Today I am gonna write a street photography post. Yesterday, I was talking with a friend about street photography. At some point I asked him to show me some of his shots. He says “Ok, go to my blog and take a look.” He had a photoblog, which he updated regularly, so I started scrolling his page. After five minutes or so, I asked him “What is your point? Why did you make those photographs in the first place? I mean that I look at your blog and I see people walking. In the streets, at the beach, climbing stairs and so on. Anyway, they are people walking. I get it. I knew about that even before looking at the photographs. What I don’t get is what are you actually trying to say.” I didn’t say that in a bad, judgemental way. I ask these things quite often, to figure out someone’s perspective in photography, described with their own words.
Apparently, there was no greater subject in those photographs -they were just people walking. But, the photographer I mentioned was into street photography for the last year and a half, so I thought it was a good step. I have a certain opinion about walking people, since I have photographed a few during my early days in street photography.
Taking shots of people walking can be good actually when you are starting out in street photography. That kind of activity can play a dual role as far as I am concerned. First, you can learn about making a good photograph aesthetically. Learning to operate your camera, placing your subjects inside your frame in terms of composition, learning about light and exposure. During your learning period, you can -and you should- take photographs of no significant importance in order to explore photography and yourself as a photographer.
In order to shoot street photography, you have to conquer your fear of shooting strangers in public places. Shooting people walking is a very good start. Street photographers should do that as an exercise. It doesn’t matter at this point if your photographs have a “deeper” meaning or not. The purpose is to prepare yourself to take the shot, without any fear, when you are in the streets and other people are involved -even by just being around.
At some point you will conquer your fears and learn your composition. That is the time to move forward. At that time you should abandon that kind of shots and figure out what you want to say with your photographs. What is the statement you want to make. Having a vision and trying to show it with your photographs, I think is essential. But in order to do so you must feel comfortable working in the streets.
Have a nice day,