Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Street Photography

Hello all, it's been a very sunny summer of late, and for once that makes me smile, the light has been truly fantastic. The other day though, I realised when shooting street, they're will be a change as they’re with the seasons in the year, and it will eventually rain! 

Not just that but the days get shorter and the sun gets lower in the sky, so I have a few options continue shooting street, in colour or adapt and make these street shots much more dramatic, you know give the shots a new narrative. 

I have been collating a few shots that will break down into separate genres of activity, these groups became quite interesting so here's a few I put together; 

Jumps people in active positions above the ground captured mid-air.

Sleepers people actually dozing in the street either on street furniture such as benches or parks or doorways. 
© 2013 David Rothwell

Statues juxtaposed with some comedy narrative.

Couples this one is very interesting as when am shooting the street; I have come across couples arguing or making up or in comedy situations.

Out of the ordinary whilst this may seem a strange ask; they're situations that will happen out there, those one in a million chances, however those chances usually take place at 1/1000 of a second. 

I regularly visit London and every time I always attend the Photo Forum it's a fantastic way of meeting like mind photographers/photojournalist. So I get to see these genres 'come to life', I just love the way the informed eye works. 

If you have ever studied books on street photography or street photographers, the first thing that hits you is the narrative in the frame, the composition should normally be a striking point within the frame that makes your eyes wander around the frame. 

In this shot we see that the subject is dozing away in the sun on the stone steps close to signage one states PANDORA.

Could it be Pandora’s Box perhaps?

We also see in the photograph that the subject is in possession of a crutch or aid walker. So how did he arrive here, and was the exertion so tiring that he literally fell asleep on the very spot, we find ourselves? 

So many possibilities for the narrative, could it had been the hospital waiting times?

Now we see that a lot of street shots tell a story, they're not just snap shots of an extraordinary event like some I have posted previously, if they are then they do possess the very aspect of which Henri Cartier-Bresson; adhered to. That is a decisive moment, a truly unique skill set that photographers can and do train their eye to read in any given situation, the likes of Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and recently discovered photographer Vivian Maier. 

I study a lot of photographers work and their respective works are always full of new surprises, Meyerowitz himself studied the work of Cartier-Bresson. I too have become accustomed to training my eye to the subjective geometry in architecture but also the composition, and how people play a part in the composition. 

I shot a while ago, people on a beach and you can see the perfect triangle http://www.flickr.com/photos/rothwell172/7884283638/ this is also shot from a higher perspective. 

Sometimes it's not all about eye level or waist/hip level to achieve a desired result, aerial photography has been around since the concept of aviation began its birth, and so too people documented streets from a higher perspective. 

Okay so we can see how people become much more interesting, from a higher perspective, but what about when we get low down and dirty?

In the next example we will look at the street from a much lower angle, lower angle is also a great opportunity to opt for a wider prime lens on your kit to achieve maximum impact in your shot.

I use a very nice Soligor f/2.8 28mm lens which is fantastic and gives a great sense from a lower perspective of actually stating that the photographer is getting physical in their work. 

Low perspective can have interesting results remember you don't have to get low down and dirty you can in-fact look above your height level when something catches your interest too. 

Quite a comical shot, which does leave one asking what? 

These moments I see are relative to my experience in photography, obviously with time they will sharpen, but you get my drift people see and do the strangest acts every day, and just like the current and past masters, so too will my ingenuity and originality in my approach to street photography. 

Earlier I mentioned Henri Cartier-Bresson, when you look at his work you will see emerging patterns in the constructive objective of angles and shapes, and yes I have talked about this before, and no doubt will talk about it again in the future. 

My advice is to get out there and start looking at narrative, let your pictures do the talking, and be more consistent in your approach with subject matter. 

After a while the long awaited and always looked for out of the ordinary moment will happen, when these shots do happen, it can be very rewarding and indeed with the right marketing can be very lucrative, most importantly you will begin to develop your own style. 

I suppose a good starter is colours people seemingly wear similar colours during the year, so possibly you may see people wearing yellow or you may see yellow objects. So in your composition you could try and involve those ideas and implement them in your approach to subject matter. 


Another lucrative idea is to purposefully shoot for one colour whilst this idea is not limited to street, looking at the examples it should give your creative thought - process a much needed boost. 

I have a few followers who do just that, in shooting this way you can begin to build up a stock portfolio of images which can be saleable for stock photography. 

Now if that's your bag, then your welcome to it, it can have such a huge return in being so open to all and sundry. 

The only danger is if you do go down that road, just shooting pictures for stock photography, are you going to lack artistic expertise elsewhere? Will you begin to suffer as an artist and become much more commercialised in your overall outcome?

I read other blogs and look for information on other photographers, because in reality it is the only known way of keeping up to speed with changes in current trends etc....

Now on that other blog they have a section were by you can get featured which means if any breaking photographers out there want to get their work out to the masses they can simply sign up for a subscription. 

It's important to liaise with other photographers because it is the best way to learn so get interactive, get pro-active and network.