Sunday, August 2, 2009

Street Shooting

Street shooting refers to one of the most challenging types of photography I've dealt with. It involves placing yourself and your camera in a public place and then...gasp...trying to get a stranger to pose for a portrait.

This Weekend...
my assignment involved shooting at a popular shopping mall with a 50mm lens. This meant that I needed to get in close to people, so I'd definitely have to build rapport. I saw several interesting subjects walking around the indoor mall. I finally gathered up enough courage to ask: "Would you mind If I shot a photo?" My first few attempts went fairly well. I was able to take photos of a small dog, and a toddler. I snapped a couple of quick shots and thanked them for their time. Still, this didn't feel like I pushed myself far enough.

Women and Children
The most difficulty came with asking mothers if I could take photos of their children. Twice, I was promptly rebuffed in the way a mother bear protects it cubs. I apologized for the intrusions and scampered away with my tail between my legs. I felt a little ashamed of my self; I'm not sure why....

Then I met Roy
I noticed this guy hair. Its not something that you see very often, so I was intrigued. I walked by once, but didn't ask. I was still a bit shy from my last rejections. Still something inside told me to try again. I thought his hair looked really cool and I told him so. He said he'd had it cut in Vancouver where he's from. I asked him if he wouldn't mind as I pointed to my small camera bag and he said:"Sure! Go for it!"

He didn't seem to mind as I made a few images. Actually I think he enjoyed the impromptu attention. I handed him a card with my Flickr account, this blog, and my email address. He smiled and said He'd look it up when he got back. Roy's a nice guy!

I truly admire
those photographers like David DuChemin, who grapple with language and cultural barriers to produce some of the world's most stunning street portraits in far off lands. Having put myself through this exercise, I now realize how far I have to go!

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