7.22.2013

Real Street Photography. Right?




 I decided that my street photography had gotten boring. It had turned into a habit. I decided that a really committed street photographer should embrace the whole idea of the "street" and not the safety of the sidewalk. To that end I've started randomly walking out into traffic, turning to face the oncoming cars and then shooting with reckless abandon. The image above was taken Saturday afternoon. It had just rained which gave me some nice street reflections to work with. It also made the roads slicker and made the whole adventure much more riveting for me and the drivers.

After a number of near misses a peace officer dropped by to counsel me on my artistic undertaking and to suggest that the middle of a four way intersection on a busy street might pose overwhelming challenges to my project. I pulled out my double spaced, multiple page artist's statement  (AKA: The Street Shooter's Manifesto) and after he read, with interest, every single word he just shook his head and drove off.

I will say that, at times, the abject fear of death wreaks havoc on my usually nimble photographic skills... There was one candy apple red Mustang that was heading straight for me and I noticed that the driver was looking absently at a text instead of me. The car was heading toward me at forty miles per hour and it's a good thing I zone focused because I'm not sure the contrast detection autofocus is that good at objects coming straight for the camera. Fortunately it must have been a very short text because the driver looked up and then locked up the brakes. Unfortunately the buffer on my camera was full and I couldn't capture the passenger side of the car as it whipped around me into an adjacent lane, nudging, just barely, a cute little powder blue Prius.

Part of the subtle texture of this sort of in your face street photography is the colorful language the drivers hurl my way. It makes the whole process of doing this kind of art seem very, very interactive. I've been recording clips on a digital audio recorder but carrying the extra gear, and having to minister to it, reduces my agility and ability to gain the sidewalk in those many moments (especially during rush hour) when people are either oblivious to obstacles on the road or not at all into the whole idea of kinetic and challenging art forms.

I am hoping this new kind of street photography catches on. Especially with iPhone-o-graphers. It's so immediate and the risk makes it so much hipper than just trawling for static images of slow moving life.  You'll never feel the same sort of rush if you're just documenting your lunch...  The thing I think is most fun, if you have a driver's license, is that one can plumb both sides of the process: from workflow to traffic flow. Whichever side of the wheel you find yourself the newest idea in street photography may mean that soon we are ALL part of the art process.

I'm thinking of specializing in a certain esoteric form of this new street photography. There's a little known niche that deals with just left turn lanes. Might need a different selection of cameras to really master that one.

( Don't try this at home! Because most homes don't have streets running through them.)

#NX300 This was inspired by my tests with the Samsung NX300. With only an LCD finder you really have to work hard on street-o-graphy, especially in bright sun.



























10 comments:

Gregg Mack said...

There is a reason that the X Games has chosen to come to Austin.... This looks like it could be a new sport to get them to add to the roster.

Lanthus Clark said...

As if your life wasn't packed with enough excitement already! Haha!

OmarF said...

It's amazing how often April 1 comes around in a year.

Richard Leacock said...

Is this advice to help thin out the herd? Hmmm...

; )

Michael Ferron said...

Well I guess it is street in the truest sense but am questioning your "common" sense!! LOL Guess your parents told you "go play in traffic" like mine did!

Anton Wilhelm Stolzing said...

Hehe, street photography literally ...

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea! Try car surfing on the roof with a camera. It would be a genre you would have all to yourself.
Jerry Kircus

Kirk Tuck said...

Hard standing up to frame shots when your driver goes around corners...

Kirk Tuck said...

The real "macho" street shooters run toward the speeding cars. We call it "photo chicken."

Kirk Tuck said...

Every day here in the studio. Every day.