For years, I have gone from here to there on foot, with a camera on my hand, collecting stories of everyday happenstance. Here are some lessons the streets have taught me.
In my three years of shooting in analogue, it is not uncommon to find myself on the streets, taking photos of just about everything. Much like most of us, I feel inadequate going without bringing a camera or two. In retrospect, I wish to share some of the things the streets have taught me about taking snap shots.
Be a keen observant. With all the hustle and bustle of our city streets, it is easy to get lost in all the craziness. It is important that you are able to take some time to slow down and see the world as it passes by. You’d never know; an interesting subject may have been under your nose all along.
Look up and look down. When we walk, we usually have our heads fixed at eye level. From time to time, it is good to change perspective. Tilt your head upwards and downwards, and you’ll see what I mean.
Document cultural peculiarities. In today’s world, we inevitably communicate to an international audience. So put some special attention on the things that are unique about your culture; a mode of transportation, street foods, or unusual celebrations. I am sure people from other countries are curious about places they have never been to.
Be Bold. Do not let minor setbacks, such as a gloomy weather stop you from going out for a shoot. Some of the more interesting things to capture are present during unusual days.
Imagine what other people might be thinking. Look at the people around you. What are they thinking? What are their stories? Are they in despair? Are they excited? Surprised? Capture these fascinating emotions.
Get inspiration from old photos of your city. Try to search for old photos of your city, and create your own version of it. Put them side by side, and amaze yourself of how much has changes, and how much remained the same.
Walk back to where you came from. When you are walking on the streets, you only see half of the story, as you are facing only in one direction. After reaching a certain point, walk back to where you came from and see the other half you just missed. Truly, going west is so much different from going east. The same goes for North and South.
Take photos of those which will be gone soon. Nothing lasts forever. Every day, buildings are leveled, streets are paved anew, and bridges are replaced. After that, things will never be the same again. If you know that an old house is up for demolition, pay special attention to it; so that you can immortalize them in your photographs.
How about you? What lessons have the streets taught you?