I’m a newcomer to street photography. And I mean NEW. I’ve only recently attempted it twice. I am, however, a big fan of the genre and I’m looking forward to diving deeper into it. That being said, the following is based mostly on my appreciation of the genre and not so much the experience.
1. Street Photography Has SOUL
This is hard to explain, but it’s the most important… at least in my book. We see pictures everyday. Beautiful landscapes, portraits, etc. , but some lack the soul. Street photography is that moment you see, and it packs the soul right into it. A true slice of life. Especially the people. Streetscapes have it as well. Maybe as I continue on with my list, this will explain it better.
2. Street Photography Is IMMEDIATE
That moment. Right there. That person. That light. That shadow. Chances are, it’s never going to be there, looking like that, ever again. Sure, you can go back the next day, at the same exact time, abd get something that’s pretty close. But it’s not going to be the same. That person will be wearing something different. They’ll look more tired, or happier. The sun will be a little less bright. The wind will be blowing the leaves a different direction. It’s never going to be exactly the same.
3. Street Photography Is A Challenge
This is all about me, but I know every one who shoots street goes through this. It’s unlike shooting a landscape. In an instance like that, time is on your side. With street photography, it is not. Timing, I reckon, is everything. To get the photo you want, it will take a challenging combination of patience and quickness. Not to mention skill.
4. Street Photography Promotes Socializing
I’m an extremely gregarious person. I find it hard to break the ice, though. When I attempted my first street portrait, it took a while to build up the courage to ask the young lady if I could take her picture. At first she was very surprised, maybe even taken aback. Right after that, she asked me what I wanted her to do. I was so pleasantly surprised! We chatted very briefly, laughed a little, then moved on. It felt so good. I may never see that lady again, but at least I met her.
5. I Love People
I do, I really do. I love watching them, hearing their stores, everything. I think that’s why I like looking at great street work so much. Amazing faces, amazing people.
6. I Love The Feel
Another one that’s hard to describe. Maybe because I’m not well versed in proper photography lingo! My two friends, Spyros and Rob, are really responsible for turning me on to this genre. I had little exposure to it before. Their work, specifically the stark mono shots, did it. Mono is undoubtedly the best vehicle to carry the feel, I think. The shadow, the grit, the definition… that’s where it’s at.
7. It Gets You Out And About
I work way too much, and I work at night. So, I sleep during the day. When the weekend comes, I like to go, by myself, somewhere rural and shoot like crazy. It’s amazingly therapeutic. Now that I’ve gone out on the streets twice, I feel it’s just as therapeutic. Plus, there’s the added bonus of possibly meeting new folks abd seeing some wonderful architecture!
8. It’s Exciting
It is! It’s a thrill. Finding a location. Scanning for a shot. Approaching that person. It gets me going. It’s a nervous anticipation followed by the rush of satisfaction. It reminds me of my days playing in a band. Very very cool.
9. Getting To Know Your City
I live near three smaller cities, and one major one. Drive through them all the time. But now, I’m REALLY getting to know them. Even if I’m not shooting, I’m thinking about it, scouting the scene. I’m taking mental notes or jotting them down. This is especially becoming a big deal for me. I have one, maybe two days on the weekends to shoot, so I have to have a plan. I’m getting to know these towns better, becoming more aware of what scenes may be available, before I’m even out there shooting!
10. It’s Preserving Memories
Yeah, yeah I know… thus sends like a cop out, an easy answer. But it’s so true. It hit me earlier today looking at books documenting a tropical storm that devastated this area back in 1972. Absolutely amazing work. National Guard in the streets to prevent looting. Floodwaters rushing through the streets. People trying to save belongings. It wasn’t really called “street photography” then. The shots were all at street level, though. They definitely had the feel. The images were stunning. Two things jumped out at me. The faces and signs. A lot of the buildings are around still, but a lot of those faces aren’t and neither are those signs. Signs advertising gasoline for 32 cents a gallon. Old stores that closed up. These we were waymarkers on time’s journey.