The Everyday Life of Ordinary People

Street photography is more than beautiful light and shadows. It’s a glimpse into the life of ordinary people. An expression or a gesture that tells the story of everyday life.

Yes, as you know, I love photographing a beautiful silhouette or a person walking through a shaft of light in the perfect step, but those images are much less challenging or rewarding than capturing a really special expression or gesture. Both are still a depiction of everyday life, the first is more giving, while it is much more difficult to see and appreciate the second. The rate of success in capturing the uniqueness of everyday life in a compelling photograph is also much lower.

The slice of life forever frozen in time, in all its simplicity, is what street photography means to me in its purest form. I am the happiest when I capture a moment of the human condition, whether it is love, sadness, the struggles of aging or anything in between. The challenge is to learn to recognize the moment that will make the strongest possible photograph. It can be as subtle as the position of a hand on a railing, the loneliness in a woman’s eyes or men adjusting they reading glasses.

I hope this makes sense. Here is a selection of photographs to help illustrate the point I am trying to convey, because a photograph is worth a thousand words.

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valerie-jardin-gesture-1

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valerie-jardin-gesture-7

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valerie-jardin-gesture-12

 

valerie-jardin-gesture-17

All shot with either the Fujifilm X100S, T or F at 23mm  🙂

Thank you for visiting. Please share your thoughts in the comments! 

18 thoughts on “The Everyday Life of Ordinary People

  1. For almost 40 years I have shot what today is termed “street photography”. Even my early ventures into wedding photography (which I found was NOT what I wanted to do with photography) was predicated on capturing, as HCB termed it, “the decisive moment”. Eventually after two decades, I established a relationship with a weekly newspaper which lasted for 10 years before the industry took a nosedive. Now retired, I seek to document my little town with the normal happenings. Your work with the Fuji X100-series of cameras is what I have focused on when I visit your site. After decades of SLR/DSLR bodies, I was looking for something small and unobtrusive to shoot with and pre-ordered an X100S to try. While I also have an X-E1, my focus as of late has been the “one camera, one lens” method with the X100S. Thanks for the inspiration that this blog entry gives me as I continue to try and re-focus my photography.

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  2. You’re the tops, Valerie. As much as I like the composition and lighting contrast in your photos, their outstanding qualities are optimism, humanity and love of life.

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  3. Valerie, our thoughts about street photography are one and the same. As I looked at your photos in this blog, I thought that most of my photos are similar! Thank you for sharing your photos. I will remain a Valerie Jardin follower.

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  4. Thank you for the simple reminder that what we do as photographers is important and meaningful. In this present climate, I
    Am trying to be positive and this helps keep the focus in the right place. Thank you!

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  5. Your blog post will come on handy when I try to explain to family and friends why I practice street photography. It’s really just human interest photography. I love the photo of the girl on the subway.

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    • Thank you Ivan! And good questions! The only part ‘luck’ plays in street photography is that interesting subjects will or will not cross your path 🙂 I was walking by the metro station slowly, they often make interesting shots if the right person happens to be there. I saw the scene, quickly composed the best possible frame, a low angle, with reflection/leading line. The point was to get the boy’s gesture before they reached the top or he would change it for sure as he would step off the escalator. I call this photograph ‘Escalating’ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, this is a great title! I agree with you on the “luck” point, but here I referred to the boy’s gesture. He could change it even before you got them in the viewfinder. Fortunately, he didn’t;-)

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  6. Great post! I always wonder for how many of these you had the eye at the viewfinder, this is often such a challenge for me. I see the moment but I cannot bring myself to raise the camera, especially in closed spaces like the subway… I am all the more admirative!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 🙂
      I rarely bring the camera to my eye anymore. Shooting with the one focal length, there is rarely a need to even look through the LDC either. Although I was shooting in the subway with a DSLR in front of my face before I switched to a more minimalist camera. It’s about seeing, the method used to capture the moment is really irrelevant in my opinion. You only have a fraction of a second before it’s gone.
      I also think that eye level photography can get quite static and using LCD will make more interesting POVs.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply! I am also with smaller camera now (Fuji) and it really made a positive difference in these situations. I think I will just have to practice more with zone focus and trust my guts for framing!

        Liked by 1 person

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