Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PICK OF THE WEEK: We Love Street Photographers!

On time this week, which means you guys get two picks almost for the price of one. Lucky you!
I've chosen this image because it highlights one of my pet peeves about the new dogma that is being laid down for what is becoming almost a new cult: street photography.
One of the tenets of the gospel this new cult runs with is that people hate having their photo taken. Not that some people don't like it, but people in public don't like having a camera pointed at them, no how, no way.
This loathing by the public of cameras means, of course, that stealth is required of the intrepid "street tog". He (and forgive me, but the adherents to this new cult (as opposed to the tradition we know of as street photography) seem to be overwhelmingly male) has to be discrete. No, sorry, wrong word: discrete implies manners and thoughtfulness. The word I am looking for is sneaky. He has to be sneaky, he has to hide, both himself and his camera. So, the gear has to be small, he has to act quickly, be a hunter. He has to be there but not there, he has to keep his presence hidden
All total and absolute rubbish. Just like most so-called wisdom proclaimed by cults. Naturally some people are not going to like being photographed. Human nature you see. But, in five years I have had maybe half a dozen, perhaps a few more, people object. Nobody has punched me, grabbed my camera, chased me, called the police. Why, hell, I 'ain't even had a bloody nose (My prediction: after the release of a certain film on "famous" NY street photographers (Google 'street photographers New York, and many really good but perhaps not so "famous" fine street photographers will come up), there will be a new initiation rite into this new cult: blood has to be spilled. The "tog's" blood that is. Spilled by angry "subjects". All in the line of "duty". Sigh.)
Anyway, my point is this: most people seem, in my experience, to either not mind, or actually like being photographed. Just like the family in my image here.
And, if you ask any street photographer who isn't just in it for the "thrill" for the "kill" or to "steal souls", then you will hear the same from them. Most people are very happy to be photographed.
A final note, and I've said this before, so forgive me. People have thanked me, asked for copies, even asked me to photograph them and/or their children again. This hasn't happened once or twice, but over and over again.
So, here's my advice. It's actually the same I would give you if you were thinking of joining any type of cult: Do not just take others' word for anything. Even Buddha said "Don't believe anything I tell you, go out and find out for yourself" (I paraphrase with respect). Question everything. Experience will tell you what is real and what isn't.
And if you were joining a cult, I would also ask you why? What have you got to offer? What do you hope to gain? How will you behave? And that's just for a start.
May your street photography experiences be as joy filled as mine have been (and continue to be!), may you bring your own vision and heart to the task, and may you come to know the truth.
Amen and Peace to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Nice article. I agree entirely and whole heartedly. There is far too much sneaking around going on. That is not street photography, that is spying. Talk to people, correspond with them, build a rapport. Most people love it and will lap it up. If they don't want to be photographed then walk away and try someone else.


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