Unintended Subjects

I just came up with the most amazing new project! I was looking at one of the pictures I took earlier today when I noticed a woman at the edge of the frame, looking in the direction of the camera. I don’t think she was looking at me, just in my direction. I zoomed in (in Photoshop, back home), and then had the idea to crop away everything but her, maintaining my original size ratio, of course!

That was when my amazing idea came to me. There are oftentimes unintended subjects in a photo, especially photos taken outside. I am going to start a new set on Flickr, called Unintended Subjects.

I know this violates my Flickr policy of eschewing close-ups for political reasons — I know it does not accommodate the picture of the masses; I know it’s aggressive and looks for victims; and I know it precludes theorizing. With all of that in mind, it’s an interesting project, I think. (This is how petite-bourgeois deviationism begins!)

A friend of mine commented once, referring to my The Park Walk post, that he was amazed that, living in the most populated city in the country, I was always able to show it without people. It’s true, and sometimes I have to wait a while to get the shot I want, without people in it, but just like auto traffic, there are times when, even during the day, on the busiest street, no people are there.

So to be included in this set, the subject will have to: 1) be a person or persons; and 2) truly be unnoticed at the time I shot the picture. I wonder though, if I start doing this, will I start to become more aware of these unseen subjects? And I wonder if it will be at the expense of the main subject? I hope not, in both cases, though it’s probably likely in the former. I will probably come to discover exactly why Robert Ashley wrote that to begin with! (The stuff above, about close-ups).

Getting back to the woman whose glare prompted this: I wonder what her story is? I’m sure there are people in my photos who were supposed to be somewhere else — maybe she told her husband she was at the mall, maybe she’s a fugitive from the law, maybe she wanted to eat at Panchitos.


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