It happens to be his daughter Tess’s 16th birthday on the day I speak with Sheldon Serkin about this photograph, which he took when Tess (on right) was just six. Sheldon and his wife, Tali, had taken Tess and her older brother, Elliot, to visit an exhibition at New York’s Bronx zoo when they came upon the prairie dog enclosure.
“I wanted to take a photo of these bubbles in the ground, which visitors can climb up into as though they are in with the animals,” Serkin says. “It looked like an alien landscape to me. I framed the shot without the surrounding spectators, and as one of the prairie dogs took centre stage, children popped up in all three bubbles. It was brilliant timing and made an even better photo than I had anticipated.”
Back in 2013, Serkin was using an iPhone 5, and the app Hipstamatic for his edits. “I still use it once in a while,” he says. “It has some good filters.”
Serkin has been shooting strictly with iPhones since he began street photography in 2010, and cites their intuitive nature as the main reason he has never felt the need to explore competitor brands. As for how he feels about this photograph after all this time, he says that, despite being the harshest critic of his own work, he still likes it a lot.
“I’m always trying to anticipate what will happen next when I’m shooting, but sometimes things come together in just the right way at just the right time.”