Today’s “Times” had this lovely picture on the Front page today, and doesn’t it capture to perfection the simple essence of torrential rain on the city streets.
Taken in Westminster yesterday by Jack Hill, it is one of those all too few images which tells the whole story in one simple, uncomplicated view. We have a street, a woman with an umbrella, and more rain than you can throw a stick at. And that’s it.
There’s no detail in the picture – it’s almost an impressionist study. And it’s the fact that there is no detail which makes the picture work. I doubt if even the individual in the image would recognise themselves. As well as no detail, there’s almost no colour, with shades of grey turning it into almost into a monochrome study.
Except, of course, the little smudge of red in the background. And it’s this that makes the picture come alive.
The composition is excellent – the woman is walking at the edge of the buildings, to get away from the rain, and here she is positioned in the picture space right at one side to emphasise her position and give the feeling of keeping under the roofs if she can. The perspective leading your eye along the street is very strong.
It’s good that there’s only her in the picture, paring down the picture content, so you’re left in no doubt what the picture is about.The bottom part of the image is just tons of rain bouncing off the road, and this puts the whole thing into context. Almost half the picture is "out of focus" rain. Gene Kelly is NOT going to spring out of the shadows here and start singing. The mood is damp and the person wants to get home.
Great atmosphere and great picture.