Change of direction?

Today I am reduced to posting the kind of image that inspires within me self loathing; a hipsteresque image of coffee and my camera (the only thing I despise more is the horrible ice cream glass some chains insist on for lattes).

I lost my bottle. I tried to take an image of a guy on a BMX, lost confidence so asked, and was told to beat it (in more colourful language).

I should have carried on shooting elsewhere, but instead gave up for a while. The reality is there is very little conflict in street photography. Yet, when it happens, it makes me want to give up. I listen to John Free tell me that street photography is a noble endeavour. But sometimes it seems to be perceived as less than honourable.

It is a fairly mainstream activity. Today I listened to part of the fascinating story of Vanley Burke documenting the experience of the African-Caribbean community in England. This was a Radio 4 programme. Hardly an underground or especially edgy source. The story told the response of some of his subjects discovering his candid shots. In the main they sounded ok with it and some sounded pleased.

However, with some of the present anxiety over GDPR (which will hopefully turn out to be unwarranted) and the potential for conflict, I wonder if it’s time for a change of direction.  Or at least until I get my bottle back.

In these circumstances I enjoy doing something different. For example, occassionally I get the opportunity to photograph events. It gives me the chance to plug in the flash and take some non-candid shots and portraits. I find that mft cameras can generally deal well enough with the light conditions and my little Nissin i40 flash does a brilliant job with the problem situations.

The joy of street photography 

I’ve heard a couple of street photographers speak about relaxing and enjoying shooting. One was John Free and I think the other was F D Walker in the Shooter Files

I realised that I’d been putting too much pressure on myself to improve and to try and get great shots. I had stopped enjoying myself on the street. Instead I was walking around grumpy and stressed. 

So, I decided to enjoy myself again and to interact with people. I decided to ask or at least engage people before taking their photograph; risking less edgy images but removing tension and potential antagonism. 

The result has been interesting. I’ve been much happier and people have seemed to enjoy getting their photograph taken. 

For example, 

These images may be classified as street portraits and may not meet classical street photography criteria. But it has made me happier and perhaps theses subjects. 

At a time where there is a lot of gloom and despair around, it has been nice to experience and share some joy.