Street Photography is both a private and a public experience.
There you are, walking through misty autumn rain with your 50mm lens and your trusty DSLR or rangefinder. It is man vs. nature. It is recording what light allows you to record. It is wickedly delightful people watching. It is deciding what to capture and what not to capture. It is your trial and error. Get the shot, miss the shot. Nobody can help you compose and shoot. It’s just you. Street Photography is your personal failure or triumph.
Street Photography is also social networking. It is interacting with people. Unless you are using a telephoto lens, or shooting with a wide lens and cropping, in order to get classic street photos of living subjects you have to get close. In fact, many shooters use a 35mm lens or wider so that they are forced to interact with people. I am on the fence about this method myself. I use a Canon 50mm 1.2, which is not too wide but also not considered telephoto. It forces me to get close to my subjects, but not close enough that I disturb the candid nature of the scene every time. Sometimes subjects spot me and react as I snap the photo. Sometimes they walk by and have no idea what I’m doing. I suppose I use a 50mm because it is balanced, and balance is one of the key aspects of street photography.
Many gurus will charge top dollar to host a “seminar” just to tell you that balance is essential in life. I’m telling you here, for free, that the need for balance permeates all things, and street photography is no different. Street Photography is the daily micro-struggle, and it integrates itself into your life alongside your morning coffee at Starbucks or walking your girlfriend’s yappy pure-breed dog 3 times a day. It is your exercise routine and your healthy diet. Used correctly, street photography can help bring about the balance that we all need in our busy lives. Just keep at it. Dress comfortably. Keep your eyes and ears open. Stay low and keep Shooting…..
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