Friday, January 23, 2009

The crowd

Street photography is a term for the act and result of taking candid photographs of people in public places. It takes a certain combination of chutzpah and stealth to pull it off well.

Street photography has been described as holding a mirror up to humankind. The best street photographs capture people exactly as they are, with no primping, posturing or pretension while delivering some sort of statement on the human condition.

I’ve only dabbled in street photography. My preferred method is to walk through a crowd with my camera hanging from a strap around my neck. With the camera at chest level, and my wide angle zoom set as wide as possible, I walk through the crowd with my thumb on the shutter button. When I spot someone interesting, I’ll push the shutter. It’s a little hit and miss, but after a while, you can get pretty good at guesstimating what will appear in your photo ahead of time. And shooting with a wide angle lens gives you ample room to crop afterward.

The above photograph was taken after the Fall Fest parade in Sister Bay, Wisconsin last October. After the parade had ended, I walked the mile and a half or so back to my car with my camera hanging as described above. I just pressed the shutter button as I encountered interesting looking people. This is an example of northern Wisconsin street photography. Where else would you see a kid in a knit cap that makes him look like a cow?

If you’re interested in seeing more street photography, check out these images from the “Streets in Color” group on Flickr. If you’d like to see Bruce Gilden, a man who makes a living from street photography, working a New York City crowd with his in-your-face style of shooting, check out this video.

Click on image to enlarge because you just gotta see this picture big. You know you want to. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.


Laurie said...

Street photography can be fun and very challenging. I don't do very much of it but when I do I usually use a long lens so I go pretty much unnoticed but can still compose the shot. I like to get in pretty tight on a subject and try to isolate them from the crowd.

Your technique works well too.

Wanda said...

Cute photo.... Mooo! Got milk?