I'm annoyed at myself with street photography

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Pete
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#1
Someone hires me to go out and photograph people in a shopping centre for a day and I do without issue. I don't get shy or nervous. I do the job. Essentially its indoor street photography. Then why am I shy doing real street photography by myself for my photoblog? Is it any less legitimate, no. I'm documenting life on the streets as so many have before me, and as many currently do. Its very annoying when I get this way. I think I need that pressure of working for someone else, knowing that I have to get the shots or I won't get paid to spur me on. Its silly. I'm quite tempted to get a 135mm lens and enjoy it at a distance, but I know that I should use 50mm like the real men do :) However when you can get photos like this, this, and these it makes me think that getting those shots is more important than caring about whether I adhered to the "rules" of street photography or not. Bah, I feel silly. :banghead:
 
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Wilson
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#3
I can sort of understand the psychology. When you are carrying out the work for someone, should anything go wrong then you can lay it back to something or someone else.

When you are doing it yourself you don't have that sort of external support, it is truly you doing it for yourself and you are accountable for everything.
 
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Paul
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#4
as a (trying-to-be) photographer thats just starting out, street stuff is the ultimate taboo for me....i have nowhere near the guts to do it yet! So from someone thats completely unbiased.......stopped being ruled by the dollar!!! :p

edit: i can't really grasp the idea that you can do it for money, but not for yourself ?!? especially from someone of your calibre pete.
 
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#5
It's almost like the question is 'how strong is your street photography mojo working today?' measured by distance.

Mine is about 85mm most days, but with my F3HP gris-gris for occult support, I can manage 28/2 sometimes. I guess someone with a real strong mojo could do nose hair and pimple shots with a 55 micro, only they'd be covered in chicken blood and feathers and would scare the tourists.

'Don't worry Madam, we're actually certified professionals.'

Strong magic :)
 
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#6
as a (trying-to-be) photographer thats just starting out, street stuff is the ultimate taboo for me....i have nowhere near the guts to do it yet! So from someone thats completely unbiased.......stopped being ruled by the dollar!!! :p

edit: i can't really grasp the idea that you can do it for money, but not for yourself ?!? especially from someone of your calibre pete.
Its not really the cash. I don't think I wrote that bit well. I mean when I have the pressure of having to get a job done, I can do it. I have to do it. However if I'm just out for the day, no pressure, then its harder to force myself to cross that bridge.
 
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#7
strange you should mention street photography, i've a love hate relationship with it as a concept. i usually ask subject. I took photo's few months ago of pro's taking photos at tour of britain bike race. I was talking to one after mentioned i had taken shot & was totally shocked. umm so guess what new hobby is, taking photos of people taking photos :LOL:.
 
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#8
I basically find that I need a reason. If someone asks 'why do you want to point this camera at me?' I need a good honest (professional) reason. A photo-blog to me doesn't constitute that (which is entirely ridiculous.. being as most of the photographers that I admire spent/spend 95% of their time simply 'documenting'). I just feel more comfortable when I can say "It's for the XXXXX, should be in Wednesdays XXXX", and so do (generally I find) the subjects. God forbid you mention the 'InTerNet'. It's all pedo's and nigerian scammers :p. Personally I wont have my image used on the net (unless posted by myself), so I can understand the theory.
 
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#9
Its not really the cash. I don't think I wrote that bit well. I mean when I have the pressure of having to get a job done, I can do it. I have to do it. However if I'm just out for the day, no pressure, then its harder to force myself to cross that bridge.
Gotcha :) Strange how that works isn't it?
 
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#10
I'm quite tempted to get a 135mm lens and enjoy it at a distance, but I know that I should use 50mm like the real men do
It's not about HAVING to use a 50 or 35mm lens. It's about being able to without a second thought when it's the best choice. When 200mm is best, use it. :)
 
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#11
Don't worry Pete. What it means is that under that harsh exterior there lives a tender, caring human being ;)

I am being slightly facetious but seriously if you had no care for people's personal space you would be able to click unhindered. However without that human touch you might not be able to expose the subject as powerfully as you do. Live with your nerves and remember you are human Pete. (y)


....especially when it comes to PC v Mac or Canon/Nikon threads. :LOL:
 
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#12
Interesting thread this.
I was walking around a market town a few weeks ago and thought I'd take my camera just in case i saw anything interesting.

I saw three different subjects but in the end took none for fear of offending the people involved.

One was an absolutely stunningly beautiful woman.
Another was a tramp who's features and clothes were full of character.
The third subject/subjects were two enormously fat people chatting together. I would guess one to be around thirty stone and the other at least forty. They split up after a while and I ambled around hoping to get an opportunity to get the bigger one without him knowing.

