Welcome back to the last part of my story. In part-3 I have shared my captures which were already beautiful by nature and what I did as a photographer was to be present at the right place at the right time of the day. In this installment you are going to find something else which is probably by nature not beautiful. But it’s in the viewer’s mind how he/she finds it. Someone might find street photography interesting whereas the others might find it shit. So viewer’s discretion is requested 🙂
Well yes, finally I started roaming around the streets after getting my hands dirty on the beautiful creation of the nature – the landscapes.
I did some street shots when I was playing the role of ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’. As I have mentioned in my previous post that I was also bored with the landscape / nature shots, one lazy week end I was looking at my previous works. I found some photographs which I took in Kolkata, India a couple of years back very interesting. Actually those were documentary sort of photography.
Untill recently I was not too familiar with the word ‘street photography‘. Some enthusiasts in my office started a photo club and someone was talking about “street photography”. I joined the group and the very first day I realized that was what I was looking for so long. Every nook and corner is different, even the same nook and corner opened up in a very different way during different time of the day. Street photography itself offers a number of sub genres which one can concentrate on. One can dedicate all his time to candid portraits
or documentary style photography or interesting juxtapositions or capturing decisive moments.
Someone might be interested in architecture
or simple shapes and forms i.e. design, fine art
or one might be interested to capture the light
or even the human emotions on the streets.
Street photography demands a lot of patience but pays very less. 99% of the shots goes to the junk folder, but it is those 1% which makes the photographer happy.
As a bread earner and a family oriented person I have very little time for myself but I have found my own way of practicing this craft almost everyday like a sage. I carry a small camera everyday in my sack. Yes, 🙂 I could justify to buy a small camera that unlike the DSLR would fit in the sack so that I can carry it around anywhere I go. I knew that I would not buy anything fancy. I knew the camera would be pretty small and cheap but should have the flexibility of a photographer’s way of doing things i.e. shouldn’t be a toy. The sorting criteria was
a) compact and fixed lens
b) decent quality
c) relatively cheaper
Now for the first point I had to finalize which focal length I would settle on. I saw the pattern of my street photos with the DSLR and a cheap zoom and realized that most of my shots were 35mm (w.r.t to full frame), few were 50mm (w.r.t to full frame) and hardly anything beyond that. Finally I settled down on a simple point and shoot 35mm (w.r.t full frame) from Fuji. It has a preset of film simulation both color and BW. I use a simulation of Fuji classic chrome and a simulation of high contrast BW. This has reduced a lot of post processing.
I shoot mostly on the week days while commuting or during the lunch hours keeping those week ends and holidays free for my family and editing. Well, when I say editing here I don’t mean doing Photoshop or processing my photos in lightroom. What I mean is sorting and sequencing the photographs. A street photographer has to shoot a lot so there is a need for strong editing. Sometimes I have to be ruthless rejecting all the photos that I have taken that particular day or may be week.
As I mostly shoot while I am on my way to the work or while going back to home, one might find a lot of scenes captured in the public transport system. In fact I am working on a series on the public transport (an ongoing blog – read here). Also I am shooting during the lunch breaks so another bunch of photographs which are too common in my portfolio are the shots of the eateries. When I say ‘too common’ do I mean cliché ? I guess no as though the main theme is similar but every photo has its unique emotion and unique composition. Every photo is different in a way considering the geometry, the light, the emotions the subjects convey
Street photography truly changed the way I used to see photography as. Now it doesn’t matter to me if my shot consists of so called ‘beautiful’ elements or not. My main target is to capture the scene, the truth which is happening right there on the streets. There is no way one could lie in street photography. If it is beautiful – it is beautiful; if it is ugly – so it is. The main driving factor is the reality which happens in that fraction of time and space. However when I say ‘capturing reality’ I have got my own set of principles. I never shoot the vulnerable be it physically or mentally or economically. Some photographers find their passion in documenting social issues. For some people ‘poverty is photogenic’. But probably I would not like to dive into that. I do always respect my subject and don’t want to showcase whatever gives him/her discomfort. When I say reality I mean the very regular yet interesting everyday activity which is lost in our busy schedule.
Street photography has made me more sensitive towards smallest details. Probably I wouldn’t have laughed at or wouldn’t get annoyed at or wouldn’t get amused at the simplest incidents those I have been experiencing everyday on the streets. It has made me more empathetic towards my surroundings if not a better photographer. I no more shoot for facebook likes or Instagram followers rather shoot for myself. Street photography has kept me in good shape if not it has made me a better photographer. Yes, now I go for long walks regularly in search of photos and it definitely help to burn calories 🙂
Long story short – street photography is not just doing some tricks with the camera it is a philosophy to me and I am living it everyday. Even if when I am not carrying my camera I still find my eyes searching for that moment so in that sense I am photographing each and every moment I am living.
That’s all for now.
I will keep on sharing my journey – till then Sayonara !
Keep shooting and spread the love for photography and not for the tools ! Remember not to fall prey of gadget acquisition syndrome 🙂