What is street photography?
Is it just photographing the street? Or is it so much more? Street photography has become a metaphor for candid, unposed images taken in spaces (inside and outside) with people. It is social documentary photography, with a central subject of documenting or photographing the human condition.
To me, it does not matter, Candid or with permission, Posed or unposed. Inside, outside. Colour or black and white. It is just documenting the essence of human life, the human condition.
Wear good shoes
While walking the streets of the world is all about exploring and experiencing your surroundings. It is possible to shoot your images in the same area or street corner even for decades and come home with beautiful photos. When photographing on the streets could be a physical challenge.
Moving up and down gives you almost a workout. Not photographing from the same standpoint and regularly shooting from a lower or higher perspective makes your images far more appealing and brings more variety. When creating images and exploring the street, you are walking a lot. Wearing good and comfortable shoes helps you not to get distracted so that you can focus entirely on your photography.
When photographing people, emotion is what drives the image. Whenever we look at another person, we first look for the eyes and then the face. It shows how the person feels and in what emotive condition he or she is. The second thing we look for is the complete composition. The image is less appealing when there are people, but no faces are visible. Then the composition of the image becomes more important.
We can see what we are trying to convey by looking at the image.
Learn to look
When you walk around, there is always something happening. Be comfortable with your surroundings, and you will start to notice specific scenes. Not just watching but looking. You cannot have any distractions. You must be there to see what is happening around you and notice the photographic moments. When I shoot with others in the street, I am less effective than walking and shooting alone.
It works like a muscle. By walking around and looking, you will train your eye to see. When that is happening, you will see it is all around you.
Street photography is always a surprise. Some days I come home with just one image. And sometimes with ten pictures. You never know. But they are always unexpected. It is that unpredictability that makes street photography so exciting and fun.
The decisive moment
Hailed by Henry Cartier Bresson. These days, everyone is looking for that decisive moment. That one moment when everything comes together. That split-second when you see and make a photo.
What many do not know is that sometimes he waited hours for that specific moment, That decisive moment. He was a master of his trade. But sometimes, it just does not come together. Those are the moments that we do not know.
Your decisive moment needs time. Compose an image in your head and wait and shoot. At that particular moment, everything comes together, and you have a decisive moment. They happen all the surrounding time. You have to learn to look and be there at the right moment.
Creating your style
You can do street photography in so many ways. But two things are essential. How your images look and what you shoot. Creating a particular style will happen gradually.
For example, photographing with or without flash. Are you a creeper, or do you always ask permission? The way you shoot should fit your personality. (a creeper comes from nowhere, makes an image and disappears. Bruce Gilden is a beautiful example)
In my life, I always use the phrase, ‘do not do to others what you would not do to yourself’ So if you are okay when a creeper photographs you, then you can do that.
Always work with a central theme or project. It guides you and makes it easier to filter out images when photographing.
A way of living
Street photography is a way of life. You have to go out and make images. They do not happen when sitting on the bench at home. It is your vision that you convey. You have to approach people. Go out and make art.