Last month I went out to Johannesburg with a small group of DPC students to teach visual composition. As soon as we got together, I saw these two religious women approaching us. I realised they might just walk by one of my favourite spots; a red coloured wall, which was only a block away. I immediately indicated to my students to follow me, and I followed them from the other side of the road. I wanted to stay unobtrusive, but it was pretty difficult with a group of people following me! I hoped they wouldn’t turn away at the street corner ahead, and as they crossed the street, I knew they are going to pass that red wall. We were fortunate indeed!
While following them, I made a decision to use a slow shutter speed in order to create an impressionistic image. On the trot, I switched to Aperture Priority, knowing that I would have little time to make exposure decisions. It was a bright morning, so I stopped down the lens to f/16. With my ISO at 50, I knew the shutter speed would be really slow. I hoped that the movement blur of their white robes against the red wall, would make them seem almost floating. In all honesty, it happened so quickly, I could only hope for the best. To induce even more blur, I tilted my Canon 90mm tilt-shift lens, and pre-focused on the pavement. As they walk passed, I got a few frames and this is the one I decided to keep; where the women are walking out of the frame with the air-conditioning fan on top, and the white, peeled painted texture – bottom left – almost balancing the composition. I was fortunate indeed!
The message in this image, for me personally, is almost biblical; the white presents holiness and the red represents sacrifice and redemption.
Location: Jeppestown, Johannesburg
Collection: Johannesburg | Visions in Colour