Asking ten people what makes a good photo will yield ten different answers. There are many different ingredients that go into making a good image. For me, the one ingredient that stands out above the rest is simplicity. It is something that everyone can do regardless of what type of camera they have, where they are, or what they are shooting.

I took this photo in Morocco at the Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech. It was midday and more than a little bright. I generally carry two camera bodies on me: one with a 24-70 or 24-120 and the other with 70-200 (my favorite lens). Snake charmers were everywhere and I tried countless angles to get a pleasing photo of them in action. I started with the 24-70. It just was not happening. I rotated around them, shot from above, shot from below, and shot at eye level. In every case, bright backgrounds from the sun coupled with other tourists distracted from the subject.

I started looking at things mentally and physically different. I switched to my 70-200 and thought about the story that I wanted to tell. It was not the story of the charmers and the tourists. It was not the story of the control the charmer had over the snake. I wanted to show the simple bond between the man and his snake.

I found this charmer lost in conversation, absently holding his snake. I walked around him trying find a pleasing background to frame the snake and hand in. By putting the snake on the flat plane of his owners robe, the snake was set up against an existing, noncompeting background. As an added bonus the snake was in a more evenly lit area as his owner’s body sheltered it from the sun. The robe was off white and almost devoid of any color so a black and white conversion made the most sense.

I am not the biggest fan of snakes so shooting with a longer lens also made me much more comfortable…

19 comments on “Simplicity…

  1. it’s a very nice photo ,i’ve just enjoyed the same story in the same place while a charmer succeed to put his snake on the neck of a tourist with a scary reaction that i saw through my lens in about 100 metres so i took the photo that i actually like and see all the time :).

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