You know sometimes there's a need to evaluate or question what it is you're doing or attempting to achieve, especially where Street/Life Photography is concerned. I know exactly how I want the end product to be when I'm shooting portraits or families or even weddings, I go about it knowing I'll get the desired results. I may want to capture the persons character, a feeling, a moment, sometimes there'll be a narrative. Here's a couple of examples from weddings I've photographed that I hope demonstrate. The little bridesmaid here looks posed, I promise she wasn't, she stayed still on her mothers wedding gown for literally a split second and I'd been trying to get a shot of her all day! -
My serious interest in Street/Life Photography began over five years ago. I thought it would be something fairly easy for me to adopt. After all I was used to working quickly and looking for a shot that might work. How wrong I was! Very occasionally I get one, but mostly not. I lost any desire to gain "likes" on photography platforms or social media a long, long time ago, so that's not an aim. Nor is it to emulate any other photographers success, it's pointless to imitate. I mean, how many shots of people on zebra crossings or emerging from tunnels are too much? Evidently there's never enough of them if you look through what's presented on Social Media. Gaining some inspiration is ok, I have plenty of books and of course there are those in my circle of photographer friends whose opinion and images I greatly respect. There are times when I feel like giving up, I take a trip in Bath walk around and see...well...often not that much. I still click away. A few days later I'll look through the shots and say to myself "It's just people walking along". Perhaps there was some nice light or geometery that caught my eye at the time, but essentially that's all they are. Here's some recent examples -
We see plenty of these kind of images and they call it Street Photography...I beg to differ, it's just people walking along. I tried some steps the other day to see if I could get something different which didn't really work and also got so fed up that I actually took a photo of a pigeon...just to see if I could manually focus a moving object at f/0.95...man it really is scraping the bottom of the barrel!
I know I should only be posting my best stuff, but I think it might help others who sometimes struggle to find their way. Yes, they'll stumble on to this blog and think "now I know how not to do it"! Also I hope to prevent anyone taking photos of pigeons, it's something that must stop now! So, I found a wall that I liked the texture of and followed Sam Abell's advice and waited. I put one of these in my last post, but here's that again and the rest of them -
Ok, we have an interesting background, some light, shadow and texture, but apart from the first image essentially it's just people...I'm going to stop saying that now, I think you know what I mean. It is soul destroying when you eventually open up the files and this is all you find. Perhaps I should stick to just shooting my morning walks with the dogs and children, forget this Street/Life Photography malarkey. Here's two from the weekend -
What do you mean these are crap too? Did you click on the thumbnails to open them up? Come on, this isn't Instagram or Facebook you know, make an effort ;-) I bet you started reading this and thought "he's going to come up with an answer"; sorry, no one wants that answer more than me, but I haven't quite found it yet. I'm working on it and in the meantime I'll keep shooting.
I'll finish with a shot I took in Stroud, I mentioned that trip in another recent blog. Nothing came out of it and then I looked through the handful of shots I actually took once again. There was one that I'm certain no one will like, but importantly I do. There's a flash of colour from a sign that initially draws my eye and a look from the subject matter of...well, you can see for yourself, I named it "Laundry Blues" -
I think he's saying "this isn't working, I'm washed out, we need a day off love...". It's not perfect, even so this is more the kind of thing I want to photograph, it would never prove popular I know and that makes it even more appealing to me for some reason. At least there were no pigeons, tunnels, steps, zebra crossings or just people just walking along involved....in any case it will fit into my Shopfronts Project. Which reminds me, there's work still to be done on that and probably always will have, I've been offered an opportunity to photograph inside a brewery in the New Year, we'll see if anything from that can be used.
As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with either a Summicron 35mm or Noctilux 50mm lens fitted.