Street Photography

Started Oct 20, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Larry J. Bond
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Street Photography
Oct 20, 2010

Street photography for me “is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to”…the street and take images.

Let me first say I’m primarily a bird photographer in Canada but during the end of summer and winter when the birds are relatively inactive and when diminishing returns for my effort cuts in, or when I’m on vacation, I turn to street photography.

I’ve recently became quite intrigued in capturing humanity in the streets, in the day to-day hustle and bustle of commerce and social interactions.

Having read a few books on the subject of street photography I see where there is no end to discussion as what Street Photography is, and how to do it. Some claim only a Leica, black and white Tri-X,film, a rangefinder etc. will do the job. Give me a break! Others claim you need to invest in the time to get to know your subject, making them comfortable, like a family member before you capture their image. Give me a break! Others claim you need to capture the moment unobtrusively. And of course there’s all the debate about personal privacy. It's not a black and white subject.

Now I’ll tell you what I think and invite your comments. I believe in the unobtrusive approach and furthermore I believe you need to “bushwhack” or ambush your subject - like you do a bird. They won't even know the light hit them and bounced into your camera. When I see a posed picture of “street” people (birds do not pose) I see an artificial situation, not true humanity. To me these street images are like taking a picture of a stuffed bird in a museum. You got an image, but really, is that what it’s all about.

What a lot of nonsense about privacy. There are cameras all over the place now in major cities. An even in my own area in the country-side around Kitchener-Waterloo in southern Ontario, Mennonites ply the public roads and are against photography. That’s fine if they don’t want to take pictures and have images of themselves in their homes but should that mean others should not take their pictures on the roads on in the markets?

I like to sit in a coffee shop at a major intersection and watch the street-life flow and attempt to capture some of it, unobtrusively, from this perch. In fact, I’d like to advocate a new genre of street photography, unabashed “Bushwacking” Street Photography. I don't advocate using a blind though in the city

Weight in and let me know what you think. I’d love to get a consensus of what people here think about this.

BTW I’m not selling my street images I’m doing it for the pure enjoyment of capturing types of human or social activity. And, perhaps for a little informal therapy.

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