A photograph is neither taken or seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson
What does it mean to let the photo offer itself ? In what way can a photograph take the photographer ?
What makes the photo here is not only the decisive moment, when all men are grouped in the right third of the frame, or the light that comes from behind the man and yields a row of long shadows walking in front of them, neither does the red wall and the word “SALE” as an attractive backdrop. What makes the photo here is the combination of all elements together to deliver a statement that expresses the photographer’s feelings about the situation. Let me explain.
I was stroling at the Mamila Street Mall in Jerusalem exactly on time to miss the golden hour, so I started looking for a photograph to offer itself to me when I saw the big red sign and thought that it would make a nice background for a golden hour photo, so I have set up my frame and was waiting for some story to happen in my frame, maybe a glowing fashionista followed by a boy carrying bags of new fashion, or an older couple walking hand in hand or some other human story that will make a good simple street photograph.
As I wait with my eye to the viewfinder I could see shadows and people starting to cross my frame, thought that the group of shadows following the two girls would make a nice shot and took it, but then the girls got out of the frame and the shadows got in, they were all good looking, long and solid shadows but didn’t have anything that will connect them to the background or tell a story, then came the men and there it was. 5 men, each with his ego walking in front of him in the form of a long shadow, each with a different, very manly body language.
All together with the bold red background tells a story that was created in my mind as the frame was offering itself to me.