Street Photography Inspirations (Assignment Four Prep)

Prior to assignment four, I did a little research into street photographers. Using the OCA Essential Websites list, I came across the amazing book; ‘Street Photographers’ which shows images from various photographers; whether professional or amateur, all joining together in their love of street photography, capturing candid, unstaged shots of the world around them. I took great inspiration from all these fascinating images which show ‘A sense of place’ well. This captivating set of  images show a rich mixture of countries and cultures all captured using a wide range of fascinating compositions and techniques. It’s this variety that will provide me with an interesting and diverse approach to assignment four.

So why do so many individuals capture street photography? What is their fascination with simply photographing people going about their daily lives? “Some photographers do this to try and make sense of the world around them. Some do it to ask questions of society. Some do it to challenge the assumption that life is mundane, to make the ordinary look extraordinary. Some want to highlight the often unforgiving nature of modern life in huge urban areas, some want to document the day-to-day oddness of their local villages. Some don’t even know why they do it…they just do it. Every photographer here has their own outlook on life, their own reasons for picking the camera up each morning, their own take on why they have such a compulsion.(1)” This has shown me that prior to my assignment, I need to understand why I am taking my images. What am I trying to say about the town? The sea-side town I have decided to capture has so many elements, from a busy amusement park, to a bustling promenade and various ice-cream shops. However, this thriving town is somewhat empty with the odd passing figure during week days. I am yet to decide whether I want to capture the town in it’s peaceful days; showing the serenity and beauty of the area, or whether I would like to show the exciting and vibrant side of the town that comes alive at the weekends. Or possibly a mix of the two- showing a well-rounded picture of the town’s true life? This quote has definitely given me something to think about. However, what I do know is that my images must say something. Parr emphasises the importance of this; “You can take the worst photos of the world, blow them up into a gallery show and make them look good. But still they will have nothing to say.(2) This is a vital point which I will definitely consider before approaching this assignment.

I have seen many different styles used in street photography throughout my research, and these diverse approaches are evident in this book. The first point we see is the effectiveness of simply capturing distant lone figures walking across the frame. This creates a very powerful image, with one single and very prominent point. The large expanse of ground in the scene works efficiently in setting the context of the space; showing the viewer a little of the surroundings being dominated by the figure. The photographer’s further create a sense of drama by placing the images in black and white. This works superbly in the images below, as there is a nice tonal contrast between the subject and the background. This uses Robert Capa’s technique of creating a figure to ground contrast of black against white or visa versa. I will definitely strive to capture a lone figure in my assignment, in order to show a strong variety of scale and style of images.

(3)

laurent roch

(4)

chema hernandez

Another strong technique used in street photography is capturing activity at it’s peak. The skill of capturing that key moment, when everything falls into place for just a fraction of a second is vital when aiming to show an activity or action. This is especially shown in images one and two below. All subjects are mid-jump, and are elevated in the air. There is a sense of suspense and anticipation in both images, as if the viewer can nearly see the subjects coming back down to earth with an almighty splash. This creates a hugely strong and interesting subject matter, and therefore an interesting image itself. Therefore I will take this research on board, and aim to capture this all important ‘moment’ of activity in my assignment images.

(5)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(6)

laurent roch 2

(7)

shane gray

Finally, the use of strong, vibrant colours is a technique used by some of these talented photographers. This is in stark contrast to the understated lone monochrome figure examples shown previously. Therefore, this technique will create a nice variety throughout my assignment images. We see examples of this below. Bold and contrasting colours are spilling out of the frame, creating lively and energetic images. The bursts of colour throughout the frame create an interesting image with many different elements. In images one and two below, we see the technique of shadows to make figures anonymous is used. These dark, passing figures add a further unknown element to the images, adding suspense and intrigue for the viewer. In the final image, we also see a strong triangle shape used . This is the perfect  composition for lines in an image, and it is worth keeping a look out for this at all times while shooting. Therefore, we see that all the images below use bright, vibrant, contrasting colours that burst out of the frame at the viewer. We also see that this is mixed with various other techniques to create strong and pleasing images. I intend to keep all these techniques in mind upon approaching assignment four.

(8)

alison mccauley

(9)

ed peters 1

(10)

ed peters 2

(11)

ed peters

(12)

shane gray 2

(1) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13]

(2) PHOTOGRAPHIC MUSEUM OF HUMANITY (2012), Available from: http://www.photographicmuseum.com/blog/top-interviews/martin-parr-digital-revolution-made-photographing-so-easy-but-still-the-most-difficult-thing-to-do-2/ [Accessed 07/06/13]

(3) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Laurent Roch)

(4) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Chema Hernandez)

(5) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Rui Palha)

(6) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Laurent Roch)

(8) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Alison McCauley)

(9-11) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Ed Peters)

(12) SUPAJUG, Street Photographers (2012), Also Available from: www.street-photographers.com [Accessed 25/06/13] (Photographer: Shane Gray)

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One thought on “Street Photography Inspirations (Assignment Four Prep)

  1. Pingback: Assignment Four Feedback | HansPhotography

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