News

Street Stuff..

Article text
I think a spell of street photography is one of the quickest ways to improve any photographers work. Its easy to make the mistake of thinking street photography is easy and I suppose it can be. You don't need a lot of expensive equipment, you really don't need any knowledge about things like setting up shutter speeds, apertures or exposure times you can just head out there with whatever equipment you have and start shooting. So in that respect its easier than other disciplines. But when you can't rely on expensive cameras with posh lenses that can do snazzy tricks to enhance your pictures you have to rely on your eye. Its the way street photography trains your eye that is so important.

Street photographers tend to be prolific. They can afford to be. They don't have to set time aside to "do some photography". They don't have to travel to remote landscapes or exotic countries. Nor do they have to go studios and set up scenes and lighting. They can grab images in passing on the train to work, whilst walking the dog, on a trip to the shops. Often daily and as with anything, the more you practice the more you improve.

When I first started out I would walk down the high street and shoot anybody and anything that happened to pass me by in the mistaken belief that catching candid shots of anyone would produce great street photography. You might get really lucky but mostly I found I ended up with a mountain of uninteresting, expressionless shoppers going about their day. Not surprising really. I follow a photographer on Flickr "Alan Barr" (https://www.flickr.com/photos/abarr.) For me, he is a master of grabbing the right passers by at the right time. What I like about his work is that the people in his images are characters, they seem so full of life. He seems able to get in really close and capture them making gestures, or responding to the camera in a way that grabs my attention. Another photographer I admire is Shel Serkin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/shelserkin). He seems able to order the chaos. Where Alan gets in close enough so that the subject can remain in amongst it all Shel's images often isolate his subjects from the chaos and the setting is a key part of the image.

Unlike other disciplines where the where, when and what you capture are chosen after careful consideration, with street photography you have to be quick. You have to see or perhaps predict, situations, settings, subjects etc and make sense of the fleeting moments that pass you by almost instantly. You have to make snap decisions about what needs to be in the frame and what doesn't and there's no going back for a second go. I'm no expert, I miss it more often than I get lucky but I'm still learning and the more I shoot the luckier I get.