In order to develop my confidence with street photography, the brief suggests I choose an outdoor situation where there will be lots of people and activity and I will be less conspicuous with my camera.
First attempt – a local town centre around lunchtime. I just clicked away taking as many photographs as I had time for. I had my DSLR with me which is rather obvious. I do have a compact camera, but due to the shutter delay the shots would be out of focus or I would miss the moment completely! So to remain as unobtrusive as possible and following a tip from Tom Wood (What do artists do all day) , I tried shooting with the camera held casually in my hand. Here are the results just as I shot them, I have deleted many – out of focus or where I missed people all together!
From this group of images I noticed that my subjects were quite distant or shot at a skewed angle – some of which I feel are acceptable as this exercise is not about composition. Most were taken with my lens set at its widest angle (I was using a 18 -105mm lens). I set about taking more shots, zooming in a little. Below are some of the better shots.
Not necessarily “people unaware”- I have caught this woman looking directly at the camera! I think the image is strong. The woman is positioned next to a skip full of rubbish in front of an empty shop. A futile attempt to tidy the area around her cafe, proudly sporting the sign “AJ’s Famous Double Burgers”.
What have I learnt? I was quite conscious initially and assumed that people were fully aware of what I was doing, even when I had my camera at my side. Although I felt uncomfortable, I really enjoyed this exercise and by the time I had finished I had gained confidence and was ready for more! I was amazed by the number of shots of people I could get just by walking through the streets. When I viewed them all later on my PC, I was able to analyse what I could have done differently to get better (more interesting) shots. For example I needed to get in closer for some subjects or quickly identify potential shots, setting up the scene or waiting for the subject to walk into the frame. I am planning a trip to York soon and will be taking my camera for more practice.
1. What Do Artists Do All Day, 2014 BBC FOUR 25th February 20.00