Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Mean Streets

Street Photography is not easy – not a bit! It is right up there as one of my favourite genres to look at, but doing it is very difficult. I'm not even going to pretend that I'm god at it – I am not. I like to try once in awhile, especially when there are street events happening, which helps make it a little easier.  So, when a festival comes to town, I simply walk around taking pictures ofpeople who are just hanging around between gigs. That's about as exciting as “street photography” gets in a small town.

Now, take a close look at this girl and her dog.

Even though I was using my Jupiter-9 lens (an 85mm, which is equivalent to 135mm on a Canon APS-C), I was still close enough that she saw me – briefly she was staring straight into my lens, and didn't look too pleased. Note the hand gesture. I know there are courtesies that street photographers are supposed to extend to people, but I find that to be the hardest part. I'm much too shy to strike up a conversation, even a simple “Hi – I did just take your picture, and I'm not part of the Media. I just enjoy taking pictures. Here's the one I just took of you, and I'll delete it if you wish”. This is the right approach, but I simply walked by without saying a word.

I know I could make it a lot easier on myself, by just being friendly and obliging. I don't believe in getting people to pose – I know there is some controversy about this, but I'm on the side that says street photography ought to have completely un-posed subjects – shoot first and talk immediately after, I believe is the right approach. A particularly wrong way is to be totally un-obvious – use a spy camera (I don't have one), or shoot from the hip. I tried the latter approach, using my Flip-Bac, and managed to get a couple of good shots, but most were not usable. Here are two where the Flip-Bac worked OK:

I know I simply need to work on my social skills, and I will come out of this enjoying it even more.

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