Speaking as one photographer to another, I am sure that you have your favorite places to shoot. There’s probably one or two places where you shoot several times throughout the year, possibly for years. But doesn’t that get boring? No; of course not. From a technical perspective, these sites become our testing grounds. We know the location so well that we eliminate a lot of the guesswork and a we can experiment in a relatively controlled environment. But here’s the cool part: The environment is always changing. The above photo, The Great Gig in the Sky, was created by Chris Soukup featuring a very famous and often photographed landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. While you may recognize the suspension tower and its suspender leads, you probably aren’t used to seeing it in this way. The environment deserves recognition for the assist.
The brilliance of Chris’s photo is that it is so simple and it features a scene that many of us should recognize. Yet it is somewhat unrecognizable. Someone who is intimately familiar with this view of the bridge from the Marin Headlands might be able to identify the bridge. But I suspect most of us (myself included) didn’t really suspect that this was the Golden Gate Bridge. So perhaps the real brilliance of the photo is how Chris took advantage of the changing environment and the foggy weather to create a landscape that looks alien. It’s as if we are seeing this bridge for the first time. His use of black & white further obscures the bridge’s identity by hiding the characteristic International Orange color that would set it apart from any other suspension bridge. I’m not sure exactly when Chris took this photo, but I’m going to take a guess that this was captured very early in the morning when foggy conditions are more common. I suppose this could be done late into the evening, but it is more uncommon to find fog in the evening. Be it early morning or later in the evening, both are difficult times to find yourself in the park, even for photographers. This is a clear demonstration of Chris’s dedication to his craft. But it’s also the reason such a shot is rare.
The scene is familiar. The landmark is familiar. But the world around it – the environment, the weather and the position of the sun – has changed. The scene is ever-changing and we can take advantage of that. But we don’t have much control over it. So we need to dedicate ourselves and our schedule to this ever-changing environment.
Chris Soukup is a landscape, architectural and street photographer hailing from the great city of San Francisco, USA. I would describe his photographic style as haunting: He uses dramatic lighting and his use of color and tone is rich and brilliant. Many of his works will bury themselves in your head and you will not be able to forget them. I am truly inspired by his work, and I expect that you will be as well.