Why I Shoot Street
I started to shoot street photography because it gave me the opportunity to be able to shoot every day, in a variety of locations, situations and conditions. I wanted to keep exercising my photographic eye but I felt that it was far too long waiting for a specific photographic excursion or planned shoot, so my camera would go for days without being used.
So one day I decided to just put a camera over my shoulder and literally take it with me wherever I went. It was not soon after that I realised that there is a world of photographic opportunity out there on the street, ready to be taken. Street photography is one of the most difficult genres. It is also very easy to just go out there and spray some shots of people walking head on towards you and call it a day. Starting off I was taking these kinds of images because, well it just felt good to be able to click the shutter and get over my fear of public humilation and persecution (you find out pretty quickly most people dont care, if you are doing it right)
But then you make a photo, and its not even a good photo, but you make this photo that captures something intangible, that freezes some kind of moment that speaks to you. You see something that you haven’t seen before, and yet it is so familiar because you have been seeing it all of your life, but not really SEEING it and you realise that those sort of moments are always happening, ticking away, and as fast as your shutter can open and close they are coming and going, like clockwork.
So you fall in love with the process and you start seeing shadows and shapes and colours and geometry and converging lines and patterns and repetition and everything else. It is all around you every day, but it is seldom just right, perfect or in the right kind of light. Then you add the element of the unknown, the general public, the punter going about his or her daily life, and they become actors on this stage that has just revealed itself to you, except you can’t or don’t want to direct them so there is this added element of the unknown and degree of difficulty that you start to get addicted to.
The first time you nail a shot, when those elements and that stage and those actors all come together in some sort of moment of synchronicity, you are hooked and you become an aspiring street photographer, and you start to realise there is a god of street that gives you moments and takes them away :-)
Then other things start to happen on the street as you explore different approaches. You start meeting people and talking to them and interacting with the world that otherwise would have passed you by — that you would have otherwise passed by, and you start to make connections with total strangers.
Or you start seeing and photographing from totally different perspectives — up high, down low, from the hip, whatever. And you also get stopped alot and asked what you are doing and you are forced to actually think about why am I doing this, WHAT IS MY WHY?
You develop a sense of belonging and community and of ownership of your little patch of concrete and glass and steel and a sense of pride in your neighbourhood, and you also start to realise that we city dwellers are all the same thing — connection — we are not just robots going through our daily lives and the majority of us are happy to stop and chat and talk about art and music and shit things that have happened or are happening in our lives and what we are stuck on or working on or hoping for.
Sometimes in street there doesn’t even need to be any words exchanged, you can see it in the moment you capture, in the shape of a shadow of someones body that shoots across the road and onto the wall, the tilt of someones head or the gestures between two people can tell you everything that you need to know.
Street photography exercises your visual muscles — visual pushups I think Jay Meisel called it, but it also exercises your emotional muscles as well. So, yeah thats why I shoot street, for starters.