People Watching – Grand Central Station

Last week, I spent a couple of hours shooting in Grand Central Station. This was great fun and very different from the kinds of work I usually do. One big difference is the subjects mostly did know know I was taking their picture. More about that later. The girl in this image noticed one photographer shooting – but not me!

I was intrigued by the shafts of light coming down from the skylights and tried to capture people walking in and out of these columns of light. The range of very dark to bright light is tricky to photograph. In Photoshop, I brightened the dark areas and darkened the bright ones, but still kept the feeling of high contrast.

For the clock, I took a fairly uninteresting image from 100 feet or so away, but liked the clock and so cropped out 95% of the picture. One of the advantages of my new camera, the Nikon D800, is huge file sizes – 36MPs. These big files allow you to crop in tightly and still get and a very sharp and highly detailed image.

Everyone in Grand Central is either talking on the phone, checking emails on their phone, or taking pictures on their phone – or getting their picture taken. In the 2 hours I was there, 5 people (or groups of people) asked me to take their picture with their phones or cameras.

All of these images are in the tradition of street photography, even though I was not out on the street. Cartier-Bresson is my idol in this art form. The idea in part is to capture people in their environment while they are unaware you are shooting, so the images reflect them in a natural and unposed state.

I plan to go back to shoot at Grand Central – it’s an amazing space that is full of life and energy. As always, your comments and questions are welcome.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

9 Responses

  1. I think I like the family of the Superman girl the best. It’s like…the family from Kansas, and they are breathless in the big city.

    Nice shots–


    • Blake Robinson says:

      thanks, David, I liked them too – and was trying to get the image before they saw me. so different from most of my work, where the subject(s) are willing particpants! but there’s a great tradition of “street photography” – Cartier-Bresson and others – whose work I admire and in whose footsteps I want to walk.

  2. love this series, BLake! such a beautiful series. I also love candid images of people looking at paintings in museums. Food for thought:)

    • Blake Robinson says:

      thanks, Rhonda. I’ll definitely do some people loking at art in museums. there are some classic images where the people’s stance/expression mimmics the art in a humorous way.

  3. Brother Blake Good to see you increasing your surroundings photos No end to what yoy can photo just whe]at you choose Great clark

  4. Lynne Tiano says:

    I love the word information over the family. Also, not showing faces with the boy and dad.very moving.grand central is an endless world of inspiration.

  5. Hi Blake — Just found this — love the light and the painterly quality.


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