Sunday, April 6, 2008

Street Photography

Chicago Girl
Originally uploaded by Apocaplops
I've experimented some with "street" photography, and I've come to a few realizations. First of all, I don't like it all that much. It's not that I don't like photos of people in real-world situations, far from it. I'd prefer a portrait of someone as they are to a studio portrait any day of the week. But the way street photographers take photos is at its best a tad dishonest, and at its worst crappy snapshots. "Shooting Street" usually involves trying to take someone's photo while they're unaware of it, on the sly. When subjects find out what you're doing, many times they react angrily, and who can blame them? You're skeeving around trying to sneak photographs of people, why would they not be creeped out?

The photo posted here isn't really an example of street photography at all, but it's indicative of what I'm talking about. Working with a giant camera like my Mamiya Press, it's impossible to not be noticed and recognized for what you really are - a photographer taking pictures of people with a huge camera. You don't get the intimate candid snaps that you might if you were working with, say, a Leica, but I'd argue that kind of photography has been done to death. I mean really, who is going to top Henri Cartier-Bresson in that realm?

With my Mamiya, I'm looking for something different. An exploration of the relationship between the subject and the photographer, where there is a personal connection made. In the photo here, I was stopped on the streets of Chicago by a woman who wanted me to take her photo. She looked at me, and said, "I love having my picture taken." There's more going on than at first glance too - is that her car? Why does she love having her photo taken? Why does she feel the need to pose? It's like, in an instant, subject and photographer fall into the expectations that their roles imply, and a photo is the result.

No comments: