This past weekend I spent three hours with Photographer David Coleman, learning how to tell a story with a photo. Although I have always tried to do that, it is difficult. Coleman, who considers himself a storyteller, made it seem easy.

Here’s an attempt of mine from the past.

3 puffins on a rock

Three’s a crowd.

In this photo, I see two companionable puffins having a good time while ignoring the guy on the right, who can’t shut up. It takes a leap of imagination to find a story in this photo.

I came to photography late in life—that is, about five years ago. I wanted to share the experience with Bill (an excellent photographer since his youth) and also to give myself something to do while he was taking pictures. It became clear early on that a lot has changed since my first Brownie Starflash. You need to understand and use a lot of tools to take a technically good photo. On photo shoots, I carry with me a cheat sheet that explains how to deal with Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Without it, I would be lost. It is my version of Dumbo’s feather.

Enter David Coleman. Using Henri Cartier-Bresson as an inspiration, Coleman’s method of street photography emphasizes capturing “the decisive moment.” This is something I am good at recognizing but hadn’t been able to capture because I was forever fiddling with the settings and thus missed the moment. Settings still count, but Coleman’s are easy to remember and when the settings and scene align, the results can be very cool. If you want to learn more about his methods and classes, contact David Coleman here.

These are some shots I took yesterday.

Man looking angry.

Is that a camera?

The only story in this photo is that I captured the moment when the fishmonger discovered I was photographing him and I beat a quick retreat.

photo of people talking

Street photograph in Chinatown

In this picture, these folks were enjoying themselves and it was great fun to catch their interaction on a sunny day in Chinatown.

And then there’s this little fella, amusing himself by posing for me while he waits for the parade to start.

Little boy upside down

Hanging around in Chinatown.

Have a good week.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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