Viewfinder | Elements of Scale

Michael Pearce on photographing scale and motion.


“The multitude of neighborhoods that make up NYC and the surrounding boroughs allow for an endless number of photographic opportunities. If the scene calls for it, I try to include the human form to add a sense of scale or motion. As NYC is a giant melting pot, there is never a shortage of interesting characters to capture in the frame.”

Off Duty

“Because of the thousands of photographers in NYC, taking pictures here pushes you to think outside the box. Everyone was out photographing this piece by the photograffeur JR, so I decided to try using long daytime exposures to make a unique image. After some thought about composition and many cycles of red and green traffic lights the planning paid off. “

Game of Chicken

“When I got to this spot to photograph the piece by the artist Gaia the light was not in my favor. The chicken was in a spot of bright sun and the rest of the piece and the sidewalk were blanketed in shadow. Nonetheless, I was excited to catch the interaction between these women and the art and decided that it was enough to overcome the lighting situation in the final image.”


“In the seaside community of Coney Island, the bohemian spirit of the East Village and L.E.S. is alive, especially at the annual Mermaid Parade. In black and white, the umbrellas and streamers give the photo a surreal look and I liked how the couple was framed by their props.”

Safety First

“In NYC there are an endless supply of unknowing subjects right around the corner. I was crouching in an empty parking spot to get a low point of view waiting for the right subjects to complement this piece by JR. Luckily these guys came through and provided several elements in this image including scale and motion. ”

Pattern Match

“One of the fun parts about walking around the L.E.S. or the East Village is that you never know what you are going to find. I turned the corner and I was faced with this large Shepard Fairey ‘Rebel Waltz’ paste up speaking to the musical history of the neighborhood. “

Easy Rider

“As often happens when shooting in the streets of NYC, the city itself becomes a collaborator whether you like it or not. I was in the middle of taking a shot of the pedestrians silhouetted against the setting sun, when this biker slowly drove into my frame, producing a more interesting result.”

Michael Pearce is community contributor to The Local East Village and a New York City native. His photography can be seen here.