Shooting in Layers

The other day, I made a rather last minute trip to the mall. I'd had a morning fraught with gear failure; with both my earbuds and my laptop's charging cable giving out within the space of a few hours, and so pretty much more than anything else at that particualar moment I wanted to get my charger replaced. Something about having the reassurance that I have all the gear that I need on me sustainably is intensely vital to my state of mind. If something of mine is malfunctioning, it really bugs me and I sort of freak out a little bit. Maybe I'll write a blog post about it, but what I'm really here to talk about is shooting. 

So I headed to the mall, got my charger replaced from Apple with no hassle whatsoever ( I swear their customer support is the best on the planet ) before going over to Pacsun and picking up a couple pairs of pants and a belt. Once I finished with both of those tasks, I decided that I'd take the few minutes left I had before it was time to leave and do some street shooting there in the mall; and thats where the interesting part of the afternoon began.

The interesting part was that something about shooting in the mall made me really think about and be more aware of the backgrounds, elements and layers that made up the rest of the photo besides the subject. Sure, when I usually shoot I pay attention to what's in the background a little, but this felt distinctly different and even more aware of my surroundings. Several shots had me framing elements of the store or architecture with the subjects and while they didn't all turn out as decent shots, at least one or two did.

Here's this shot of two women standing parallel on the different layers of an escalator going up to two different floors. I noticed both of them and took the shot, not quite as quickly as I'd have liked, but it still contained the layers I saw when I was envisioning the shot, and that's something new for me.


This is probably my favorite photo of the shoot. It's a picture of a man I saw strolling along while talking on the phone. He didn't seem especially happy, maybe even a little grumpy if I'm honest and he was standing in front of the Apple Store which I thought was a little humerous. It sort of told a story, like that he didn't like his iPhone, or wasn't happy with his current phone and wanted an iPhone, or something like that. The point is that the different layers in the picture helped tell a narrative and make the shot more interesting, and I think that that's a major part of getting good at street photography.

I think the next time I go out to shoot, whether if it's in a mall or just out on the streets like normal, I'll be looking for those layers and trying to encorporate them into my images. It's a skill that I'm looking forward to experimenting with, and I bet it'll just get better and better with practice.

Until next time,