People often ask me, what is street photography and why do you take photos of random people on the street? It seems like street photography is both a beloved genre of photography and a misunderstood one. It prompted me to really ponder about what it is that I love about street photography, and why so many of us fell in love with it. Since this is my first blog post, I thought that it is the perfect time to share some of my thoughts on why I fell in love with street photography.
Capturing raw human elements
As human beings, we all have an innate desire to find commonalities with others. We are always curious and eager to seek that bond. As photographers, our cameras are the tools we use to speak what our hearts feel. The best thing about street photography is that it allows us to see and convey the raw human elements through images of people. Without speaking a word, we can discover layers of personality about someone, the external demeanour they display to the world, and if we are lucky, they sometimes, gently let through the hidden parts of themselves.
Finding and preserving the extraordinary from the streets we walk everyday
There are unlimited possibilities for street photographers to absorb inspiration from. We are inspired and energised by the world around us. We live in a world that is continuously exciting, surprising and unpredictable. It is perpetually moving. As natural storytellers and explorers, it is our passion to take up the responsibility to document and preserve the moments, the seconds, and the minutes that would be lost to the passage of time. We see people and places with wonder and we see the extraordinary from the ordinary. 100 years from now, our images would become valued evidence and representations of the world that once existed.
We get to be creative and produce magical artworks
The most magical moments occur when two elements are present – spontaneity and authenticity. In this sense, street photography is akin to magic. The moments on the streets are not manufactured or edited. Rather the people and places are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, all falling together at the right moment, to create something enchanting. As street photographers, we are essentially observers and just by being at a place at the right time, what we see becomes art.
Street photography offers so many opportunities for us to be creative too. There are many elements at play with each other. One of the elements I love to experiment with is light and composition. Street photography is essentially part reality, part imagination. We get what we are given by the world in a particular point in time, and we make the most of it. Each moment is different, and that alone is exciting and provides the canvas for boundless possibilities!
Street photography is a privilege, and it is fun!
Street photography is fun and thrilling. To borrow a line from Forest Gump, it is almost like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get! What I feel when I do street photography, it is a combination of adrenalin, passion, anticipation and what all street photographers can relate to – fear. The environment is constantly changing and it is exhilarating just being amongst the ‘chaos’ and endeavouring to adapt to the fast moving surroundings.
Most importantly, street photography is a privilege. There are so many untold stories of colourful characters out there, and as photographers, we receive the privilege to tell their stories on their behalf. We have the great honour of making sure that their photographs do them justice and bring out the most distinctive trait that defines who they are.
Being part of a supportive community
Let’s face it, the street photography community is one of the most awesome communities. We share the same enthusiasm and zest for capturing and telling stories through powerful imagery. We value each other’s work and support each other whenever we can. I really enjoyed meeting fellow street photographers online, particularly through Instagram. It is heart-warming to be able to share my passion with other like-minded people. For me, it is the community and the people that makes it even more worthwhile.
Are you a street photographer too? What do you love about street photography? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear it!