Street Photography is a recent interest of mine. In spite of not having a lot of insight into where the appeal comes from, I’m drawn to it. Maybe the reasons for enjoying photographing people you don’t know in sometimes private moments is an area you shouldn’t analyze too deeply. Then again, that’s not the way the human mind works, at some level you have to at least try to figure it out.
For me one challenge is because the method is completely opposite from the way I would normally work. You can’t do much planning, you can’t take time to set up the shots, or to work out the camera settings to get the best image IQ. It’s all about carrying the camera, looking for opportunities and grabbing the moment. Think fast, be flexible and pay attention.
On any photo excursion there is no guarantee you will get a decent shot, much less a great shot or a portfolio piece. I think most photographers will be guaranteed to miss a lot of shots. Certainly some of those shots could have been portfolio pieces. Street photography can be an exercise in frustration.
Another point is that you have to get out and mix with the crowds. While there is a street photography ethos that says you should remain invisible, it doesn’t always work that way in real life. People will ask questions, they will change their behavior when they become aware of the camera, and sooner or later you will have to deal with hostility. Fortunately most people are friendly so long as you don’t stick a camera in their face or try to invade their privacy. Act like a human being and things generally go well.
All of that is what makes it a challenge. At the end of the day what people are most interested in is other people. They are an endlessly fascinating subject. So here are my favorites from my first year of street photography. Click any images for light box.