Street photography is something I’d picked up in the last few years, as a substitute for the travel photography while I am not actually traveling. Traveling is great, being an ‘outsider’ you are free from the fear of being rejected from your territory after pointing cameras to the people on the street. But as you come to realise, you can do the same thing in your familiar city. As many street photographers, including Joel in this fantastic video, tells you, it is about getting over that fear, fear of people getting angry and coming after you for photographing them on the street. I also heard the same thing from Billy Plummer, a very talented photographer who used to teach photography in UK and now working in a creative job based in China, whom I was fortunate enough to meet when I visited my friend and his colleague in Guangzhou. He told me, ‘Yes, we all fear that. But you’ve got to go out, try it, again and again, until you realise, it’s ok to do it.’ He taught that to many of his students while he was teaching photography, and he is living it. Look at the power in his street photography, and you know he is right.
If you like street photography and want to know about what makes them what it is, how the photographers work, all that, this video on Joel Meyerowitz is fantastic. It is about 60-minute long, but it’s got so much on his approach to street photography, as well as different, more detailed images he makes with a large format view camera. As an artist, each of us goes through stages where we are attracted by something and driven to express something, communicate and send some message through the body of work, but that, whatever inspiration and driving force, may change over time. I still remember the sensation that ran through me when, for the first time in my life, I made a beautiful portrait (or more like ‘snap’ that looked like portraiture, really) which made everyone arround me cheer me on. That was 21 years ago and I made that with my first Canon SLR camera. I remember what excited me when I was photographing on the cobble streets in the sub-zero Switzerland. And I remember what excited me when I was working on an abstract / street project last year, right here on the streets of Melbourne. Through all that experience, I see things I see, the kind of things that I could not see or understand even when other people talk of it. So that’s where it comes down to – you just got to keep doing it, then you’ll see ‘the next’. While you are being smart in your couch and saying ‘that’s about as far as I go with my limited creativity’, you will never see it.
Enough about me… have a look at this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you like to find out more about street photography, like this video, visit In-Public, a website committed to street photography.
The video is embedded on this In-Public article.