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Shot from the hip: B&W Toronto street portraiture

Posted by Jonathan Castellino / March 14, 2011

Toronto street portraitsCapturing a natural urban pose on camera often requires no more then, as the saying goes, "being in the right place at the right time." The subjects are, and often remain, almost as unaware that the capture has taken place as the photographer themselves were, moments before the snap was taken. Unexpected, uncanny, and often times unaware, the image created is ideal — a representation of the way things simply are.

I never go out seeking to capture this kind of imagery, and yet over time, they seem to 'appear' throughout my collections. Each shot is its own story, yet when pulled together they seem (in my mind) to create an interesting look at city life in Toronto, and indeed urban life in general.

In an alley near Dundas Square... *(subsequent captions go above each image)Toronto street portraits

Dundas Square proper, a skateboarder impresses his lunching audience...Toronto street portraits

Outside of a popular bookstore, a customer steps past "the locals"...Toronto street portraits

After assisting an officer at the scene of a petty crime, a sudden change of heart takes place...Toronto street portraits

Pedestrians, using their new four-way crossing...Toronto street portraits

Bay Street overlay, while eating a hot dog...Toronto street portraits

Lower Bay Street, 5pm, sullen faces...Toronto street portraits

College Park, a man walks by as I am sitting in the now emptied fountain...Toronto street portraits

A young Parkour enthusiast practices his skills near the Atrium on Bay...Toronto street portraits

A young man looks through an outlying fence near the airport...Toronto street portraits

Waiting for a green light at King and Church...Toronto street portraits

An odd staring contest unfolds on a TTC bus...Toronto street portraits

Dogs sleeping on Roncesvalles early in the morning, as their owners buy groceries...Toronto street portraits

A young woman playing in a fountain in a corporate art-park...Toronto street portraits

Approaching the derelict remains of the old Kodak facility...Toronto street portraits

A friend stops to take a quick snap under the Bathurst bridge...Toronto street portraits

An unusual sign is found in an alley...Toronto street portraits

An older gentleman puzzles at a construction site through a fence near Yonge and College...what are they building in there?
Toronto street portraits

A talented young musician strums at a street corner on Yonge...
Toronto street portraits

A man crosses a bridge at Queen's edge...
Toronto street portraits

All of the images shown here represent simple, innocent, random acts. Beyond capturing the acts themselves, I am allowed no more insight, nor do I require any.

The use of the black and white format further emphasizes this, as well as my relationship with the people in the shots. The isolation and concentration of light and shadow in the black and white image allows a kind of anonymity, a distancing from the observer (unfortunately) disallowed at the time the snap was taken. But hey, how much time do you really have for analysis in 1/300th of a second? *Click*

(To see the rest of the photos in this series, as well as high-resolution versions of those above, you can see my flickr slide-show below...)

Discussion

10 Comments

M-PC / March 14, 2011 at 10:32 am
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Love these. Thanks.
m / March 14, 2011 at 10:55 am
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Great photos!!!
Michael / March 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm
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You have a real talent for street photography. Great work.
Yarum / March 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm
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very nice pictures
Greg Abramowitz / March 14, 2011 at 01:44 pm
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Just looked through the set for my third time today. Really great photos.
Jonathan / March 14, 2011 at 04:16 pm
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Thanks guys! I'm glad you enjoyed them : )

Jonathan@blogTO
MrDan / March 14, 2011 at 07:27 pm
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Great stuff Jono, you have a good eye for it.
Neil / March 15, 2011 at 04:31 am
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...more like the hip for it!
mylastnameendswithski / March 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm
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great photos! you really caught the atmosphere (good or bad) in a lot of these
stro1 / March 17, 2011 at 01:06 am
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If you liked these you'll love http://www.urbanghost.com/ also Toronto street photography

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