How turning around by chance led to this picture

Susan Kuo's picture

Susan Kuo is a well-travelled Client Service Director and keen photographer, who has lived in Taiwan, Japan, Canada and the UK.  She kindly took the time to explain to me the story behind her picture. Her Instagram is suu601.

Photo credit: Susan Kuo

Where did you take the picture?

Regent Canal, the section near London Fields [an area of East London], by Broadway market [a street market in the neighbourhood].

Were you there for the street market on the weekend or just walking by?

I have a group of friends who like to take photos and that day, because one of my friends was moving back to Canada, we decided to each pick our favourite place in London. My favourite place was London Fields. So we were there to walk around and take pictures.

What was your inspiration for the picture? Did it just hit you or did you scout the location?

I think it just hit me because I was walking with my back towards it and then I turned around and saw the reflection.

I thought it would be cool if done in black and white so I tried the black and white filter to see what it would look like. Because of the reflection, black and white actually stands out quite well.

So you were walking with your back to the structure [the circular iron structure in the background]?

I was actually taking pictures before walking to this point and I thought I was done.  I don’t know why I turned around. I think maybe my friend was behind me. Always remember to turn around because you will get a different view of the same thing you have just taken!

When you were composing the picture, did you purposefully include the people?

Yes, because they are actually in the center so they make the picture centered. The people happened to be there and I did not want to wait until they left. So I figured it doesn’t matter because you can’t really see their faces anyway.

Was there any specific mood or atmosphere you wanted to convey with the way you composed it, by, for example, making sure you had the street painting on the right?

I really wanted to keep the street painting in but, no, I wasn’t thinking of a particular mood. I think I just really liked the reflection and the framing worked out quite well.

When saw the picture on a full screen for the first time, did it come out as expected?

It was better than I expected! I actually didn’t think it would come out this well. I actually did not do any editing. Sometimes I crop a certain part or change the exposure a bit. But I didn’t need to do that for this one.

Do you tend to find there are specific pictures you take in black and white, like landscapes or…?

Not landscapes because it’s nature with natural colours so it’s quite nice to see it in colour. I actually do like to take people in black and white, like random strangers on a street. For architecture, it will depend on the style. I kind of see how I feel!

How does this picture fit with other pictures you have taken? Do you find you take a lot of similar pictures of urban environments?

This one was quite different. I like to take pictures of water, with water involved. When I think of recent photos, I guess there are some similarities. I do like to take reflections of things.

And then street art, I usually take it in colour so I haven’t taken it in black and white in the past. The black and white added a bit of a different atmosphere with black and white street art. It’s quite cool. Because I think street art, since it is painted in colour should be taken in colour. But then actually it’s ok to take it in black and white.

I really like the shape of that structure [the iron circular structure in the background]. If you took this in colour, the colour is brownish so it doesn’t really stand out. But when you take it in black and white, it stands out a bit more.

Have you shared this picture with friends?

[I shared it] On Instagram.

Have you had reactions from people?

Yes, I got positive reactions! Mostly from friend I take photos with. It is very interesting because everyone is looking at the same thing but we all take pictures from different angles. So my friend said she wished she had noticed this angle. So we will compare what we actually see despite all being in the same place.



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