Street Portraiture

I’ve been reading a lot about Street Photography. It piqued my interest and I spent many nights, scouring the internet. The main issue that I had was that it was too detached for me. The almost voyeuristic detachment with which the street photographer hangs back and observes what is going on, before clicking the shutter at the Bresson-esque decisive moment, generally goes unnoticed by the subject. Despite street photography taking place in public places, such as a train or a cafe, the photographers aim is to avoid having any impact on the scene unfolding before them. Anonymity is key. For me, I like the interaction. I like to talk to people. I wanted my subjects to be involved. I can only advise that anyone who is going to try the same thing as I am, should take a look at the ‘Humans of New York’. The photographer approaches and speaks to the subjects before taking a photograph of them. In my own opinion, this makes the photograph more about the interaction between the photographer and the subject and less about the observation of people.

I’m certainly not claiming to be an innovator here. There must be a million photographers before me who gone down this well trodden path, but I’m not interested in them because this is my personal project. I’m starting a collection of photographs of people that I’ve never met before. Throughout the course of any day, we all see many, many interesting people who we don’t know. Perfect Strangers. People who for some reason capture our attention and interest. The reason may be good, or bad, but for some reason, they stood out and made us wish that we could photograph them. It’s difficult to break down the social boundaries that stop us from approaching a total stranger and talking to them, it’s even more difficult to ask them if they will let us photograph them. For anyone in the same position as me, I’d recommend this project and the aim is simple. To eliminate the fear that we have of being rejected, photographically speaking. Our aim should be to encourage ourselves out of the comfort zone, to force ourselves to approach the people that previously, we’ve only imagined talking pictures of. What’s the worst that could happen? They might say “no”.