These Hundred-Photo Composites Take Street Photography to the Next Level


At first glance, photographer Pelle Cass‘ series Selected People makes it seem like Boston is horribly overcrowded. The streets and squares are flooded with people, some of whom look like they’re about to bump into each other without a second thought. And it’s not just people, one tree seems to be the favorite spot of every single squirrel in the city.

Of course, once you realize what it is you’re looking at, it starts to make a little more sense, because the photos in the series aren’t made up of only one exposure, but hundreds of them.

In other words, the photos are composite street photos. To capture them, Cass goes out to a pre-selected location in his home city of Boston and takes anywhere between 100 and 300 photos from the exact same spot. But instead of creating a time-lapse out of them, he pulls them into Photoshop and creates a whole new picture by combining the best people and animals from all of his shots.

“I’m definitely working in the street photography genre, but I’m doing it in a different way,” says Cass. “When I’m looking through hundreds of pictures I’m definitely looking for visual rhythms. That’s not special to me. Photographers look for that rhythm all the time. But I can control it a bit more.”











Some of the photos are more meticulously planned than others. For the above rainbow-themed photo, he made sure to photograph people wearing red at the bottom of the walkway, green in the middle, and violet at the top. But other times he just sets up his camera and shoots.

To see more photos from the Selected People series or learn more about the photographer himself, head over to his website by clicking here.

(via Wired)

Image credits: Photographs by Pelle Cass and used with permission.

  • Neo Racer

    man thats a great idea! I wish I had thought of it. And your all gonna copy it, you know you wanna/will!!!!

  • PJ

    This isn’t street photography, please…

  • Darren

    This was done to a much higher standard by Peter Funch in 2006-2011. Check out his Babel Tales series.

  • Dave Reynolds

    Visual cacophony.

  • F.Talbot

    Amen! Was thinking the same ^_^

  • Tor Ivan Boine

    Have been thinking of doing this for years. Cool to see it in real life :)
    There was another photog who did the opposite. Removing all the people and traffic from big cities. Petapixel have an article about it somewhere

  • Kyla Fear

    thank you for mentioning this series! i just looked it up and greatly enjoyed it.

  • none

    It is..It has people and streets.

  • Vlad Dusil

    Although it doesn’t qualify as street photography, this is a really cool and neatly executed concept.

  • pukkpo

    mass photography! now do it in the moon XD

  • MMielech


  • Kayaking Bunnie

    The only one I find interesting is the last one with the ramp. Other then that I find more noise then my eyes care to look at

  • Northbound

    Oh, I am SO copying this here in Greenland where there’s hardly any people and towns are super tiny. Will be fun to have tons of people in the usually empty streets :)

  • Don Tusk

    I will copy the hell out of it !

  • l0k

    It’s called composite.. it’s been done many times already.

  • ennuipoet

    Stealing it, I admit it!

  • levitor

    Man at least say, “I’ll make my own version of the idea”

  • #payphoneography
  • jay

    Cool work! Superb!

  • Koby

    Just what I was about to write, too

  • Adam Cross

    this isn’t a comment, please…

  • Ralph Hightower

    Forget the people! Damn! Boston has a lot of pigeons!

  • nameless

    Great idea!

  • Aaron Tsuru

    I don’t know. Same technique, very different end result. Funch’s best ones, in my opinion, were the yawning and the eyes closed ones, the more close up ones which are quite different than this guy’s more bigger view perspective. But even when looking at the entire series, they are different.

  • lidocaineus

    …which isn’t the definition of street photography.

  • olafs_osh

    I fail to see street photography there. :/

    As a concept, of course, interesting to look at. Once.

  • D. Benjamin

    I don’t get why this is an article…hate to sound the negative-ninnie but the composition ain’t that great and I don’t see any of them telling a story except maybe the “Portrait of humans using cell-phones” and the cool ROYGBIV planning on the last. These are average snapshots of the urban world…just not feeling the art/statement/uniqueness in layering a ton of us and various critters into bland street shots.

  • Patrick Ahles

    What is the definition of street photography than?

  • lidocaineus

    Photos that take place on the street CAN be street photography but aren’t necessarily so – the definition is narrower. Wikipedia has a fairly decent defintion, and this is taken from it (URLs await moderation here, so feel free to look it up yourself):

    “‘Street’ simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.”

    In other words, it can contain people and streets, but it could also not.

  • Paul Donohoe

    so there doesn’t have to be honesty? or “real” situations? It’s a joke and people who think this is SP are being fooled…get real please

  • discuz

    ah well, if it says that on wikipedia, then it must be accurate.
    I’ll go add some more details to it in 5 minutes to refine that detail even more

  • Patrick Ahles

    So, there has to be honesty in street photography or real situations? I thought that was reserved for photojournalism… I’m not saying this is street photography, but the definition of it is very unclear, even to most street photographers.

  • Patrick Ahles

    Ah yes, wikipedia. Used to be an bureaucrat (still am technically) on one of the smaller ones. Walked away because of the POV pushing, even of other admins… You don’t have a clear definition, probably because there is none!

  • lidocaineus


  • lidocaineus

    Ah yes, the answer of the person who doesn’t know how to use Wikipedia properly. If you did, you’d know that you use it as a starting point by looking at the references cited, as well as using the people, photos, and places that are utilized in the articles to continue your own research on the matter. You don’t use it as a final source; you use it as a bibliography and abstract.

    The funny thing is that while Wikipedia is malleable and editable, your snarky and unintelligent comment will remain.

  • Patrick Ahles

    No need to get rude! Like I said, I have been a bureaucrat for years, I guess you can say I know how Wikipedia works (even if I say this myself). Can I point you to the fact that you were the one citing Wikipedia? Would you have expected another response?

  • lidocaineus

    Yes. Another person would’ve read the definition provided by Wikipedia, decided they did or did not agree with it, and seek further clarification by exploring the cited references.

    It’s a tool; if you don’t know how to use it, don’t complain about it. I can lead you to water, there is no cure for willful ignorance, etc etc.

  • Patrick Ahles

    I’m sorry, you’re right. But you know, ignorance is bliss. Maybe you should get of the lidocaine ;)

  • Paul Donohoe

    I hear what you’re saying but yes, for me it has to be real it has to be honest. For me there is no point otherwise. Too much that isn’t real, isn’t honest without me adding to it hahaha..of course one person’s honesty is not necessarily another’s..No real definition it’s true so i guess we can all make up our own!

  • Ismail Nur

    I didn’t like these photos. So many figures in one frame. So it is boring.

  • Miles

    Thank you! I was trying to remember this photographer’s name after seeing this article. I remembered his shots were more interesting, somehow subtler but more thematic at the same time.

  • ephotographythemes

    thank you for the serie, never thought about it, saludos

  • elcamino

    as always the negatvie people tha always appears seems te be the type that never do anything themself, maybe even the one that buys 5 dufferenr 35mm lenses nd try it on a wall for days to see how sharp they are – street photography in the classic way? no one who is looking this on a creative way cares, great idea.

  • Colin Learning

    Soylent Green much?