I recently terminated a street photography project I’d set myself, as it was too steep a learning curve, pursuing the many different themes from David Gibson’s book. One thing I did take from it though was making a series of people shots around a set background in the hope that a narrative will arise. Here a Happy Birthday Mom balloon seemed to be reaching out for attention but passers-by never did notice it.
There is an air of ambivalence about my street photos that the likes of Vivian Maier does not have! She with her Rolleiflex and me with the Panasonic G6 rotating LCD touchscreen to unobtrusively take street shots. A fascinating medium but on the other hand I’m uncomfortable with the invasiveness, overt or sly, of the lens. Nevertheless I live in Central London and streets are my playground – so I did a bit of playing…
I’ve learnt that the usual rules of framing a photo are nigh impossible with many moving subjects and hence the half in and out of shot is inevitable – besides it adds the element of momentum to the frozen moment.
I was inspired by a recent blog post of Alexander Merc’s who outlines a number of his creative ideas for themes and gives some good advice on street photography:
Be specific by having a project rather than just shooting at random – there are only so many times one can ‘catch a moment’ without it becoming boring and meaningless.
Go out and only shoot around this project. It makes you vigilant and the attention to details really makes a difference in your photographs
Before then one needs an inspirational theme to emerge – here are a couple of possibilities…
Urban pollution has many possibilities including street smokers, vapers, cyclists and pedestrians in masks, traffic, rubbish bins and even graffiti
Anywhere but here: there are multitudes of people walking with their smart phones or in couples texting someone else though this theme could end up a bit samey . Perhaps it should also include people with maps, papers, books etc. Might need a better title though – any ideas?
Of course some of the best and perhaps easiest street photography does not include people. Pigeons make a great theme for Londoners…but I would not want to include them under urban pollution!
As I said in my last street photography post – “Time will tell if that is the end or just a terminus”. Seems as though it was just a stopping off point after all, rather than a full stop. Watch this space!