It goes without saying that if you want to get better at something you have to practice. Simple, right? The thing is, that unlike more structured pursuits such as sports or music, the idea of practicing street photography seems a bit hard to wrap one’s head around. But before we get into that, we should establish the best methodology for practice in in general.
How many people remember my interview with Eric Kim? This was a huge deal for me! I remember when I first started shooting street, his blog was one of the first that I came by. It was filled with so much information, but what was more interesting to me were the interviews he did with other street photographers. These interviews helped me discover so many photographers, Brian Day, Damian Vignol, Josh White… I could name so many. I just remember thinking, my work is going to be next to theirs… again it was just really exciting for me.
Street Photographers are not known for their reserve. We are happy to give advice on gear, framing and technique. But I believe the best photographers are those who also seek advice and look to learn from others. But not all advice is equal, and some ideas are outdated, narrow minded, or just plan wrong. In this article I am going to go question some of the advice that has almost become folklore in Street Photography, and pose the question, is it time to move on?
Dillen van der Molen was born in Ethiopia. Both his parents passed away in a famine not long after Dillen was born. His father managed to bring his son to a children’s home before he left this world, and Dillen was later adopted by a Dutch family when he was two years old.
At the age of three, it became clear that Dillen had developed cataract eye problems, sadly, in both eyes. A very rare condition for children. At that time, doctors just did not have the tech to operate on this condition before Dillen turned twelve. Once Dillen turned twelve though, he went into the procedure. His eye lenses were replaced with eye implants in both eyes, first his left eye and then his right eye a year later.
One of the best exercises for street photography I ever adopted was to focus my internal monologue into a process of constantly describing what I am seeing. I have always been introspective about the way I work, when it comes to what influences my overarching approach, what draws my eye moment to moment, and what I look for while curating.
I think the question of whether something is or is not art is a bit disingenuous, and can be used more as a tool for gatekeeping than true analysis or critique. There is no objective standard for what makes something enjoyable as a piece of art, whether that is a photograph, music, sculpture, or a blade of grass in a field. However when it comes to the deliberate creation of an artefact I think that the intention of the creator is very powerful, and can offer some strong insight into the way that work can be interpreted.
Last month, street photographer Math Roberts attended Notting Hill Carnival in order to take photos at one of the world’s largest street festivals. While he was shooting on the final day of the carnival, Math found himself in an unpleasant situation which quickly escalated. The man he was photographing assaulted him and smashed both the photographer and his camera.
If you want to capture genuine, candid moments in street photography, you need to be discreet. Oftentimes, getting noticed by your subject will completely ruin the moment you wanted to photograph. So, you need some techniques to stay unnoticed, yet don’t seem like a creep. In this video, Samuel Lintaro Hopf will show you ten tricks that will keep you low-key just the right way.
Last week, street photographer Joshua Rosenthal visited the Ventura County Fair in Ventura, California. Since he is, well, a street photographer, he used the opportunity to take some candid portraits of people at the fair. When he woke up the following day, he saw something extremely unsettling: photos of him were shared across Facebook, along with vicious and disturbing accusations from local vigilantes.
I believe we all hate it when we get stuck in a creative rut. But hey, it happens, and there are ways to overcome it. One of the ways to get out of it is to try a different genre, and that’s exactly what Manny Ortiz did. The portrait photographer hit the streets and tried something new – street photography. It didn’t go quite as he expected, but he learned a lesson that will be valuable to all of you who are currently experiencing the creative block.