For my final project, titled “Let’s Talk.. Sidewalk Chalk”, I have photographed the pavements that line our city, with close attention to the quiet staple that is, sidewalk chalkboards, whom dress the horizon of storefronts and restaurants throughout our city. I look to capture them in their most unadulterated forms, amidst the pedestrian chaos, yet paying mind particularly to the angles and lighting when composing a shot. This signage has a certain lure, that intrigues me with the insight they offer to the personality of a business that they represent.
I’ve made several trips to various affluent neighborhoods, more specifically in the boroughs Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Primarily I used a loaned Canon 7D to shoot, all times of the day morning, afternoon, evening, and even night within my loan period, with no use of flash, only natural light. Utilizing a a variable lens 15-85mm only, I flirted with the exposure length, often finding that a quick shutter speed worked best with the relentless sea of foot traffic in the city streets. For that same reason working with a tripod was less tangible, not to impede walking paths, I often found myself maneuvering on foot for the best shot so I had to find a balance, 1/200 being my selection of choice.
The idea for the project came from an assignment we had earlier in the semester. The emphasis was on depth of field, or rather creating the illusion of depth between nearby objects by closely monitoring my aperture settings, and how I chose to fill the frame of a photograph. While shooting a few street view photographs in the Lower East Side, a sidewalk chalkboard had inadvertently made it’s way in to a couple of my shots. An idea was born!
I want to break the monotony of seeing things in the plane of eye level only. A crime we are often guilty of in our walks of life. I look to raise awareness to your surroundings, all things included, even below waist level. In this case, sidewalk chalkboards, and the many things they encompass. It could be a silly joke that caused you to crack a smile on an mundane day, a deal that saved you a dollar or two on your morning regimen of a coffee and croissant, a lunch special at the tightly nestled corner restaurant you otherwise would have continued to overlook had it not been for the character of their chalking, or perhaps the tantalizing happy hour specials at your local watering hole. I want you to open up the metaphorical blinders we have developed in our daily commutes, much like I open to a new world when I remove the cap from my camera lens. This series is here to bridge that gap.
I feel like I would continue to build this series past the boundaries of the semester. These boards are constantly changing, yet so unique. They encompass the spirit which is our city, and they have challenged me to capture new compositional elements in my photographs outside of my comfort zone, or a cliche straight-up shot. For that I am thankful, and growning