The old woman in St.Peters

The Old Woman

A photo by Michael Ging

(A note by the Photographer

I first saw this woman at St. Peters square in Rome during the day.There were people who would come up to her and kneel with her to pray and then they would give her some money. I did not think this was to time, or place to photograph her, so I went on.The woman was very small (about 3 ft tall) and had clubbed feet. I never saw her face. As I was going to dinner as the sun was setting I was walking down this street as she was walking up. The light was beautiful giving texture to the cobble stone street. I took 4 photos as she passed me. I then gave a shop keeper who was watching me photograph her 5 euros ,which he gave to her. I felt with the beautiful light that God wanted me to take this photo.I do not mean this in a religious sense ,sometimes when I am taking a photo everything goes perfect and you get this great feeling that you did things right.It was like because I did not take the photo in the square ,I was given another chance,with better light)

The photograph has happened exactly as good photographs do -not by design but by a combination of fortuitous circumstances as though what the artist has said about God wanting him to do it is really true. The light is wonderful and the tonal quality is delicious.As one of the commentators has said ,the photograph has a minor irritant -the cutting off of the door but in the face of so much beauty that is nothing.The sensitivity of the artist is clearly reflected in the way he has responded to the theme with a lot of humility.

Irony in photography

irony in photography

One of the most powerful techniques used in poetry and drama is the use of irony,called dramatic irony.The dramatic irony emanates in drama, out of the interplay of the actions of characters as they unfold.The Greek tragedies are good examples. Shakespeare’s plays use the technique effectively .The irony unfolds as the characters move inexorably towards their fates .In photography the use of dramatic irony is not feasible as the photograph deals with a single spatial situation and a juxtaposition of several situations in different points of time is not possible. But a photograph can still employ a plain type of irony with equal effectiveness.

I have come across this beautiful photograph in the BBC’s daily news in pictures.

A man is dead and he was a pauper and it is necessary to raise money for his funeral.And what do the neighbours do raise the money ? They play cards while perhaps keeping all-night vigil near the dead man’s casket. Death is serious business and in order to deal with it one has to deal a pack of playing cards ! Delicious irony.

This way or that


“This way or that” -a photo by GMS on Flickr.
I love this shot for the wonderful perspective. A wide angle shot with some distortion.The sheer beauty of the stones takes your breath away.The distortion makes the picture larger than life.The line that forks out into separate streets is exquisite.The “undecidedness” of the street is simply delicious.

Photographing the silence

Photographing the silence
(Photo by Bennehboy-Ilove corps on Flickr
Tate: Photographing Britain)

What is interesting in this picture is the body postures of the lady and gentleman whose silhouettes form the focus in the foreground.Their shadows are not clearly delineated in the pool of light but definitely convey some sort of an attempt to lose themselves and become real and three-dimensional. Both seem to be going separate ways but between them is a common objective and a destination. May be they are attending the same meeting or something. Apparently there is a bunch of people in the darkness of the background ,perhaps around the registration desk. The quiet efficiency of the atmosphere is revealed in the way silence comes through in the softness of the light.The silence is accentuated by the squares and rectangular shapes in the picture (i.e.the doorway etc,)