The next time you’re taking pictures at an event or venue where everyone has their attention focused on the same thing. take a moment to turn around to see what’s going on behind you. You may discover some interesting subject matter for your photographs. It can present different ways to document, remember, or tell the story of a time and place.
While visiting Greece we spent several days on the Island of Santorini. It’s a beautiful, magical place. White buildings with azure rooftops seem to defy gravity as they blanket the sheer cliffs of the island. I have many pictures of my time there, both touristy and artistic, but I think one of my favorite photos is the image above. It appeared in the January 2014 edition of Inspired Eye Magazine, a publication devoted to street photography.
The photo was taken in Oia, considered one of the best places on Santorini to watch the sun as it sets over the Aegean Sea. Gathering to watch sunset is a party. It’s a communal event where food and drinks flow, street musicians play, and language is not a barrier. An all around good time. When the sun finally sets the crowd breaks into applause and collective expressions of awe as they share a scene almost too beautiful to be real.
I have to say, watching the sunset was far more interesting to me than photographing it. Probably because my photos of sunsets just aren’t that good. Also, I knew I could walk 30 feet to a gift shop and buy a photo infinitely better than mine.
While everyone was looking out over the water I decided to turn around to photograph the festivities. This picture captures my memory of the experience. It also caused me to redefine my perception of the event, and to look at different ways of capturing and preserving it.