Street photography has been around for as long as the camera. Principally it is about capturing the human condition in urban environments. However it is not as easy as one might perceive. The difficulty lies in capturing a photo that tells a story in its self. That interplay of actors as they are called and the environment in which they are situated. So often I see street shots, and I included much of my effort in this genre, that don’t tell much of a story. That does not mean that the photographs are poor its just that the story captured is less a factor in the shot than might otherwise be.
A few photographs might help explain this:
First shot is simply of a man with camera in hand nicely lit and a sense of action from the actor. That idea that here is a street photographer about to capture a shot is conveyed to the viewer but not much else.
The next shot is of a man leaning against a wall listening to his music. It portrays a relaxed mood about the actor, a nonchalance. Again the light is good and the subject calls to the past of hatted men leaning against walls with little else to do, watching life go by i.e. the woman hurrying by in the distance leaves one feeling that perhaps life is passing the man by. His head is turned slightly away towards the woman almost wistfully, further conveying the sense of loitering, of passing the time.
The third is of a man holding a cross walking from a shadow into a lit area, this conveys a message often written about of seeing the light of religion and has been captured to represent such a message. Moreover the hands one in a black glove also convey a similar message, especially since the ungloved hand is also within the lit area.
The final image has emotion of a high order. The subject a man down on his luck with a deep relationship with his sole companion, a dog. That love and understanding the exists between the actors shows and conveys a story of hope and love despite being homeless. It is beautiful that the man has such a faithful companion to help him through. A companion that does not judge, just loves.
I took several shots of this man and his dog and whilst I am not showing them to you it was clear in all of the shots that the man cared deeply for his companion.
I do hope this sequence of shots helps in understanding the levels of story telling that exists in street photography without it being a journalistic piece, (mostly aligned with news events). These shots all came from one day of about six hours walking around Melbourne. Now I have done this a few times now and mostly I look a great deal before lifting the camera. Because it is so easy to just take shots of people that don’t really tell the story. Some days I have been out and not taken a shot, just because I couldn’t find that story to tell.
So grab a camera wander the streets take shots learn to judge and read the crowd and look look look for situations that tell a story and your street portfolio will grow.