Friday, 13 March 2015

A Portrait

It's not that I've never done street (style) photography before, it's just that I've always been chicken about it.

This shot for example.  Yes, it's done with my 50mm lens, but I can tell from the angle that I was pretending not to take a photo.  (Which means I had the camera ready but didn't put it up to my eye, just shot from stomach/chest area so they didn't know I was taking their photo.)

Now I'm aware this is a style and that some photographers are very successful with it but to me, at the time, it felt somehow wrong.  (Well, it all did so maybe that's not the point.)

The FB photographer suggested I watch some street photography videos by a fellow called John Free.  I highly recommend them if you're interested in this type of photography by the way, and I watched them and they helped a lot.

One of the things he said that really resonated with me was that you have to understand why you're shooting.  He explained that he's shooting to bring joy.  To explain and explore humanity and the lives we lead and that he feels that if the people he takes photos of knew this they'd be happy and would hug him and this allows him to feel good about what he's taking.

And I think that's a big part of why I always felt wrong before... I felt like I was invading lives, whereas now, I know that I'm practicing and trying to get better at taking these types of photos so that I can document and tell stories and capture the stories of the everyday. 

I love looking at "everyday" photos from decades ago and marvelling at what they were wearing, what they were doing, how they looked and how it felt.  And I love those photos that make you feel something.

Yes, there's something to be said about posed, directed photos and I want to be good at doing that too, but I also want to capture natural things.  "Candids", for lack of a better term.  I want to show how amazing and beautiful and wonderful and interesting life is just as it is.  Really.

I had another breakthrough moment after work yesterday.

It was another gorgeously sunny day and I had more light that usual thanks to the time change (look at me not complaining about the time change even though I could... I so could!) and I am still feeling fired up by things and having success and getting a hundred and fifty shots or so each time I go out so I went out for a photo walk.

I was on my way home when I saw this awesome looking older fellow.  I walked by him wishing I could take his photo and then I stopped myself.  And before I could think (overthink) I turned and asked him if I could take his photo.

Yes it was a little awkward, I imagine he was wondering what the heck was going on and he did, in fact, ask me what the photo would be used for.  I realized I didn't have a real answer... I'm not making a book, I'm not.. doing anything, so I just told him what came into my head.  "I'm just taking photos of people.  People are awesome!"

And I told him he had a great face, which he did, and I took a few shots and thanked him and left.

I was SUPER stoked about those photos because he did have a great face.  I wanted him to be my older brother or something; he just seemed super friendly and kind and had the neatest little fisherman's type knitted hat.

I got home and the photo was decent.  I hadn't asked him to turn so I could get the light better, but hey, baby steps... I'd just asked a stranger if I could take his photo!  And it wasn't even at Burning Man (where it's still hard, but much much easier!) I DID IT!

I'm proud of that shot too.  And I've gotten some other good ones in the week or so since Jason introduced me to that photographer.

So a couple of big/important to me photos in the last week or so.  Emotional and somewhat draining but I have to remember that that's ok... it won't always be like this.

I'm new, I'm practicing, I'm learning... there's a bleep ton of stuff to learn and remember and they won't all be good days.

Like the day I went out and thought I'd done great, but when I got home it turned out all of Victoria was on a slant and everyone in town had poles growing out of their heads.

Ah well... baby steps I try to tell myself.  I'm just toddling.


Blogger Jason Langlois said...

Ah, the pole out of the head problem. That's definitely a thing I have to keep checking for when I'm setting up a shot. It's weird when you realize that sometimes the most important thing to be looking at is everything -but- the subject of the photo.

Glad you're continuing to push yourself.

Also, love that 50mm lens. Shut a great snapshot lens.

Friday, March 13, 2015 9:13:00 am  
Blogger Enjoy Your Site said...

I think you would enjoy this documentary about a street photographer. "Finding Vivian Maier"

Friday, March 13, 2015 10:05:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Silly poles, getting everywhere ;)

I've been meaning to watch that documentary, thanks :)

Friday, March 13, 2015 9:04:00 pm  

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