In spite of the logistical time constraints that I had been bounded to by my wife (45 minutes), I still managed to arrive in Jackson Heights with a uncontainable smile on my face. It was Halloween evening and before heading out with our son to stockpile on sweets he eventually would not even end up savoring, I was anxious to carry out what I regrettably missed the year before. I wanted to capture a few Halloween street portraits.
My favorite moments in this neighborhood have generally been what others would classify as unglamorous. The weather has invariably been dreary, the sidewalks severely dense with shoppers and people eating mysterious and delicious-smelling food who’s aroma permeates from block to block but what stood out above everything else this day where the endearing kids of all ages dressed in their ostentatious costumes which were most likely carefully hand-picked by them.
With the limited amount of time I had to shoot, walking aimlessly for the sake of it was not on my mind. I felt I had to find a way to consciously bring the spirit of Halloween to me rather than chasing it and having to compromise with the disparate backdrops and lighting conditions in which I would be taking the portraits.
As a walked a few blocks glimpsing at my watch and pressed with time, I stumbled across an enormous white brick wall which culminated in being the ideal backdrop that I was looking for. Any element that took away the limelight from the actual Halloween costume was not an option. The biggest opposition you’ll ever have with photographing people on the streets with permission is getting over the fear of that first solicitation. After you’ve done it once, your confidence level has a propensity to skyrocket and that’s exactly what happened.
I didn’t want to have to deal with parents being concerned about their children’s face being capture by a gentleman requesting portraits on a corner street so I opted only to request permission from those trick-or-treaters who’s face was entirely concealed by their mask. A few parents wanted higher-quality photos of their children dressed in costume than what they were managing to capture with their cellphones so I took a few with my DSLR and eventually ended up emailing it to them. The rest is history.
Not that it matters what tool I used to take the portraits but because I received a few emails inquiring about it, the photographs were taken and edited using the iPhone 5 along with VSCOCam.