taking candid pictures at near distances, practice different methods of hip-shooting. However you do it, at least try.
Here are some examples from my picture library to help you on your way: