It is 00:50 and I have just about finished posting one of my recent photos on the Social Networks called “Legs”. “Legs” is a photo about a girl in a skirt walking in the street at night. She has great legs as you can imagine by the title and they inspired me to capture her, freeze her in time. What I felt, the anticipation, the satisfaction after the shot, the thrill, all those feelings are some of the reasons why I just love Street Photography!
If you were to ask me:
“Spyros, what are the 10 reasons why you love Street Photography?”
I would have to say the following:
1. The thrill of the hunt for the perfect shot
I like the feeling of being on the lookout for the perfect shot. Looking left and right for the image that will make me feel like I have successfully got what I want. The anticipation, the waiting, trying, failing, trying again. The hunt.
2. The thrill of the moment after the shot
Whenever I shoot a person candidly, I always get a rush of blood to my head, because I can’t anticipate their reaction. I never know how they will react and some times I am surprised by what each person does. Sometimes I get looks of surprise and feel joyful, other times I get smiles and feel great! If people ask me if I took their photo I always say yes and show them. But again, while I am showing them the photo, in that split second, I still don’t know how they will react. They might hate it! Not knowing is what makes the act of snapping people candidly all the more fascinating for me.
3. The satisfaction of Socialising
There are times of course when I see people that are so warm and welcoming, they look as if they are waiting for someone to take their photo. I always talk to those people and let them know that I am interested in photographing them. In 9 out of 10 circumstances they usually like having their photo taken. I enjoy talking to those people, getting to know their story and also sharing things from my life with them. It makes the photographic experience so much richer for me. I can relate to them and I think that this can be noticed in my street portrait work.
4. The Speed rush
This is another thing that makes the blood flow. Seeing a perfect photo unfold in front of my eyes in split seconds, composing it self just for me, in that single decisive moment, knowing that it will be instantly gone for ever, is what drives my hands, mind and eye to take a photo faster that thought it self. Speed. What a rush!
5. About preserving feelings and moments
I always remember the way I was feeling when I took a photograph. I have discussed this with other street photographers and most of them remember how they felt too. This is very, very important for me and one of the strongest reasons why I love Street Photography so much. It is simply amazing how I can look through my photographs and remember the state of mind I was in during the time of the photo. I can remember how I felt. It is like traveling back in time to that instant and reliving the moment. It is an amazing feeling.
6. Documenting my era
I have watched many documentaries about photography and one of the things that is mentioned most in all of them is Documenting life the way it is at that time. I totally relate to this. I find it very interesting. I have already taken photos of places that do not exist anymore, of people that are no longer amongst us and I understand how important it is to “Document my era”. Some people might not find this interesting now, but in 20+ years, most photos of places and people that no longer exist, will be very interesting for the newer generations and even more for the survivors of my generation.
7. Perfecting framing & composing
When I have found a place I want to capture with my lens, I love taking my time to frame the picture and just wait for someone to walk into my scene and complete it for me. By shooting Street Photography, I have learnt how to frame and better compose my images and I keep on learning how to do so. My eye keeps finding more and more details in each shot I am trying to compose, details that make the image more interesting. This is very important for me and one of the strongest reasons why I love shooting Street. It makes me a better photographer.
8. Unpredictable circumstances
Street Photography is unpredictable. This means that you never, never, ever know what you might see on a street hunt. I find this very exhilarating and fascinating at the same time. I remember taking 4 hour photo walk and going back home with 5 shots total and other times I might walk out of my apartment and take a great candid shot right in front of my front door! This has actually happened to me. Being so unpredictable is what makes Street Photography so appealing to me.
9. It is fun!
Oh yes! Fun, fun, fun! Because of it’s unpredictable nature, everything is possible. Combine that with Socialising with people in the street and you get a very good formula for having great fun, at least most of the time. But the fun of Street Photography doesn’t end when leaving the streets. I find it fun to post process my images and to publish them on Social Networks. I find it fun to receive critique for my work. I find it fun to participate in Street Photography communities and groups.
10. It is never the same
You will hear many Street Photographers say that they missed the moment, or when they are lucky they captured the moment. In Street Photography, because photographers work using any available light, objects, buildings, people, animals or anything else from their surrounding environment, they can only frame and compose their images for that split second. Once that second has passed, the image has gone for ever. It can’t be recreated. No matter what, nothing is ever the same. Everything changes, everything is fluid. I love taking photographs in my town, Rethymno. My town is a small town of 54.000 people. It is possible to walk from one side of town to the other in 4 or 5 hours. I have shot photographs in the same spots, tens of times, but each photograph is different, in every way. The reason for this is because circumstances make for different combinations of visual elements which create different pictures.
So, if you haven’t tried shooting in the Streets, grab your camera, any camera you have available and take a walk in your neighbourhood. Look for things that attract your eye, things that inspire you and just shoot them. Have fun, enjoy your self and when you get back home, don’t look at your images. Let your photos marinate, have a shower, have something to eat and then instead of turning the TV on, sit down and relax and look at your photos. Take your time. Remember what was happening around you, things that the lens could not have captured. Remember how your shot was made. Go back in your mind to those moments and relive them. Then, if you feel like it, come back here to this post and drop us a few lines and share your experience with StreetHunters.net. We would love to hear from you!