The Online Photographer

Check out our new site at!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When Is an Action Photo a Still Life?

Stan Banos, Rome 2006

Why are all those tourists ogling that well-dressed, happy-go-lucky Italian businessman/commuter on the go? Because he's actually standing perfectly still, precariously balanced perhaps, but perfectly motionless nonetheless—hardly what the image implies. Complete with "windswept" hair and wired tie and jacket to mimic speed and motion, and carefully choreographed stop-action footwork—this guy has definitely done his homework and knows full well how photography depicts the human body mid-stride!

Posted by: STAN BANOS


Blogger Adam McAnaney said...



4:34 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Me too. (s)


4:36 PM  
Blogger MJFerron said...

What great shot. I wish I was as proud to be me as he is him. :0 Quite pleased with himself I think.

7:45 PM  
Blogger m. said...

I may have seen him by Trevi fountain when I was in Rome in March. We stayed in that area, and there were a couple of street "performers" with somewhat similiar acts. His is much better.

Here's another photo that doesn't really make a lot of sense without a little context.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Max said...

There's something mesmerizing about it. I think it might be that subjectively, it's a still picture of a still picture. It was a photo (a 3d one, ok) before someone took a photo of it. It's like metaphotography, with some of the audience already there before us. It would have made an interesting long exposure, everybody else blurred. As if time had split. You know, the space and time continuum thing.
(remember Hue Lewis and the News video "A Couple Days Off"?)

8:38 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"Here's another photo that doesn't really make a lot of sense without a little context."

Good point!


8:59 PM  
Blogger Tony Rowlett said...

What I find interesting is, probably due to the contrast/tonal range, his feet and those of his spectators close to him seem to be floating above the sidewalk. Strange effect.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...


I was a little disturbed by that at first, too. I think it is because there is a little bit of asphalt still covering the cobblestones where they are standing. Cobblestone streets are often paved over. With time, the asphalt wears away and the cobblestones shine through again. But I agree. It makes it look as though something had been erased from those areas of the photo.


3:34 AM  
Blogger Just Plain Hugh said...

Interesting that this post follows immediately one about Robert Doisneau who's most famous photograph "Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville" was as much ( or more ) of a setup as this photograph.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

You can't fool me..............more photoshop trickery,far too good to be real, just like that French bloke something-bresson,all done in photoshop.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Tony Collins said...
On similar theme, but a real critical moment. Contentment is a plate of chips and a day playing at engine drivers on the Bluebell Railway

4:26 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This is quite an original idea on his part..I'm wondering where his tip jar is... :)

6:07 PM  
Blogger m. said...

The tip jar is probably in front of his right foot, just out of the frame. I suspect he spent a lot of time looking at it, just to make sure it wouldn't walk off. He is wearing sunglasses.

I do love that shot, though.

8:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home