In capturing the New York of the 1940s and 1950s, Leipzig chose to shoot in black and white, using a low contrast and focusing a light and angles. He took candid photos of New Yorkers in every day life, capturing moments that contained real emotion, and placed an emphasis on motion. His subjects ranged from upper class and white to poor and black, and intentionally chose to document both the exciting and the mundane, depicting a broad range of moments. His use of perspective draws the viewer in by capturing his subjects from above and below, choosing each angle for the meaning and depth it adds to each photo. For example, in Window Washer, Empire State Building, he shoots from above at a diagonal to give the feeling of being high up above the streets. In Watching Santa, he shoots from eye-level with the children to give the viewer the perspective of the children as opposed to the adults surrounding them.
Because Leipzig shot in black and white, I want to emulate this by doing the same to be able to capture the same light and shadows that he was able to play with. I plan to photograph all over Ann Arbor to replicate Leipzig’s broad range of subjects of all socioeconomic classes. I plan to photograph on campus, at my parent’s house, and on busses, in an ode to Leipzig’s subway photos. I also want to capture scenes from Main St. and the old West Side, which many view as the “real” Ann Arbor. I hope to spend a night a Midnight Madness, a late night shopping event on Main St., which should provide a lot of diversity of subjects and setting.
I plan to shoot both on my Sony A230, a basic DSLR, as well as with my iPhone on Instagram, because of its prominence in today’s culture. I feel that it will allow me to play with light in the same way that Leipzig did. Finally, I plan to photograph people and places that are at the heart of life in Ann Arbor, just as Leipzig did by photographing New York landmarks and notable neighborhoods.
I can appreciate the use of various cameras to try to portray an artistic style similar to that of Leipzig. Also, the destinations in which you will photograph seem like great places to utilize.
Shooting in color will complicate things but it is worthwhile trying. What about looking down on the street? You’ve written up a thoughtful methodology in terms of identifying sites and connecting them to Leipzig’s approach.