Since I began photography in January I have owned two cameras. My first purchase was a Canon SX240 compact camera and then, in July, I purchased a Nikon D7000 with the 18-105mm kit lens along with the 35mm and 50mm 1.8G prime lenses. So, why did I choose a DSLR?
I don’t have any first hand experience with any other types of camera so I would like to talk about why I chose the equipment I did. I will also talk about the positives and negatives I have found so far.
So, what is Street Photography? I’m not going to get into genres, types of street photography, history of street photography or what is, or isn’t, considered street photography as these subjects have been talked about, discussed, agreed/disagreed and argued over so much in the past, present and, no doubt, in the future too.
Besides, who am I to decide what is, or isn’t, street photography?
So, what I want to write about is what street photography is to me personally. What it has done for me personally and what I choose to photograph and not to photograph.
This week I thought I would do more of a pictorial blog post about the places I go and the streets I walk looking for material. I live in the South East of Spain, just outside the city of Orihuela which is situated close to the border of the Alicante and Murcia regions. Orihuela has been my main source of material but I love to go to the cities of Murcia and Alicante when it’s possible.
There are many different styles, genres and types of Street Photography. We all like different things, see things differently and have our own interests, styles and things we like to shoot. The things I see, find interesting and decide to capture, for example, others may not connect with. So what makes a good Street Photograph? How do you capture the imagination of the people viewing your work?
As someone who is new to street photography and photography my knowledge of the masters of street photography is extremely limited. I don’t own any books yet partly because I have spent all my money on equipment and partly because I live in a foreign country where it is not so easy to obtain them in my native language. Therefore all the information I have is what I have learnt from the internet and watching You Tube documentaries.
During my short time as a Street Photographer I have come to realise just how difficult it is. As I said in my introductory post ‘anyone who thinks it’s easy has probably never tried it or doesn’t do it properly’! Sure, anyone can stick a 200-300mm telephoto lens on and take random snapshots of people 100-200 metres away but that’s not what street photography is all about. So in this blog post I will try and explain some of the difficulties I have encountered so far.
“Is There Such A Thing As Ethical Street Photography?”
What a question! I suppose that depends who you ask!? Let’s start with the people we shoot. Some of them enjoy having their photo taken so if you ask them they probably won’t see any harm in it but what about the people that take exception to it? I’m sure if you ask them they will say that no street photography is ethical. Then we have us the photographers. Every street photographer thinks different about ethics. There are some that would say “anything is fair game on the street”, others who have strong ethical views and some who take the middle ground. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone so all I can do is tell you my point of view and the ethical values I have for myself. Hopefully this will spark some debate and feedback from some of you.
Ever since I began street photography I have worked almost exclusively in black and white (or monochrome). I think this was partly influenced by the work of others, the traditions of street photography and also because of personal preference. The only times I will produce a colour image is if the colour is vital to the visual impact of the image. I have nothing against colour street photography and, in fact, I find it quite intriguing how styles and the use of colour or black and white varies by country and continent. For example, I have noticed, there appears to be far more colour street photography produced in Asia and North America than there is in Europe.
So here are 5 reasons why I prefer to work in Black and White;
Many street photographers choose to use compact cameras rather than DSLR or Mirrorless cameras. This post will hopefully highlight some of the reasons why.
1. Size and Weight
Obviously, by its very name, a compact camera is small and light. Therefore they are easy to carry around and the size and weight don’t become a burden when you are out for several hours, walking the streets, looking for new material. A photowalk for 2-3 hours can be quite tiring particularly if it is hot. If you carry a lot of equipment you will tire quicker, both physically and mentally. A compact therefore is a good option as you will hardly know it’s there in terms of its size and weight.
When I first sat down to write this post I thought to myself, “this will be easy”, but how wrong I was. The thing with Street Photography is that a lot of it is spontaneous so you don’t get time to think, you just react. Anyway I’ve given it some thought and here it is;
1. A Lifelong Interest in People Watching
As I mentioned in my profile, I only started photography at the beginning of this year and street photography a short time after that. Throughout my adult life though, I have always been interested in people. I love watching them, their mannerisms, the way they dress etc. Be it while having a coffee at a street cafe, in the park, on the beach or just walking the streets there are infinite opportunities. This is what probably influenced me, more than anything else, to take up street photography.