Photography : Nobody/Somebody in a place?

Unless you take portraits, or fashion, or any photos where you want to show somebody (or some body), one can ask and wonder :

If you want to take a picture of a PLACE, you have to make your many usual choices, composition and all, but there’s a question, always :


Here are a few pictures to play with.

Alex Webb often saturates his pictures with life. You feel like you’re in a middle of people’s energy.


Gruyaert often dances between : a place and one or a few persons.


Paul Graham inverts this balance here : you see people in the restaurant, but the picture is almost empty.


Stephen Shore sometimes takes pictures without people.


This, you see me coming, leads to a set of questions.

What’s your choice, as a photographer? Do you need someone on the picture so “show” a place? Are the humanist in you in need of this “portrait in a place” thing? What happens in the audience’s eye when you have nobody to look at? What does it bring? A freedom? Time? A deeper plunge? Is there a balance to find? Don’t you think it’s easier to “imagine yourself” into the picture, when it’s empty? What do you like, and what would YOU do?

Eggleston :


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