(available as print)

To give an indication on how to read this picture, I could use the title “Umbrella and Knife”. Before going on reading, click on the image above and look carefully.

The umbrella is not difficult to find and helps to focus the eye on the couple of women posing involuntary on the left. It is less immediate to identify the knife that points threateningly against a poor husband, on the right. This scene is ambiguous due to chance (considering the age of the couple, I would not be surprised to discover that his wife imagined something like that at least once!).

Ambiguity is a fundamental characteristic of photography and makes some pictures more special than others. This is especially true for certain photographic genres, such as Street Photography. It is not the case of photojournalism, where being ambiguous is a big problem. There were and there are several discussions and statements on this topic and on how much a photo can be authentic in telling what really happened. Unfortunately (or luckily) an image says everything and says nothing: it depends by who took the picture, how and what words were chosen to complete the image. Eventually the reader has the difficult task of trusting what the photo shows, according to what he already knows about the subject and his willing to look for other sources, not necessarily photographs, to verify the message.

Back to the photo of the post, there are other details to note in the background. Right after the knife there is a surprised child and another couple: the woman seems interested in the crime that is going to happen, while her partner does not care at all. In the center of picture another man, framed by the last of a series of geometric shapes, is watching something we cannot know: the same thing that also the couple of ladies with the umbrella is following with interest.

Did I miss something? Oh yes, myself, reflected in the upper right of the photo. I guess I said all, or maybe not? There is another reflection in the center and… well, some pictures need to be seen more and again.