July 13, 2009

Andrew and Edythe
Kissing on a Sea of Cabs

Well. Here I am. On the internet.  I am not so sure someone like me belongs here. I shoot film. I listen to Beethoven and Copland. I visit the post office daily. I relish my daily morning paper. But, technology calls, and I feel compelled to try and enter the twenty-first century on all four feet. I look forward to any comments or thoughts you may have about these spreads from the new book, even though they are small on your screen and the book is huge.

Some pictures just sort of happen very spontaneously (think  Henri Cartier-Bresson) and others are very created (think Irving Penn’s still life portraits). This picture was created. What strikes me about this picture is the old adage, “location, location, location!” fused with “production, production, production!”

This was originally shot for New York Magazine in the summer of 2008. The original concept was to create an essential New York picture and incorporate the great New York icon, the yellow taxicab.  That was my only direction.  The first step: location.  One of the problems finding a location to shoot 30 cabs in New York City is finding space, and then getting permission. After much searching, and several failed attempts, we found ourselves at 125th street underneath the west side highway.  The second step: logistics. It was a long and arduous process arranging to have 30 cabs at the right place at the right time, perfectly placed for a seemingly whimsical photograph.

After that, shooting the picture was very simple.  The whole story was about this couple in love. Placing them on top of the cab was my idea.  Again, shooting the picture was the easy part.  Throughout my 40 years of photography, the hardest part is always finding the perfect location, and then the production involved in making it happen.

The second thing—which has to do with photography in general, not only this one photograph—is composition. Composition is to photography what rhythm is to music. It is about symmetry and proportion, resonance between the photographer and subject; where everything fits just so. Almost like iambic pentameter in poetry, or natural cadence and body rhythm.  To me this picture represents not only everything in its right place, but also the right proportions, the right relationships, the right cadence.  Composition is seriously lacking in most photography in the 21st century.  It has been abandoned—whether due to lack of skill or lack of interest I’m not sure. It seems to me losing a sense of composition is synonymous to having an irregular heartbeat.

Comments

19 Comments »

  1. Rodney,

    I have been an admirer of your work for quite some time now, and I have to say, I am very pleased that you have taken up your bloggers pen.

    I will look forward to reading this site every Monday. Until next time…

    Peace to You. – Caleb

    Comment by Caleb Chancey — July 22, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  2. [...] tickled this morning when I popped over to The City Sage and discovered that genius photographer Rodney Smith now has a blog!  I’ve been oogling his work for some time, and I look forward to reading [...]

    Pingback by paper n stitch – Found On… - A daily dose of handmade, design, and style inspiration — July 24, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  3. I’m easily one of your biggest fans. Absolutely adore your work and am thrilled that you’ve decided to share the stories behind your beautiful photos.

    Comment by Alice Yoo — July 24, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  4. Huge fan! I ripped this image out of NY Mag last summer and it hung in my college apartment room all year. brilliant! the story of producing this image is quite impressive.

    Comment by alex — July 24, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  5. [...] first blog entry was about the above photograph, which entry was titled Andrew and Edythe Kissing on a Sea of Cabs. I remember staring at this photograph when I first saw it, trying to figure out how he went about [...]

    Pingback by ‘The End’ by Rodney Smith « b&k m online — July 28, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  6. I am so excited about this blog. Please keep being awesome.

    -Jeremy

    Comment by Jeremy Carter — July 31, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  7. This is so gorgeous!

    Comment by nicole — August 7, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  8. ny city rocks…
    but you more so.

    Comment by kelley@myislandwedding — August 12, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  9. I enjoy your blog.

    Cheers.

    Comment by Her name was Lola — August 13, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  10. Exquisite work — further accompanied by magnificent prosaic descriptions of your photographic imagery! So glad to have found you as explicitly retold in a personal email at your website address.

    Comment by Marjorie (Chalfin) Feinstein — August 22, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  11. I am a huge fan, so glad that I found your blog!

    Comment by Gina — August 29, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

  12. Wow! Its imposible… I’m realy shocked :/

    Comment by Clothing — September 6, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  13. The second thing—which has to do with photography in general, not only this one photograph—is composition. Composition is to photography what rhythm is to music. It is about symmetry and proportion, resonance between the photographer and subject; where everything fits just so. Almost like iambic pentameter in poetry, or natural cadence and body rhythm. To me this picture represents not only everything in its right place, but also the right proportions, the right relationships, the right cadence. Composition is seriously lacking in most photography in the 21st century. It has been abandoned—whether due to lack of skill or lack of interest I’m not sure. It seems to me losing a sense of composition is synonymous to having an irregular heartbeat.

    The last paragraph just sold me on the book. Amen for composition.

    Comment by Cameron Davidson — September 17, 2009 @ 12:20 am

  14. I just discovered your blog….brilliant!

    Comment by Laura Ellington — September 1, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  15. I might be a bit late to the party, but unlike other parties there’s still plenty of food to feast on. Catching up with all your blog posts will keep me busy and entertained for a good while.

    Not only do you have a great way with imagery, I’m also enjoying the way you work with words mr Smith.

    There’s one sentence I’ve enjoyed a lot in the above blog post:

    “After that, shooting the picture was very simple.”

    For me the road to getting the picture might even be more enjoyable than looking at the result. But then again, it might be so enjoyable since I’m fully aware that every little thing that is done will make me enjoy the end result better. I wonder which was first. The craving for an end result I enjoyed, or enjoying the time setting everything up. How do you feel about that?

    Looking forward catching up with all the blog posts and reading more.

    ciao,
    Ivar

    Comment by I am Ivar — January 5, 2011 @ 5:59 am

  16. Who are the models? Are they a couple in real life? They have chemistry regardless!

    Comment by Devon — May 26, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

  17. interesting page. i love it.

    Comment by the scene — December 6, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

  18. [...] pensata per il New York Magazine come omaggio a uno dei simboli di New York, il taxi giallo. Come racconta lo stesso fotografo, i due elementi principali della foto sono la location e la composizione: “La composizione sta [...]

    Pingback by I baci famosi più belli nella storia della fotografia | Il Corriere.net - NOTIZIE — February 16, 2017 @ 2:39 pm

  19. The second thing—which has to do with photography in general, not only this one photograph—is composition. Composition is to photography what rhythm is to music

    Comment by Syed Sajid — November 17, 2017 @ 7:02 am

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