This is where I work. On the street. When I photograph second lines.
As you all know, I like to work close with wide lenses. I think wideness not only propels the subject into the foreground, but they also help with context by setting the scene. In this case, it helps when the subject is dressed in bright red which was the social club’s color for 2018.
That said, I thought I would share this with at the request of my digital pal on the scene, Tim Allen. You can have a look at his work here. https://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com We were talking in comments and he suggest that I show you where and how I work.
I think this picture gives you an idea of what I go through when I kiddingly say that photographing a second line is like being inside of a rugby scrum. To make this picture I was crouched on the ground. After my tales of my arthritic back and hip, you know this is no small task. I can get down. It’s hard to get back up. I’m working between two other photographers, even though one is working with a smart phone. That doesn’t matter. It’s a public street. He has as much right to be there as I do. What you can’t see is that there are two or three photographers over my back.
This work isn’t like photographing professional sports, or even Olympic sports. When you work those, you are credentialed and given a place to work. Usually from a pit or a sideline. You are not directly involved. When you photograph a second line you are in the middle of things. Even once the coming out phase is over, I end up in one of three places for as long as I walk.
I’m either in one of the brass bands. Or, I’m at the front of the second line walking backwards. Or, the second line catches up with me and I’m in the middle of the social club. That, by the way, is a no-no. The people walking with the club will just shove you out-of-the-way if they don’t recognize you or you foolishly think you can stand your ground.
One more thing. Most second liners walk anywhere from four to six miles. The rarely return to the place where they started which means you either have to walk back or park your car where the parade ends, and walk to the start. So, anywhere from 8 to 12 miles for a photographer covering the complete parade. This is over potholed streets and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods. When you are with the second line you are safe. But, carrying cameras by yourself? That’s another matter. You’d just better have some great situational awareness. I do. But, I’m getting old. I might miss things. And, if I happen to be walking in pain, I’m usually gritting my teeth and forging straight ahead.
And, that’s the story.
Thanks, Tim, for the great idea.