This photograph, which opens Nacio Jan Brown’s Rag Theater, holds many elements in taut suspension, relaying the eye-catching variety and frictions of Telegraph Avenue street life.
The photograph is both balanced and a little ‘off’. At the center, we have two pedestrians walking in opposite directions, about to pass one another by. Likewise, in the right side of the image, two contrasting couples are almost layered on top of each other: a young couple (a woman in a dress with a quilt-like pattern and sandals, a man in dark shirt and pants) cross ahead of an older couple (a woman with a concerned look on her face, a man with close-cropped hair, carrying a briefcase).
Meanwhile the two figures who most magnetize our attention are opposites of a sort. The young woman on the left is high-stepping, her right foot caught in mid-air and perhaps mid-dance, while the young woman on the right is earthbound, sitting on the curb and taking in the scene herself. There is a sense of motion as well as a sense of watchfulness.
All these contrasts, jammed into a relatively small space, allow the photograph to capture in microcosm the variety that drew so many to people-watch on the Avenue—a fact registered here by the figure on the far-left, who snaps a photograph of the side of the street that remains outside our view.