New Found Passion: The Street

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So despite having no way of processing images the way I would like to, I still went out to shoot. I admit that I have a long journey ahead in terms of fully learning photography; it’s a never ending process. Street photography is something I just do not understand. So it subsequently goes to the top of my to-do list. I’ve been looking at some books, magazines, websites -and I don’t get the medium. Lugging around a Canon 5D with a huge battery pack doesn’t really help me blend in either. There is a type of stage fright that you can get when you put the viewfinder to your eye; some people will glare back at you through the lens, other people will turn to look at what your photographic eye is seeing, and others just walk on by, oblivious to your presence.

I went after the street performers. They were a clear subject, easy to shoot, and willing to be photographed. (Or, because they’re very hard core performers and don’t stop their music for anyone or anything, I was able to shoot and get away with it…)I made eye contact with majority of them from across the way, and they either nodded or smiled. I am shooting with a 50mm, which is close to what the eye sees (on its own). So I am challenged to get in close to the scene. But I am a people person, so I don’t mind it.

Well, like writing, you just need to put the pen to the paper in order to get the creative process started. That’s certainly easier said then done. I resorted back to my photography instincts; use the rule of thirds, aperture/shutter speed, ISO and white balance etc. But the most useful instinct that I fell back on, and is probably in the truest sense an “instinct,” was following the light. Sure, photographers don’t “need” light because of flash and camera technology. But I was thinking of this in more of an abstract manner; light will create a scene that I have to find and capture.

I was excited when I realized that I got this shot framed so well. (None of these images have been modified-they’re just the JPEGs straight of the camera). This bassist was playing some really beautiful tunes that hummed throughout this intersection. As you can see, people stop to listen, but are usually preoccupied with something else, and look quite weird facing away from the performer.

As soon as I realized that truth, it became easier to put my camera to my eye and snap away. And then, once I started feeling the beat of Galway, which is hard not feel with a street performer on every corner, I got addicted. Very addicted, very quickly. I’ve been writing a lot about how the Irish and the Americans differ in culture and daily life. But I want(ed) to capture that. There are so many movements that create lines and temporary scenes that your eye only sees for a moment. Well, not even that for those of us that walk around with our heads in our phones…

This performer was my favourite. He had a strong voice, which all performers seem to have by necessity, but his really rang out. I found myself utilizing a slower shutter speed to freeze movements. It was a good challenge to lock focus on my subjects with no one in front of me and then actually release the shutter when the scene is created.

Everyone has eyes; (metaphysically) we have the ability to see our surroundings on many different levels. So it’s up to us what we want to perceive. (It is NO coincidence that I just walked away from a French Phenomenology class. That has everything to do with my language about perceiving and seeing; how we grasp the world around us).

I thought this was going to be my favourite. But now that I am seeing it on a bigger screen, I don’t think so. There are so many things that occur in just one second. What I wanted to capture was the guy reaching for the girl’s hand with the sun lighting each of them. But I was a bit off and the focus wasn’t right.

2 thoughts on “New Found Passion: The Street

    johnpfinch said:
    20/01/2014 at 6:39 am

    Street photography is something you will either love or hate, it’s not something that can be done easily from a distance, closer is definitely better, which means you’ll need rather sizeable balls!

      Jack Viere said:
      20/01/2014 at 3:36 pm

      Haha! John, that cracked me up. Closer is better just because of my personality. I guess that’s starting to come out in my photography style…

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