I thought about asking permission but couldn't think of an inoffensive reason if asked why.
 
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Pete
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#13
I basically find that I need a reason. If someone asks 'why do you want to point this camera at me?' I need a good honest (professional) reason. A photo-blog to me doesn't constitute that (which is entirely ridiculous.. being as most of the photographers that I admire spent/spend 95% of their time simply 'documenting'). I just feel more comfortable when I can say "It's for the XXXXX, should be in Wednesdays XXXX", and so do (generally I find) the subjects. God forbid you mention the 'InTerNet'. It's all pedo's and nigerian scammers :p. Personally I wont have my image used on the net (unless posted by myself), so I can understand the theory.
I totally agree. Its why I chose to make my photoblog more professional earlier this year. Because of that refocus, of being able to say I run a daily fine art documentary and photojournalism site about Liverpool, that I've been able to get press passes to events that are covered by the worlds media. If they believe I'm legit enough to be given a pass, then the average person on the street will also believe it. Its not a lie by any means, its just rebranding what some people would call a "blog" into something that they can understand.

If you think about it what did Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr say when questioned? Where they always working on books? They had to start somewhere as they became famous for that style of photography. So what would they have said? Maybe they just said they were documenting street life and left it at that? Simple, uncomplicated. However they were living in simpler times where they didn't have paparazzi (in Cartier-Bresson's case) and didn't have the internet pedo issue.

It's not about HAVING to use a 50 or 35mm lens. It's about being able to without a second thought when it's the best choice. When 200mm is best, use it. :)
Nah I'd say street photography is. There are certain "guidelines" about it. Street photography was born at 50mm and people say you need to stick to that range. You need to be honest about what you're doing and get closer to people. Its about being in that moment and capturing it. Shooting at 200mm seems a little dishonest, disconnected from that moment. Thats what they say. I would prefer to have the ability to shoot at 50mm, and even at 24mm as I've heard some do. Shooting at 200mm is easy, but shooting at 50mm is hard and worth working towards.

....especially when it comes to PC v Mac or Canon/Nikon threads. :LOL:
I am caring and a nice gentle person in those threads... to one side ;)
 
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#15
The result is important to me too, but the ability to do street photography at 50mm is also important to me from a confidence point of view. Plus, others can do it so I should be able to.
 
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#16
i think confidence in yourself & communications are key. If you have the confidence to approach someone and ask for permission to take photo. I've always asked, got gift of the gab (talk a lot of crap) I feel if i dont ask i'm stealing a piece of thier soul without permission.

try ....why no just ask see what happens, Liverpool in many ways is similar to Glasgow most will be flattered and if not you will soon know :LOL:
 
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#17
Ah you must have missed a little project I did recently called 800. One day, eight photographers, eight hundred people. We all had to photograph 100 people in 1 day. I did it alone, and had a great time. That isn't a problem anymore. Impromptu street portraits are fine. Its the other type of street photography, of capturing moments on the street documenting real life as it happens. On that front I still feel shy, unless I'm doing it for a client then that all goes away and I get to work. Thats why I'm annoyed because I shouldn't need that behind me to spur me on. I should be able to go onto any street, see something and capture it.
 
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#18
Hello Petemc,
Personally I’m not overly interested in street photography, but maybe a little distance from the problem could help.
Your willingness to engage in street photography would seem to be a psychological one. When you have a job or a group project to do you also have “permission” to go and do it. You feel it has legitimacy as you are working.
When shooting for your blog you feel you have no reason. You need to give yourself permission to take the photographs you need. You might want to view it not as shooting for your blog, but as a professional photographer shooting stock images for your image library. You have to give yourself permission to take the photos.
Photography has no rules, so you can’t break them. Use a 200mm if you wish, use a macro if you wish. Use what you’re happy with to get the ‘photo you require. If asked what your doing reply “street photography” because that’s what your doing. If someone objects walk away from them, you have no need to offer justification for what you are doing if you are doing nothing wrong. This leads to the next point, photography has no rules society does! If you are nicked with a big lens outside the nurses home you’re on your own, same again with trespassing etc. You have to obey the law of the land. You might want to consider how far you intrude into people’s lives beyond the legal minimum i.e. a someone outside Debenhams is one thing a grieving relative in a grave yard, you may fell, is another. You draw your own line, no one else can.

Lastly have you thought about how you feel about your blog? If you can do something for a client but not your blog are you telling yourself your blog lacks legitimacy. Do you need to take blogging more seriously or do you need to move in a different direction, such as a stand alone website advertising your photo services or perhaps look toward an exhibition or book publication? Only you can honestly answer these issues.

I hope you find this of interest, but do bear in mind it’s just one mans opinion!

Kind regards
ilikebowens
 
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