One of the MANY joys of photography is you often get to try out something completely new 🙂
I have never really thought about “Street Photography” as a branch of the art in itself – I always assumed that if you took a photo on the street, and it included a person doing something interesting, that was just your good luck.
Street Photography requires deliberately seeking out interesting candid shots, composing, shooting and processing those photos in order to SAY something about my world….. I normally set up my photography quite carefully, pose people, think about exposure, depth of field, colour and light – with street photography I have to just shoot and hope for the best.
I only started this week. It takes me two hours to travel to work and back every day – a bit longer when I jump out to shoot a beautiful sunset – and now that I have chosen the theme of “Street Vendors and Beggars”, it’s taking me even longer than usual!
The idea is to shoot people on the street without them realising it, so that the shot seems spontaneous. Ideally, they should be looking in your direction – that’s where the challenge comes in! Not too many people like being photographed by complete strangers. I find the best thing to do is to smile and give them a friendly wave, and drop the camera out of sight. When they lose interest in me, that’s when I quickly grab my shot.
Oddly, some people don’t seem to mind and will give me a lovely smile when they see me pointing my Canon at them – go figure!
These pictures tell a story. Each shows a jobless person, trying to make a living by selling to, or begging from, motorists stopped at intersections. This is unfortunately a VERY common phenomenon in Johannesburg – and quite often these guys are the hi-jackers… This young chap, for instance, looks a little too well-dressed to be truly down and out. He is collecting refuse from motorists, in return for a few coins. That requires you to open your window, and makes you an easy hi-jacking target. That’s why I photographed him in my side mirror!
This old man is obviously an alcoholic. He hangs out at the same intersection all day long. He used to stand and beg, but I see he mostly sits now. He’s as thin as a rake, can barely walk, yet manages to survive on the kindness of strangers.
Taking photos on the street has really opened my eyes. I notice far more now than I ever did. Yes, this is a depressing subject – and yet there is a strange beauty in it too.
The photos work really well in black & white or sepia tones. Strong light, deep shadows and even some motion blur don’t detract from the story the picture is telling – they seem to enhance it.
This is a very interesting and fun way to challenge your photography skills!