Brothers, Leica M Type 240 with Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH f/1.4.
Shooting people is about your vantage point. You aren’t the photographer, you’re the window to the audience. You try to think like the viewer. Step out of the shoes of someone who thinks in terms of f stops and into the mindset of someone in a movie theater. Or walking into a gallery. Knowing that when you’re low, not just you but the audience will be looking up at them. Like a hero. Likewise, shoot down at something and your audience will begin to objectify the subject, feeling god-like. Place some objects between you and the subject and now the audience is a voyeur. There’s a million tricks. You figure that out before you lift the camera up to your eyeball. That’s just you in the dance.
Doing a little street gambling was their idea. Getting the youngest to put a cigarette in his mouth, also their idea. Older brothers pull younger brothers into adulthood too quickly. It’s a sort of social corruption. But that’s their deal. That’s between them. The bond is strong and you don’t get a say in how they run. This wasn’t about creating a good story anymore, but how to tell it. In a story, you can write in third or first person. You choose the details to describe and you let that guide the imagination. In photography, you run scenarios (“okay, play the game, then when I say ‘look,’ you just stare at me like I interrupted your game.”) and you choose your vantage point.
If I’m above them, they’re scared. I’m the cop judging them. These boys aren’t scared of anything. So, I’m the kid wandering up to them asking, “hey, you guys playing dice?"
That’s how you approach brothers. With reverence. Fear. You ask permission to join, knowing full well, you can never join. You don’t speak their language. The best you can do is catch a glimpse. And move on.