The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.
It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.
Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.
Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….
Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.
I’ll keep this short. I drink a little bit more than a little bit but I never drink and shoot. I don’t have a clearly thought out position or reason for not shooting after I drink. I just don’t. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll drop my camera. Maybe I think I’ll forget to adjust settings properly before shooting, even though I associate forgetfulness with marijuana consumption more than I associate it with drinking. Mainly, I think I don’t want to feel sluggish out there in the streets. I never drink before I workout, for similar reasons.
You want to be clear headed out there. There is always a slight hint of danger afoot, all around you. Unsavory people might decide to try to rob you. An angry subject might confront you. You might trip and fall and crack your lens. There are a myriad of things that can go wrong if you are impaired.
When it is time to edit I have a different philosophy. For my sports editing I stay sober. For my street editing I take a few sips of wine while my photos upload nearly every time. I might blaze one too. Fuck it. The difference is obviously I view my street stuff as personal art and don’t feel that way about my sports stuff, which I lose all rights to as soon as the photos are uploaded anyhow, per my contract. I’ll venture to guess that drunk or high editing, from the darkroom days to the Lightroom days, is a staple in art photography across the globe. It probably always has been since the origin of the artform. Why not enjoy a glass of wine while you dodge and burn?
Like I said, I’ll keep this post short. I’m more interested to find out if my readers drink and shoot or not. Leave your buzzed shooting experiences in the comment box below if you dare. At any rate, keep that damn shutter button pressed to the camera body. Stay low and keep shooting!
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…..