Where You Can Go in Your Town to Do Street Photography
I have often wondered if I lived in NYC, would my trajectory as a street photographer be any different? I am fortunate, indeed, to be able to visit my NYC son several times a year. In terms of opportunity, street photography in NYC is like shooting fish in a barrel. I hasten to differentiate opportunity from excellence, but the more you practice, in theory, at least, the better you get.
I am also fortunate to be able to travel a lot. I find that if I am in another country, most experiences seem novel and that, alone, creates opportunity for me. What is hard for me is when I am at home in Nashville. I struggle to make myself go out and shoot, because, quite honestly, I have very little imagination about how to take pictures that are fresh and innovative when I am in my home turf.
I once made this incredible observation to a group of Nashville street photographers, “Almost any place is better for street photography than Nashville.” Ho boy, was that a misstatement. What my mind was thinking was, “Almost any place is easier for me to take street photography than Nashville.” Let me assure you, that is not the fault of Nashville. Come on over and you can take some splendid street photos and join the ranks of some enormously talented photographers in this city. I will be happy to take you on a Photo Walk.
I am going to solve this problem this year. I am going to make up a list of places I can go in my city where I can take all of the street photography, I am capable of taking. And then I am going to go. If you are having a hard time finding places to take street photography in your community, perhaps my list will help.
Beaches or waterfronts
Places where there is public transportation including bus stations, airports, subway and train stations
Places with street art
I have decided on a project theme. Nashville is known as the Music City so, to make it simple, my theme for the year is “Nashville Playing”. On the plus side, almost everywhere I go in Nashville affords me an opportunity to get a picture related to music. On the minus side, I will have to really be creative so that this project is not completely banal. As I have indicated in an earlier blog, I am totally committed to building collections of photos. I have many different albums, so I will also be looking to add pictures from Nashville to them.
If you are truly from a small town, I suggest that you develop a project that documents the town life and history. Perhaps you can begin by taking pictures of families in the town, so that people understand what you are doing and get used to the idea that you will be out and about taking candid pictures. If there is an area of town that is changing, try to document the changes. Find interesting places to photograph and go there over and over, at different times of the day, so that you become an expert in photographing that tiny bit of space.
My friend, Patrick Kalberg-Kahn, through a comment, added a nice example of the work that can be done by a photographer living in a small town or the countryside. Check out the Instagram feed of Billie Charity, @billie_charity. She was recently nominated for a British National Photography Award.
Are you taking street photos in your town? Are there barriers to your success? Can you think of any ways that might get you around the barriers?