I just answered a question for my new podcast Street Focus: An ongoing exploration of urban photography (soon to be launched on iTunes), about the experience of being a street photographer.
As many other street photographers will tell you, street photography is more about the people than it is about photography. It is definitely my interest in people and my curiosity that drive me to roam the streets with my camera for hours and hours as often as I can. Most often, my subjects never know I capture their story in a frame. The job of a street photographer is to be a close witness while remaining invisible. Other times I interact with my subjects and make a quick street portrait of them. They will either catch my eye because of their expression, their beautiful smile, their funky hat, or anything else that makes them stand out. Before we part ways I often hand them my business card and invite them to contact me for a copy of the picture. I often receive an email a few days later or they stop by my FB Page to say hello. I’ve made many friends that way!
I want to share the story of my encounter with Karim, aka. Falk Desdichado. I was walking down Chapel Street in Melbourne Australia last February when he stopped me to ask me to sign a petition (if I recall correctly). We started a conversation and he happened to be from France.
Two Frenchies on the other side of the world!
This was an opportunity I couldn’t miss and I asked him to make a quick street portrait or two and handed him my card in case he wanted a copy of it. The next day he visited my fb page and saw his picture in my ‘Beautiful Smiles of Strangers’ series. Since then I’ve been following the story of this talented young artist on social media and it’s made the experience even more special. Today I saw a link to his new song on FB and I thought of sharing this story with you.
Street photography is a beautiful thing, and you never know the friends you will make along the way. I am fortunate to have hundreds of similar stories that have enriched my life as a photographer and as a human being.
Here are a couple of snapshots of Karim I took that day for my Beautiful Smiles of Strangers series:
And here is the link to a new song by a talented young French artist traveling the world :)
You asked, I delivered: Some snapshots of Paris in color on a short video presentation!
When I walk the streets with my camera, the decision whether an image will remain in color or be converted in B&W is usually made before I even press the shutter. I used to shoot film, so that decision was made before I even walked out the door back then… Although most of my work is in monochrome, there are scenes that are all about color and I feel like it would almost be a crime to convert them to B&W. Here is a small selection of Paris in color. I hope you enjoy it!
I have photographed many lovers in the streets of Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Melbourne, and even Reykjavik… But more rarely in Minneapolis! This morning I was very pleased to catch this young couple in front of an old window at the Mill City ruins in Minneapolis. Plus, I love shooting silhouettes! I gave them my card. I hope they email me for a copy of the photograph.
I was just discussing with a friend how important it is for photographers to try all different kinds of things all the time. And maybe even to never strive at specializing in one specific genre of photography. Ironically it seems like I’ve become more known for my street photography than anything else. True, I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: If I had to make a choice and limit myself to one specific genre, I would most likely choose street photography. That said, I photograph everything that moves me. Little details catch my eye every minute of the day, whether I carry a camera or not. Learning how to see photographically is a big part of my teaching during the week-long workshops, even if most students come for the street photography component which is definitely the main focus.
The world is too beautiful to limit your vision! Once you learn to see, you can never be bored again, no matter how mundane your surroundings may seem. Sometimes it’s about a color or a texture, other times it’s all about light and shadows.
We are surrounded by beautiful things, even ordinary objects deserve a chance to be photographed in their best light and be rendered extraordinary. Here are a few random things I photographed during my daily outings this past month. None of them have people in them! Do you have a favorite?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading by photography blog!
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” Robert Frost.
I can’t resist sharing the 4 pics below with you. I shot them yesterday afternoon in a small coastal town in Normandy. I shot all four frames in that exact sequence shown which took less than 2 or 3 minutes as the two beach cabins were quite close. The timelessness of the two scenes struck me and I am quite pleased that I was able to immortalized them. And this is why I am a street photographer! :)
The story behind the smile and a quick WWII history reminder…
I was walking by La Maison Gondrée near Pegasus Bridge in Normandy on this beautiful mid-July afternoon when this nice Englishman asked me if I could take a few pics of him and his buddies next to the iconic WWII landmark. I did, using his iPhone. As he was getting ready to leave, I wished him a good trip, he looked up and gave me the most genuine smile! I couldn’t resist sharing it with you as part of my ‘Beautiful Smiles of Strangers’ series.
Note that La Maison Gondrée, located in Bénouville, is now a café and is still owned by the daughter of the original owners. The Café is located a stone-throw away from the famous Pegasus Bridge and the landing site of the gliders operated by the men of the 6th Airborne Division. La Maison Gondrée was the first house to be liberated in France by the allies during the early hours of June 6, 1944.
More color for you today! I took a stroll to the nearby beach of Cabourg yesterday afternoon. It’s a beautiful beach, especially in front of Le Grand Hotel where you can rent an umbrella for the day and enjoy La Joie de Vivre…