Unlike a lot of street photographers I use flash on the subjects I am photographing, I am often very close (4 feet or under) to the subject and use a wide angle lens, neither do I ask permission, as this would change the response from the subject, and result in socially contrived stances and poses! This may seem very invasive on a personal level, but at least they know they have been photographed, which I think is ethically better than making candid photographs of the subject of which they know nothing about and have no choice in the making.
Often they ask why, and conversation starts, I get to meet people, we chat, they have a laugh and go about their day with a smile on their face and they feel a bit more special! I am not into the funny photo “one liners” or “gag’s” there are plenty of humour websites out there that degrade people and I have more respect for my subjects (and myself) To me street photography is a serious undertaking and needs to reflect the mood on the streets.
The light from the flash is also me adding to the scene or subject as a means of creating, not just recording what is in front of my lens. I angle the light to try and suit the subject and allow for the light to drop away from the background, leaving just the subject in the spotlight as it where. With this in mind I have to spot my subject further up the street, I covet the camera and my intentions by walking behind other people so I am not seen. I slow or speed up my pace to get them in front of a suitable background. I have to think where the flash needs to be in relation to the subject (I aim for Rembrandt lighting).
Some times they may be looking the wrong way at the moment our paths intersect and I have to make a noise or say hello to get them to look in my direction. Simply put it’s hunting for the picture I want, yet it is done with the greatest respect to who they are!
I photograph with the attitude of “all photographs are self portraits,” meaning that the people I select resonate with me on a personal level, from a person I know, an emotion or a situation I have been in; they are like me in some way! I don’t go gunning for everyone on the street like some street photographers do. I don’t photograph people to make them look bad or to make fun of them, I won’t photograph people who are obviously worse for wear over drink or those that are homeless, I am not after victimising – victims of our don’t care-less society!
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