All has been seen and said under the sun, that's why there was (and still is) a huge trend (Meyerowitz, Leiter, Webb, Manos ... ) in contemporary street photography to harden the shadows, implode the blacks, blow the highlights.
Looks like sometimes it is amusing, or even seemingly original, to dissimulate flaws and underline beauties (or vice-versa). But then what a fragmented representation of our "dear" subjects this is. Life under strong and permanent sunlight, hard shadows, profound blacks and bright faces, is not ourselves.
The persons represented this way are not the ones as we know them or as we meet them fleetingly. The human eye when scanning a scene instantly adapts to the quantity of light around the points of our interest. There is no way to see such clotted blacks or such blown whites with our bare eye (maybe only after getting in and out of a dark room under a summer sun).
There is no doubt that the uncanny effect is welcome but how many extremely high contrasted photographs have survived in time (considering that Man Ray's works were photograms and not photographs). These manierist pictures may look impressive but at the same time this very feature makes them ephemeral. They will perish easily into oblivion. As with all the rest, experiment but don't imitate it for life nor make it a life achievement!
In photography subjects and objects are most honestly represented under a diffuse light. Photographs found in museums are mainly of a delicate and natural palette of shades and contrasts.
That is why you (we) should shoot with care! Use smoothly the contrast cursor (respectively don't over-push your film rolls) and try to include as many details as possible in this precious tiny frame called a photograph. This last bit may be in contradiction with previous ideas (shared also by the undersigned) of using abstraction by reduction and subtraction, of composing by elimination and not by inclusion.
But who told you that photography is not anymore a young child full of enthusiasm for experimentation and contradictions. It still is, for our good luck and awe ...
Antonio who is working obsessively with shadows, geometry and hard light does his outmost to strike the right balance for all the above. The present picture is one more proof of the photographer's struggle to fiddle with Koudelka's dogs, Webb's gorgeous lights, the own fears and the public's … acceptance!
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