Friday, July 20, 2007

Street Photography

This website is my attempt to learn about the masters of photography and different schools of thoughts in photography .... so it has mostly reference materials and links ... But once-in-a-while I put my own views here as well ... So here's a write-up on Street Photography ...

I have liked all types of photography… portraits, landscape, cityscape, flora-&-fauna, sports, fashion, macro … But my own photography has been limited to mostly cityscape, architecture, flowers and street shots … and off late I've been enjoying "Candid Street Shots" the most.

Why street shot??? It’s about the “human element”. The facial expression, the body-language the small gestures that reflects different emotions … happiness, boredom, curiosity, surprise, disgust, anxiety, despair, anger, hope … OR … simply situations that people encounter in their everyday life … people rushing to work, getting in and out of a train or bus, talking on cell-phones, waiting at traffic signal, cops on duty … I love capturing these real “slices of real life” …

Candid or posed??? I prefer candid shots … the un-posed, natural human behavior. Interacting with the subject matter changes the human emotions drastically. The moment a person is aware of being photographed the “natural” element is lost. Although in some situations it is best to talk and take permission before shooting …. But I get greater satisfaction in taking candid shots. As is said, to get the real life on reel [hmm pixels]

So just stand on the road and take shots‼ As easy as it sounds, I find it extremely challenging. Any good image needs to be “well composed” and therein lies the rub. A street scene is changing every moment. When exactly to press the shutter to freeze the ever changing dynamics of street situation so that the image conveys an emotion, a story or an interesting facet of everyday life is not as easy as it appears … I think anyone who has indulged in street photography would agree to it ….

Isn’t it an invasion of privacy or intrusion into someone’s private space? This argument carries a lot of weight. Yes it is‼! I know that many people who would not like to be photographed when they are busy with their everyday chores … and also many photographers who do not like pointing their lenses at unsuspecting people. I totally understand and respect their views. Although in America, it is not illegal to take photographs at public places; but the issue is more about ethics … and in some cases shooting unsuspecting people is unethical. I totally agree to that.

However there’s an equally strong alternative view. As beautiful as a landscape or architecture or a studio portrait photograph may be …. But there’s something missing from the photographic arena if human beings are not captured in their most natural behavior or circumstances. It’s fascinating to see how people act, react, interact in their day-to-day lives. It also brings out the different cultures, attitudes, fashions, sensibilities of people … and is the best record of the ever changing social scene over times. A posed shot or a studio portrait can never capture the raw emotions as a candid street photography is capable of.

Objective or subjective portrayal of a situation is another debatable issue … inherent in the field of photography. As I read somewhere … “camera is merely a tool like a pen or a paint brush and it expresses the intent of its possessor”. So some personal bias in photography is inherent and difficult to be totally ruled out. When I’m on the streets the subjects that evokes my interest maybe different from another photographer at the same time, same place …

Street photography I usually in B-&-W and it makes sense. In a street setting there are random colors everywhere and these may distract from the main subject matter. B-&-W does away this problem. As much as I have loved monochromes, my photography has been mainly colored. B-&-W is something I need to work on ...

I end this long write-up by saying that I feel photography has made me a better observer...and I'm sure that every photographer has this same experience!!!

10 comments:

Lori said...

I agree with you here. Personally, I would love to take some candid shots of people, but a certain reserved-ness in me feels like I'm intruding.

HOWEVER...looking at your photographs, I never feel like you have done this. Your pictures are always graceful and capture your subjects in a positive light. I can't imagine any one of the people you have 'shot' being offended by the loveliness of their photograph.

The Hermit of Wandering Thoughts said...

Hey Jyoti,
Thanks first for your lovely comments on my Blog, appreciate it a lot.. As you got a feel of the person behind my words, so did I get a feel from your pictures.. Loved the Orchid House, U know on that Kanchanjunga Trek I saw some lovely orchids, Sikkim is a place where they literally grow wild.

Enjoyed this blog too.. I'm not that good a photographer but it is the neatest way of conveying ones own expression of the things we see around us...
Lately I came across this which I just love
Denis Darzacq: La Chute

http://tinyurl.com/29u3m4

Well enough for now.. will visit this again
cheers
z

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