I wanted to write you a letter on the art of street photography, based on my personal experiences, my personal passion, and things I’ve learned along the way
Imagine a boat at sea, that is swaying in the ocean. Without an anchor— it would float away (and possibly be captured by pirates).
What is your “visual anchor” in your frame?
Treat the same metaphor to your photos; your viewer is looking at your image. What is the “visual anchor” which keeps their attention from swaying? What is the one thing you want your viewer to focus on in your image? If you make your photos too complicated, your viewer will become frustrated, and move on.
You want one central visual anchor for your viewer’s eyes to settle on — to keep their intrigue. That can be a single eye, a single hand-gesture, a single color, or a single subject.
How far would you go for a shot? French photojournalist Yan Morvan spent his 40-year long career shooting gangs and wars. He was exposed to dangers, gunshots and bombs all the time, and even got kidnapped by one of the most notorious rapists and murderers in France.
An educated man and a talented photographer in situations like these – that had to result in some amazing photos and interesting stories. And you can see both of these in the video.
The joy of Photographing on the street comes from close and engaging photos. Displaying the human nature and emotions in a way that the audience can relive these moments requires the photographer to be close and engaging as well. Unfortunately for a lot of us, it is not easy to stand out from the masses and overcome artificial social boundaries. Causing an irrational fear of photographing in public and making the live as a street photographer very hard. In the following article I will describe the sources of this obstruction that is limiting our full capability.
When I was 20, I was dissatisfied with my photography. I felt like I was being limited by where I lived.
I thought if I wanted to become a better street photographer, I needed to live in Europe — and photograph the romantic streets of Paris, the back-alleys of Prague, and the bustling streets of London.
But the sad reality check was that after backpacking in Europe for a month, I didn’t become a better photographer. I saw some unique things, met interesting people, had different food, and whatnot — but I didn’t become a better photographer.
No, this is not about food 🙂 this is an easy way to remember the four key elements that makes a good photo: Design, Information, Emotion and Timing.
Photographer Craig Semetko explains how he sees that DIET to have a huge impact on a photograph. One element out of the DIET is good, but having three or more, is almost always a guarantee for a great photo. Hit the jump for some examples:
If there is one genre of street photography I specialize in, it is “street portraiture.”
I love talking with my subjects, engaging with them, and focusing on their faces. If I started shooting street portraits all over again, this is the advice I would give myself.
Photos from distant destinations can be wonderful and inspiring. But at the same time, watching them can be a bit depressing when you think you’ll never get to visit those destinations and make such gorgeous photos. This can even cause creative block and keep you from shooting for a while.
But, we must not forget that for beautiful photos you don’t need to travel far. Sometimes it’s enough to simply walk around your neighborhood. This video will inspire you to take great photos without traveling half the world, and it may rekindle your artistic flame.
With holiday spirit all around, Kaiman Wong (better known as ex digital rev Kai) and his friend Rita Law bought each other film cameras for Christmas. The idea was to create a challenge of shooting film in the street. But they couldn’t afford proper film cameras, so they got each other something more affordable: Lomo Instax and Fujifilm Instax Hello Kitty camera. Guess who ended up with the Hello Kitty one. How did the cameras perform in Hong Kong’s busy streets? Is it possible to take decent shots with cameras like this?
I have a problem. I am overly attached to my old work. Work that no longer serves a purpose, but I feel attached to somehow.
When I look at my hard drives, my cloud storage, etc — I feel like I am a digital hoarder. I hold onto too many images.
What is the problem in today’s world? The fact is that we are over-saturated with information. With bits and bytes, it is easy to have “unlimited storage” (whereas with physical storage, there tends to be a limit).
I’ve been trying to take a more “zen” approach to life— and trying to live lightly. I try to pare down my belonging to the absolute essentials, and try my best to get rid of things that are superfluous in my life.
However I haven’t really listened to my own advice when it comes to digital things. I have too many files that are backed up (even though I know I won’t look at them ever again). I also have tons of old photos which I am no longer interested in — but I still keep them for some reason.