Observing modern urban life, one might easily conclude that life is simply disorderly chaos. Indeed, the juxtaposition and coalescence of the unexpected and the inconceivable are what often makes street photography so surprising and interesting as a genre. But if an observer takes the time to look more intently, one may start to discern that behind the chaos is actually a rhythm, a beat, a tempo that manifests itself. There is a dance, a musical pattern, a syncopation and synchronization that plays out in the reality around us, and sometimes it is possible to capture impressions of it.
The modern city can often seem to reflect pure chaos. In this photo, a number of realities are thrust together in disjunctive fashion. A drunk or homeless man lies face down on the street with a cloth over his head, a couple walks their dog by with nary a concern, and a dwarf woman walks in front of a community bulletin board plastered with a chaotic bevy of announcements, advertisements, and wanted signs.
Observe the world closely and it is often possible to perceive that beneath the seeming chaos are, in fact, distinct beats of rhythm and movement. It is these rhythms of pattern, movement, sound – the beats of a silent musical score or a subtle dance of movement and timing – that color our surroundings and give wonderful energy to everyday life.
A stream of pedestrians walk from right to left in a steady beat, but two women form an accompanying beat in the opposite direction, the woman in the foreground with the shamrock shirt helping to frame the woman in the background between pedestrians moving in the opposite direction.
The individual in the foreground stands atop a dotted line that leads the eye towards the background, while the backfoot of the individual in the background lies atop other dotted line, leading the eye to the foreground. Meanwhile, the perspective lines of the rooftops and line of yellow cabs leads the eye towards the distance and off the edge.
Like a musical score, this images is layered with different beats and tempos working together to form a rhythm, from the line of seated people with their legs and heads facing in the same direction, to the synchronized and regularly spaced fountain streams, to the timed ripples of water heading out towards the corners of the pool, to the constant stream of yellow cabs driving by, to the regularly distanced windows, to the clumps of pedestrians walking by.