Man walking past wall with mural
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Street photography

Focus on the subject: Street photography

There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

How do you pick out a point of interest in a busy street? A person who catches your eye because of their appearance, perhaps, or because they are doing something out of the ordinary? And how do you capture that point of interest to share with others, when the world around you is constantly shifting?

In street photography the moment is everything; press the shutter too soon, or too late, and as Cartier-Bresson said, the moment is lost.

The technical challenge of focusing on your subject in street photography is greater than in any other genre, with the exception of wildlife, because that moment is so fleeting. But get it right and the viewer will be able to share that moment with you. Not only will you have focused on your subject (both literally and mentally) โ€“ so will your viewer.

As a keen photographer I don’t favour any single genre; rather, as a keen traveller, I change my preferred genre to suit my destination. On safari in Africa I will focus on wildlife; in a South American desert or among the mountains I will focus on landscapes; in a city I usually focus on architectural details and on its people. Here is a small selection of favourite street photography images – some taken on recent trips, some in my home city of London.

[Click on the images to see them larger]

Thank you to Patti for proposing this interesting Lens-Artist challenge to Focus on the subject.


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