Street Photography: Luck

Seen on the Web, Street Photography, Street Photography Theory, Uncategorized


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This week I came across another Street Photograph that I had to share here, it’s a very contemporary Street grab shot made my Mario Cuic on the subway system in Munich, Germany. The shot is wonderfully simple with very few elements but the moment chosen reveals a beautifully ambiguous and psychologically intense picture. Viewing the picture, one finds oneself unable to settle on a reliable interpretation of events, my mind swings quickly backwards and forwards between a tender interpretation and a more sinister one, there are clues and evidence in the image for both conclusions and they are in a beautiful equilibrium. I felt I had to contact Mario to ask about the circumstances, his reply revealed that we are lucky to have this image at all.


“I made this picture on my regular wanderings in the subway of Munich, I love the subway because it’s small and restricted and therefore sometimes very intimate. It’s different to the Street, the subway sound, the people voices, the smell, all together it is really fascinating me.”


“I was moving with the escalator upwards, to a another platform, after arriving on the top, i saw the situation with the mother and her daughter and moved my camera as fast as possible to my eye and was lucky enough to make one exposure because after the mirror flipped back the situation was over”


“With this picture I had all the luck that we photographers need when we are in public, luck to be at the right time, right place, and some other luck, because the camera I had with me was not my camera, I had borrowed a Nikon DSLR from a friend for a quick test. I was playing with high iso settings, 6400 ISO, f5.6 and manual focus at 2 meters, I know for sure I would never have caught this scene with autofocus. I would also never have caught this scene with my regular Leica M8 because of the lack of high iso and the resulting slow shutter speed.”


“With all this luck, destiny donated me a photograph that tells so much about us humans, about our relationships, about culture (we are all the same), but at the same time it leaves us wondering what’s going on with the mother and daugher, it’s left to our imagination.”


Mario Cuic

This picture reminds us that a lot of elements need to come together simultaneously for a great Street Photograph to be made and that these pictures are created not with a great conceptual lead in but with extraordinary instinct or intuition. Many commentators devalue Street Photographs because they are made so instantly but I find them rich with important revelations, here, about urban life, globalisation, immigration, relationships even fashion and aspiration.

See more work by Mario Cuic here and here.






7 Responses to this post
  1. Posted on January 3, 2013 by Paul's Pictures

    never get the shot with AF? is he serious? I can’t believe he or anyone really thinks that’s so. Such images happen when they happen, the fact that it is AF or manual is irrelevant surely? I would suggest that there are MANY images capturing such powerful moments that are taken with AF…BUT IN NO WAY does that mean this image is not is ABSOLUTELY brilliant…

  2. [...] Turpin featured photographs of Mario Cuic and Kay von Aspern on his latest blog [...]

  3. Posted on January 4, 2013 by Mario

    Hi Paul, you are right maybe i catch the szene with af, and you are absolute right it is totaly irrelevant :) Its not the point that this or this is faster and its not about gear and stuff. Everybody use what it use. The Point is i had just Luck nothing more nothing less. Greetings Mario :)

  4. Posted on January 5, 2013 by Rolybr

    Absolutely ambiguous moment , good street shot.

  5. Posted on January 6, 2013 by olli

    Wonderful shot. Great moment. I do miss the Munich U-bahn. Washington Metro just doesn’t compare.

  6. Posted on January 19, 2013 by Alan Horsager

    Absolutely a great shot. And, to some extent, benefits from being lucky. However, like everything else in life, I think there are things we can do to increase our odds of being lucky. 1) Keep your camera out. 2) Watch. 3) Study areas that have an increased opportunity for something to happen. I don’t follow this as often as I should. I think there is a benefit of staying put within an area that has high likelihood of stuff happening, rather than wandering the streets, looking for something that has already happened.

  7. Posted on August 31, 2013 by Aaron Aardvark

    A stellar image, no doubt. Mario’s portfolio is full of similarly rare images. I agree: preparedness is everything.

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