One of the great ironies of photography is that you can turn a certain weakness in the original capture into a strength that sets the tone and separates it from the usual. Such is the case with Bob Klein’s LexJet Sunset Award-winning image at the Photo NorthEast competition called Walking the Lonely Street, which was captured in a village near Vienna.
The image has just the right elements that evoke an Old World scene. Or, as Klein puts it, “You can project yourself walking down the street in this scene.” Perhaps that’s what caught the judges’ eyes, but much of the beauty of portrait – aside from the framing of the street, the lone figure with an umbrella slightly off center walking away from the camera and the way the buildings come to a satisfying point on the horizon – is in its weakness.
Klein explains, “It was overcast with poor light and light rain, but I loved the way it looked. At the time I considered it unfortunate, but in retrospect it was fortunate. That camera I used is more for speed than high ISO, so it was kind of noisy. I had to figure out what to do with the noise, and decided to put more noise in it.”
Klein spent 25-30 hours on the image to get just the right effect, or as he calls it, “trial and error.” He essentially took all the color out of it and treated it like a painter’s canvas using Photoshop and Lightroom.
“The sad thing, or really the good part of photography for me, is that it’s a borderline obsession where I get lost in time. It offers an opportunity to be creative in capture and creative afterward,” he says.
Print master Jonathan Penney output the image for him and added the appropriate matting and deckled edges of the print to complement the image.
“The printing and the presentation are wonderful, and it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else; it really enhances the image,” says Klein. “I sent it to Jonathan and he said that he’d hang it in his house. I was really encouraged by that, because he has some great images he’s printed for others.”
Klein is a partner in a media buying and strategy business. Photography is his creative outlet, especially on his extensive travels. Though not a full-time photographer, Klein says he spends almost as much time on his photography as he would if it were his full time job.
“I joined the Westchester PPA and started competing, and the critiques helped me see things differently and I worked to try and improve what I do. Fortunately, I have come up with some images that others say are good, and not just me thinking they’re good,” says Klein.