Did the topic irritate you? If your answer is yes, this article is for you.
If you have shot street photography and questioned yourself of why are you doing it, should you bother people, how to take photos of strangers then you should start listening yourself. Your inner self is asking you the right questions and you try to fool yourself. Instead of being you, you try to be something else.
Just take the goddam photograph or don’t take it.
It is that simple. If it is hard to take one photograph then something else is messed up inside you. This might be difficult to accept but when you accept it, you become free and start to see.
Street photography has a high performing factor; you really really want to take that awesome street photograph you have seen online or in books. But when you go out on the street and try really hard you come home exhausted and with at the best – mediocre or just crappy shots. People photographed from back, too far away. And when you zoom in into a photo that you think you really took candid you suddenly notice at least four people staring at you.
If you feel awkward to photograph on streets or unsafe and try to find answers from online then you should just stop street photography. First of all it is probably a bit burden for you. And by your behavior on streets it is annoying for others. It is probably not really not worth it.
I know that the term ”decisive moment” is a bit worn out. Well, it has worn out badly. But it is the essence of street photography; you save some moment from this world what is worth keeping and worth sharing. It tells a story. It makes the viewers interested. But you cannot force it. Decisive moment cannot be created. But when you find one, you know it. You know it in your guts so hard that you cannot leave without taking a photograph. And that is the moment you should use your camera. You probably drop into zone where nothing else matters – what people think, how close you should be etc. You have the full license to photograph. Depending how long you have hold camera in your hands in your life you probably have been in this moment – maybe more than once.
Next time you are questioning your actions then you should really understand that inner you is asking you to stop. I would also argue you are taking mediocre or bad photograph at that time. ”Would I dare to take photo of that person?” – probably you are too far already because you are a bit afraid, it seems. The person has noted you already and your insecurity. And probably it would not be interesting shot at all because of your hesitation. So there is your answer. No. You shouldn’t take that photo. You don’t need to think about it. Your hesitation has answered to you already. If it would be a good photo, you would have taken it already.
So next time either take the photograph or pack your camera into your bag and go for nice coffee somewhere. Save yourself. Relax and accept the situation. Only after that the magic starts to happen.