While I have been making attempts to do some street photography in the past two years, I must confess that I’ve let my introverted side take over countless times, resulting in half-baked (and sometimes half-hearted) snaps. However, once I started letting go of my inhibitions and just immerse myself in the task and experience, I found that street photography forcing my eyes open on so many things.
The lure of street photography has always been there, but there are times that I find it intimidating. The rawness, the chaos of so many interesting things unfolding before you, the pressure of pressing the shutter only at the right moment (lest you miss a shot and waste a frame) — I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve left me paralyzed, and of how many times I’ve finished a roll only to be dissatisfied with the photos I took.
Late last year, I got to take part in a photowalk of some experienced and passionate street photographers based in Metro Manila. It was only then that I realized what was keeping me from getting the shots that I liked. I have consciously been letting myself get overly calculated and needlessly distanced. I failed to grasp what may be the cardinal rule of street photography: get yourself out there and immerse yourself into the scene/s before you.
Once I let go of my inhibitions and just focused on the goal of capturing a slice of life, a moment frozen in time, as best as I can, I began seeing things differently. Suddenly, all the mundane things I would typically just pass by became potentially interesting subjects: street sellers taking naps, people queuing up for a bus or jeepney ride home, rushing commuters crossing the streets, and even people seemingly walking aimlessly by themselves around the city at night. All of them I now seek and want to capture as best as I can with my two favorite compact companions: my Lomo LC-A+ and Pentax Espio 120 SW. I may still be miles away from all the legendary and contemporary street photographers I look up to, but the fact that this genre is keeping my eyes peeled and making me see things differently is something I consider a step further into getting better.
After I began making conscious efforts to take street snaps during my travels, I am now most fascinated about street photography in foreign cities. But, I’m saving that for another story.
What about you — has street photography changed the way you take photos and see the scenes happening around your city? Since I’m fairly new to street photography, I’d love to learn your insights about it!