Here are my photos from my journeys as a Street Photographer. Each photo is linked through to my Flickr if you would like to see more detail or sign up and leave comments. Feedback over in Flickr would be greatly appreciated as it will help me develop as a Street Photographer.
Photos from the Street
So today (Saturday) I head out to Wollongong, our major town to do some photos. I get there and it is the 25th Birthday of the Mall. It's pooring rain and there is a semi-fair type feel: kiddies rides, face painting, petting Zoo...the works.
I start moving through taking this shot and that shot, trying to not be noticed. Then the strangest thing happened - one guy came up and asked me to take a photo of him with his kids "for the newspaper"! So, instead of getting into a big awkward discussion, I take the shot. I explain that I can't decide what does or doesn't get printed in the local paper, but I am happy to take his picture. Then, for the next 15 minutes, I had people coming up to me one after another, asking me to take their shot! It was hilarious!
Here I was, worrying about taking photos of people with their kids, and then it's all I can do to stop them from bringing them to me!
From there, I had a renewed confidence and started moving with a lot more certainty and taking shots of this and that. I think the difference in me must have been obvious because people seemed to just accept that I was going to take their shot and allow it to happen! It was surreal...
I haven't been through the shots properly yet as Eric has advised me to try and wait before I do any post production work on them to let the shot sit. So that I work up the actual shot, not the emotion of the shoot. I doubted this concept initially, but after the high I have come home on, I completely understand.
I had a great 3 hours of shooting. This Street Photography is like a drug...but it's personal too. Positive comments are incredibly encouraging and the negative ones are crushing when it comes to our art. Whether that be a picture, an article or even someones response to a video we do.
Be gentle with your feedback to each other - our art is our baby, and no one wants to be told they have an ugly baby!
Be constructive, not destructive.
We are in this together.
Instead of writing about an experience, I recorded a video. It's about a run in I had with a guy whose photo I took. I invested some time and it was a great experience for us both.
The big revelation that came from it was that "it's never just a photo..."
Take a look at the YouTube clip below and see what you think...
Just go toff Skype with my good mate and mentor Eric Kim from Eric Kim Photography. We get together each wek so he can speak into my development as a Street Photographer. Of note to day was a quote:
"Once the amateur's naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur." - Alfred Eisenstaedt
I guess the key to developing as a photographer is to make sure you are always developing as a photographer.
Simple, I know.
I want to open with "this is not my picture!" This is a shot done by the master Street Photographer Thomas Leuthard who shoots under the name 85mm. His site is here and is well worth the look.
When I saw this shot, I wept. No, truthfully, I cried like a baby and I don't mind admitting it either. I think great art should move us emotionally. For me, the river of people follow a predictable line around the corner and flowing down the left, while the man huddles in the calm waters for refuge like the still part of river inside the elbow of a bend. I'd be surprised if anyone even notices him, or at least if they do, ensures they don't notice him too much...
The scary thing in this shot is that none of us are that far from this man. Any one of us could go from where we are to where he is in this picture in a very short period of time. And once there, how do we get out? It's a short step from behind the camera to the front.
I am a Pastor in my day job, and even if you take issue with the notion of a higher being or don't believe, may God or whoever, may they keep us all from the place this man is at. And my hope and prayer is that this man has found his way out.
Street Photography is art, it's art created out of the every day. some days are good and some are bad and some are just plain terrible. But as artists, it is up to us to engage, connect, record and present in the hope that our subject's story may be told. I think Thomas has done that extremely well here....well done.
So, in my time with Eric Kim this week, we discussed the basics of getting your head in the game for Street Photography. While I felt confident and at ease with the idea, truly underneath it all, it scared the crap out of me.
So today, in hospital, I had my camera brought up to me. I decided I would head out to where people are having their cigarettes and see what I could see. Besides, I figured sick people won't be able to throw hard punches if it went bad!
I stepped out and saw an old bloke. I decided to just chat with him for a bit and relax myself. His name was Harry. He immediately noticed the camera on my shoulder and made a comment about "so you take photos, huh?" I told him I was a Street Photographer, which simply means that I record day to day life of the normal people we see everywhere. The conversation changed and we started discussing his long life and what is wrong with him.
In a break at the end of a sentence, I simply stepped to the front, raised my camera, squatted down and took a few shots. He didn't change or pose, he just let me photograph him. When I stood up, we just continued the conversation. He paused and told me I would make millions off his picture, with a cheeky grin on his face. I told him I don't take photos for money, I take them because I want to record in some way, the story of a person in an image. He thanked me in a deep connected way, and said that it made him feel special....
What I learned from Harry is that I am doing good. I am saying to him, or anyone I photograph -
In this world where we are mostly treated as herds of what-evers, the Street Photographer looks at a person as an individual in a specific time and place and records it as a key moment in time. We immortalise the mortals and raise them for a split second above the herd and tell them -
"YOU MATTER. You have value, worth, beauty. I want to remember this moment with you in it."
I thanked Harry for his time and as I walked back in the hospital, I saw a guy with dreadlocks on the phone. I stopped, lifted my camera and took his photo. As I dropped my camera when I finished, he thanked me and smiled.
He got it.
He knew I thought he mattered.
He knew I chose him and he was immortalised.
Then I got it. It hit me.
I am a Street Photographer.
what you looking at Harry??
Harry is a man in hospital. Harry has got some big health problems and has some great life stories which are slipping away from his memory...soon no one will remember, not even him.
dreadlock hospital gown
To cool for hospital - and he thanked me for taking the shot!
no smoking here Harry
comment:ummm....harry, look above your right shoulder, no smoking here buddy. Ahh, doesn't matter. Enjoy it mate.
Andy on escalator
See photo in Flickr with EXIF data
Out shopping at Macquarie Centre and I couldn't help but see how brave and tall he looked. Leading his mum and protecting her while checking out what's going on... trying out shooting from the hip at a shopping centre, I snapped this shot of my son, Andy, on an escalator.
retro look as the boy walks tall
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