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) – 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.
Beautiful photography Sarah.
Thank you Albert 🙂
Marvelous portraits – love, love the woman in black! And I do know about surreptitious shots…
Thank you Leya, I really appreciate the feedback 🙂
You are welcome!
Wow. Great, great people shots. Very well done.
Thanks so much 🙂
My problem is with people who don’t want to be photographed. In Grenada, we were told not to photograph the people in the market without asking their permission first. And in the San Blas Islands the islanders charge you to take their photo. In St. Croix once took a photo of a poster on a window and the people inside thought I was taking their photos and came out and demanded to know why I thought I could take their photo without permission. I showed them the photo in the camera – they were not visible at all.
And of course there’s the photo in Tanzania of the man giving us the finger.
Yes, that can be an issue – I’ve found it so especially in Marrakesh where some men once got very aggressive thinking I’d taken their photo (I hadn’t but I had to let them look through my images before they would believe me). Sometimes I confess I do take photos anyway. It’s surprising what you can get ‘shooting from the hip’, if you’re happy to spend some time editing afterwards. And I usually use a zoom lens so most of the people in the photos above wouldn’t have realised I was taking their photo!
I’m going to echo Tina. Wonderful collection, Sarah. You’ve captured great moments on the street and fabulous slices of life. The woman in black has a haunting presence. I keep thinking about her. Her life is a wonderful story, I’m sure, just waiting to be heard.
I have no idea why this comment went into my spam folder and I’m so sorry I only just spotted it! Thank you so much for this lovely response to my photos, especially my woman in black. She really did look amazing – she had such style and presence (dare I add, for someone of her age?!)
Thanks for “rescuing” your comment, Sarah! I’m glad to hear back from you!
These are truly marvelous images Sarah – I especially loved the woman in black but they are all wonderful
Thank you so much Tina 😀 Ah yes, that woman in black! She was sat at a table in the next cafe to ours and my husband and I both spent the whole time we were there trying surreptitiously to get good photos of her. We both succeeded 🙂
LOL, don’t know about your husband but you surely did!