A Secret Place

Black and White Youth Exploration Street Photography

The Explorers

“Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare (‘Behind the Gare St. Lazare Paris’) of 1932, also known unofficially as “Man Jumping Over Puddle“, that is one of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s most famous photographs. I think that as much as I like it aesthetically, I’m most impressed with the story behind it.

HCB said that he simply put the lens of his camera up against a hole in the tall fence that stood between him and what was on the other side, and pressed the shutter release button. He had no idea what he was capturing on film. He also had no idea that the shot behind that train station in Paris was destined to become one of the most admired photographs of a split-second in 20th century living, yet that’s what happened.

This picture is one of my own hip-shots. Had I craned my neck enough, I might have been able to see what was on the other side of the big masonry wall that runs along Hunter Street West but I wouldn’t have been able to shoot. So I chose my manual settings, reached over the wall with my camera in my left hand, aimed as best I could with my lens on AF and fired away. This was the result.

It may not be a smash hit like HCB’s but I’m quite proud of this piece for its adventurous nostalgic feel. It reminds me of being their age and exploring unfamiliar places and spaces with my old friends. It especially reminds me not so much of Hamilton but growing up in Prince George, BC where my friends and I would often go hiking in the surrounding forests and Nechako River cut banks on weekends and summer holidays.

Getting away from everything just to go and wander about has always been the source of some of the greatest experiences of my life.

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17 thoughts on “A Secret Place

  1. HCB is probably a household god for all of us. His images depends on so many different levels.
    I like your picture, you did not know were to become.
    Your picture is very filmish. It reminds me of the movie ‘Stand by me’

    • “Stand by Me” was a great 1986 American film based on a short suspense-thriller by Stephen King. Without spoiling it — if you haven’t seen the film or read the book, it is slightly like a boys coming of age story in which a group of young pals who are just barely corrupted by the flaws and conducts of the adults in their lives set out on a somewhat macabre journey and encounter serious trouble along the way. Very sentimental, very nostalgic, very identifiable for many boys and girls; then and now.

  2. It’s an interesting shot, I like it because it has that feel of the everyday having possibility. I was thinking of the movie “Stand By Me” when I looked at it, and then thought maybe that was a silly thing to write until I saw that I wasn’t the only one. Also, I find the lighting in this image interesting.

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