Ready, Set, Go
I have been thinking about writing a street photography blog for a long time. There are a number of decisions that I had to make before I put fingers to keypad.
Here’s what to expect: The blog will be published once a week, on Thursday. It will be 600 words, give or take. Three to six photographs will be attached.
The posts will cover every possible topic that relates to street photography. I will write about my thoughts on composition, share how-to techniques, discuss the philosophy and issues in street photography and hopefully address topics suggested by readers. In addition, I want to feature other street photographers whose work inspires and teaches me.
My great hope for the blog is for it to become interactive. I dearly want this to be a conversation with my readers.
So let’s get started.
Perhaps my calling was nature photography. However, by the time I could seriously pursue nature photography, the physical demands of the genre, including heavy cameras, big lenses, and tripods were more than I wanted to manage.
My second passion was travel, and I surely took a lot of pictures when I was traveling. Maybe I was meant to be a travel photographer. However, that did not seem like a fit when I would look back through my landscape shots and architecture shots and even sunset shots and be totally disinterested in them unless there was also a person in the picture.
The “aha” moment came when I was reviewing the pictures I took in India in 2010. A picture of a statue was nice. A picture of a statue with a person cleaning it was great. The irony is that on the trip I had put a lot of effort into getting pictures without people in them. Fortunately that is an elusive goal in India. I further realized that I wanted to take candid pictures of people that I did not know. The not knowing part might have something to do with the angst I feel when taking a picture of someone I do know.
My new passion for street photography required a lot of personal growth. To start with, I am not exactly a young whippersnapper, so I had to work on my personal fitness level. I am proud to say that I can now walk from East Village to Brooklyn in NYC or from The Gulch to Broadway and back in Nashville. If you want take street photography you have to be out on the streets .
I also had to come to terms with myself concerning the intrusion that street photography has on people’s private lives. Street photography is essentially taking pictures of people that we do not know. In my mind, the question that has to be answered is, “Do I have to ask for permission to take the picture of a stranger or can I just take a candid picture?” There are legal, cultural, ethical and artistic considerations that must be considered in answering the question. I have written an article that explores these issues for the website Photzy. You can link here to get to the website and download the article.
Fairly early in my pursuit of street photography, I was visiting New York City, doing my street photography thing, when I met a friend for lunch. After lunch she took me to see a mural painted on one of the nearby buildings. Each time she saw it, she said, it reminded her of me because of the lady photographer painted into the mural. That she thought of me this way made my day, my week, my year. I knew exactly the picture I wanted to take. I call it, "The Symbolic Selfie". It is one of my favorite pictures because when I look at it I think, "This is the photographer I want to be."
Think about your history as a photographer. What kind of pictures have you taken in the past? Do you see any changes in the future?