I love photography, I really do. From nature, to landscape, to architecture, to everything in between. But the type of photography that I truly love, is the one that I fear the most; Street Photography. By definition, Street Photography is when you capture subjects in any candid situation in public places. An example is this photo bellow that I took in Seattle:
In my opinion, there are multiple ways of looking at Street Photography. A photographer can take photo on the street to capture a moment, to freeze it in time. Take this photo bellow for example; I was walking in Las Vegas Strip one late afternoon, when I saw what it looks like Newlyweds, right in the middle of a street intersection, embraced on a kiss. Of course, camera at hand I had to capture that moment.
Even though I love that kind of photography, my biggest passion inside of Street Photography is to capture peoples expressions. It is said that in street photography, is not fully necessary to have a subject as your main focus of the photo. As a photographer I can appreciate that style, but at the end of the day, that is not my style. I like to be able to capture an expression, I like to be able to build a story around that subject’s expression. And there my friends, is where my fear begins…
I, by nature am an extremely shy person. Being shy and loving street photography is definitely not a good match. Now don’t get me wrong, if I know a person, I can talk, I can goof around, laugh, cry, it doesn’t matter; but if I don’t know you… Oh man! So how can I overcome this fear in order to achieve my passion for street photography? I have no clue! I have read books, watched videos, read blogs and even though they offer great tips to overcome that fear, well, it hasn’t helped me much.
I have though practice different approaches. After about 20 minutes to convince myself to do it, I went to this group of people playing domino in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and I asked them if I could take a picture, I told them they didn’t have to look at the camera or anything just to keep doing what they were doing. This was the outcome:
So I guess, one way to start, even if it takes me a while is to ASK. But then I start to wonder, how can I capture a moment, a true moment, if I’m asking to take a picture? So, even though is a great way to gain confidence, this is just my first step on reaching my goal to overcome the fear of Street Photography.
A lot of Street Photographers will tell you that in order to overcome the fear and take great photos you need a small lens (one that does not intimidate people) and get close to the subject. Well, that is NOT going to happen with me; at least, NOT YET. I can agree that the photos more than likely will look better, but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I walk around with my 24-70 (2.8) which is pretty big but allows me not to be THAT close to my subject. I still get scared shitless every time I’m taking a candid picture of someone, and God forbid if that subject looks at me while I’m about to take their picture I feel like I’m going to drop the camera and start sweating like crazy. Here are some Street Photos I took without asking:
The fear is still there, but one thing is for certain, I am getting the expressions, I am starting to build their stories. So right now, my number one tool to overcome my fear of street photography and people will be to KEEP TRYING and to keep writing. A combination of what I see with what I want. I will take those photos and I will share the story that I build around them.