A Sequence of Composition


This sequence was made at the now annual “Christkindlemarkt” in Leeds. It was midweek, so not as busy as at the weekends, and the weather conditions were overcast. I’m not altogether comfortable with “street photography” – lacking in self-confidence perhaps – so this was a useful exercise; using a relatively wide angle lens seems to mean that one can include people in the image without pointing the camera directly at them. Certainly no-one raised any objections!

Images ckm1 – 8 constituted a wandering up and down the rows of stalls, looking for something that might epitomise the event in some way. Stalls, people, goods; lots of colour and light; some of it very attractive, some rather “naff”. In 9 – 12 I began to close in on a stall selling wooden crib scenes, and image 11 I rather liked for its combination of goods and people. 12 might have been a contender for the final image – it’s a Christmas market after all, and I quite liked the placing of the warning notice, but the framing doesn’t really work, and even cropping it into a “letterbox” format would leave distractions from the surrounding cribs. Move on!

13 – 17 are again market stalls, people, goods and food; on reflection it might have been possible to do something with the rather attractive ornamental lights in 17. At the top of the area was the small fairground that I approached in 18. The carousel with its traditional horses was certainly photogenic and I decided to explore that a little more. 18 and 19 have it in the background, thus connecting it with the rest of the market and keeping people in the shot. The last 5 shots are, obviously, closer to; looking for an interesting angle to approach this, by definition, round subject. People or not??? Those few actually riding were mostly children, admittedly with parents, and there’s a difficulty (image 6 notwithstanding) in photographing children without prior permission. So, with the exception of the man in 23 I opted for just the carousel and its horses. 20 is a bit of a jumble, and 21 might crop into a picture of a single horse, but from a not very interesting angle. I quite liked 22; the cockerel is a bit different and the traction engine (unfortunately not actually working) named “Hero” in the background adds interest.

23, from slightly farther away, holds more of a sense of the whole thing, and would have been more effective with the camera tripod mounted and a longer exposure to introduce movement. 24 is my favourite. Coming in close allows a sense of excitement and striving in the horses with their bared teeth and implies movement even though the exposure doesn’t reveal it explicitly. The question might be whether that does in any real sense epitomise the market event – maybe it does if only in terms of brash colour, excitement and fun which is what the fair, if not necessarily the season, is about.

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