The Reality of Street Photography

I feel like a creep! A creep creeping!

I feel like a old man with salt and pepper hair seated on a bench by a children's playground holding a packet of bonbons while watching children do what they do. The street is like a playground, my camera is the candy. It attracts everyone's eyes. They stare at me staring at them. 

I seat wondering "should I, should I not?"

My palms are sweaty, my throat is dry. I fear for my level entry digital camera. I spent a fortune on it and would hate it to be snatched out of my hands. I seat wondering whether my acts are appropriate and my reasons acceptable.

Street photography attempts to capture different aspects of life. With the ubiquity of camera phones and the culture of people snapping whatever catches their eye, street photography is becoming more and more popular. Meaning, people are having their photos taken without formal consent.

The fun bit of street photography is the exploration. Anything can happen at any time. I find that fascinating. Watching people, being people and doing what people do. Its always great to document life as it happens around me.

Street photography sounds amazing but in reality it does not feel right. In my efforts, I often try to avoid people, I work hard to not disrupt the beauty of man in his space doing what he does best and in the process I end up feeling like a creep. It’s an awful feeling. Sometimes, I am not the only one, at the corner of your eye its not hard to find someone trying to steal a snapshot with their camera phones or DSLR. 

Another creeping fellow, I see!

 Street photography is not bad and there is no shame in it, but the weight of it all can weigh down on you. Your work needs to portray people in a light that won't leave a sour bitter taste when they see it.

Street photography is about empathizing with your subject and showing the world the best side of people, whoever they are and wherever they might be. It’s about knowing one day they will stumble upon a photo of them and it has to resonate well with them.

I took my first street photo while seated 100 meters or so from my subjects. It was uncomfortable! I felt awful about intruding into people’s personal space. With time, every picture I take, I am becoming better. I am learning to smile at strangers and say hello. I am learning about starting a conversation with people and establishing rapport. I am learning to get out of my comfort zone, out of my space and into the world. And most of all, I am learning compassion, kindness and empathy.

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