Piedras Negras, Coahuila, March 2001
On one of my first trips to the lovely city of Piedras Negras, I took a half dozen rolls of Walgreen's Studio 35 film in 200 ASA, which is in reality repackaged Agfa HDC-200. As it was a nice, breezy March day, and people were out and about in the city center, I was able to get a lot of surreptitious shots such as this one, glimpses into people's everyday private lives in public.
If you really think about it, the most important information takes place in less than one-eighth of the image area, in a small sliver that nonetheless tells the whole story.
But, we're in Mexico here, where people adorn their places of business in bright, festive colors. As a result, the crux of the image is wrapped in slashing diagonal lines of the barber's pole in red, white, and blue. The plate glass window's reflection gives context of the barber shop's city locale.
When I first printed this photograph, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of visual information which all converged towards its center -- whose simple composition of a barber's hand steadying a boy's head, as he gives him a haircut -- is yet undisturbed.