Fellow DC photog Aziz hosted a free street photography workshop in Washington, DC. Super-cool fella and rad street photographer. I was pretty psyched that he was willing to give up all his street secrets to us moonlighters. I took David – self-proclaimed “architectural” photographer – and we hit the streets with Aziz, snapping away. The man provided lots of advice but mostly it was good to walk in a small group and have a little backup in case anyone got mad about getting photographed. I got lots of glares and evil eyes, but nothing worse than that. And I even got a few smiles as well. With some more practice, I think I could lose some of the fear.
Most people don’t even notice you. Everybody is so absorbed in their own thing. A smile really does diffuse the situation if they catch you, though. Most people seem to go from confused to a little angry, perhaps, to indifference in the split seconds it takes to snap the photo. Plus, it can be kind of cool to get those glares on film.
The smiles are nice too.
Maybe you can’t tell from the image, but it was a smile. This was a cheery guy.
I really can’t generalize for all the street photographers out there, and certainly not for the handful of really great ones in this city, but for me street is about capturing the moment – something cool that is happening. It’s also about preserving a record of what it was like at this particular time and place. Photography can capture a mood that is very different than a movie, different from a book, a song, etc. Plus, we work for free and shoot for little more than a couple of hits on flickr. I think that’s pretty neat.
Diptychs are weird to make for these images because none of them really go together very well. Alas, formatting must be adhered to.
Tourists are fun to photograph. They look so dorky all the time. But as Aziz counseled us, it helps to look like a tourist yourself. Makes you seem like less of a creep or media guy. He had lots of other tips, that Aziz guy. Here he is now, sporting some awesome doo-wop hair action.
Two more for your viewing pleasure.