©Alan Schaller

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The photographic style of Alan Schaller’s black-and-white street photography in his book “Metropolis” (teNeues) wasn’t born out of an idea he set out to create, he writes—at least at first. He was simply experimenting with street photography. He’d print the photos and keep them in a shoe box. One day, as he laid out prints on his living room floor, he grouped together five that seemed to correlate because of their strong black tones. After that, he set out to make more photos in that style. “It was the starting point of this book, and it defined the style that I still run with to this day,” he writes.

An epiphany dawned when a friend perused Schaller’s photos and remarked, “These images look like people dwarfed by the modern world around them.” It was an aha moment for Schaller, as he hadn’t seen that theme in his own work, and it highlighted the importance of showing one’s work to others.

“For me, the process that seems to work best is to instinctively shoot and reflect later. But it is critical to have the insight of others, as it’s easy to overlook simple things when caught up in the creation of something.”   

Amanda Arnold is a senior editor.