Philip-Lorca diCordia’s Heads

In this series, diCordia carefully sets up his stage to highlight a specific point in a crowded place, and then waits to see who will stroll into it. He uses shafts of light to capture passers-by in an instant when they are completely unaware of him and what he is doing. His work as been the subject of some debate, and a court case by one of his subjects, as they felt that their privacy had been invaded by him. However, the right of photographers to take photos in public places was successfully invoked and the subject had to accept that diCordia could use their image without permission.

Here are three of his Heads images, as examples.

And here, below are a few of my own version of the premise, all taken from the walkway from Charing Cross to Waterloo stations. Unfortunately, the light was poor so there is a certain amount of blur, but it is interesting to note that the feet are clear in all the images, regardless of what is happening to the rest of the body. What I find striking about them is the way they interact with each other, the body language and also how the baldness of some of the men’s heads makes them look vulnerable. I would be keen to return at a busier time, and better prepared, to take more images of groups and people passing each other. For instance, in this first image, the man with the shiny shoes is striding out assertively, perhaps on his way to a meeting, while in the one at the bottom left, the couple heading from left to right have been parted by the other man passing between them.


5 thoughts on “Philip-Lorca diCordia’s Heads

    1. Holly Woodward Post author

      I think it was just the POV, Catherine. But I wasn’t paying much attention to their speed. Too busy looking through the viewfinder and waiting for people to cross the field of vision. Emma, it’s true. There is no sense of voyeurism, is there. They have a vibe of objective observation, which was what they were.


  1. emmapocock

    I like the unusual angle on these, impersonal but for some reason not voyeuristic (I would have expected to feel uncomfortable looking down on people like this but I don’t)


  2. teresalanham

    I did a similar thing while I was on holiday and I probably felt at my most voyeuristic when I was taking the photographs – I was a long ways away and they really had no idea I was taking them. Possibly part of this that I was looking for types (eg someone on a bike or with a shopping trolley/pushchair) and I wanted them silhouetted so very impersonal. I particularly like the first one against the herringbone paving blocks



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