Sep 10, 2010

#30before30: Street Photography

The always charming Kris Anderson suggested trying "street photography" while on holiday in Hong Kong. As far as I can understand, this means snapping away at random things/people as you wander around somewhere. I've collated the photos I took specifically for this into a small video presentation; please forgive the poor quality of the shots! I've had my Nikon D80 dSLR camera now for 18 months or so, but remain embarrassingly ill-versed in how to use it. These were all taken with my little 50mm fixed lens (at least I think that's what it is).

I think two things are clear from these photos:

1) Taking photos in black and white is a really good way for a beginner to cover up some really dodgy camera work.
2) Adding a soundtrack by Deep Forest makes everything just that little bit more arty and meaningful.

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  1. Have you considered getting this put on the ABC's music program Rage? Perhaps that could be a challenge to trying to get a music clip on Rage.

  2. Congrats on your first foray into street photography. It can be a bit scary. You'd probably benefit from a zoom lens in these situations. This way you can get tighter portraits without the subject realising you're taking a picture of them. You seem to be getting a lot of distant shots or backs of heads.

  3. I like black and white too. For the same reason lol. I've been experimenting with just splashes of colour within the black and white to highlight what the point of the image is. Not trying to pimp, just showing what I mean.

    Some great shots in your vid. Liked the guy sleeping in the van the most.

  4. I'm quite liking the black and white - it's really effective and gives a great atmosphere to the photo. I quite like the one of the public toilets, the one of the man in the train and the hand rail things, and my personal favourite, the one with the guy sleeping in the truck - classic. Great work!

  5. Allright! Well done GC :) Yep, I like the guy sleeping in the truck too, and the handle-thingys. The B&W looks great. Well done on the street photography thing!

    I find that whole thing about getting your camera out in front of strangers and maybe getting in to their personal space very confronting. I suspect that's why I wanted you to have a crack at it - to live vicariously through your lens :)

    Mostly I'm chuffed at being "always charming" ;)

  6. Actually... Did you find it scary or confronting to frame complete strangers with your camera? I think that's the thing I was most curious about with your experiment.

  7. Thanks guys! I loved that guy sleeping in the truck too. Parked in the middle of the road it was. Genius.

    I appear to actually be quite bad at answering the things people want answered about "the experience" itself! In terms of dealing with the public, I found Hong Kong quite easy. It's full of people, and most of them are going somewhere. They're not particularly interested in me and my camera.

    Some shots I did by stealth - I'd try to look like I was aiming at something else, then swing the camera quickly to the subject.

    Probably the most awkward was trying to take the shot of the homeless lady on the overbridge. She was facing me, and although her head was wrapped in blankets, I was worried she'd see me and yell and me (with good reason). I was really worried about seeming explotative. I did go and put money in her collection cup afterwards; but I'm not sure if that's a better thing to do or not.