Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Attacking Strangers

I do find photographing strangers to be fun. Who cares if they look straight into your camera, and pose? Does it really matter if it detracts from the original principles of what street photography (unposed and undisturbed people subjects at their natural state) should be? What if it does not exactly qualify to be street portraits?

I say, screw all the definitions and what people tell you. Shoot it the way you want to, and shoot what you want to.

Images in this entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-PL1 and 14-42mm mk1 kit lens.




I shoot the strangers that I want to shoot, because I come across them, and I want to remember bumping into them. The way they look at you right in the eye, or stare blankly and directly into your camera, the way they shape their smile on their faces, and the way they see you as another stranger on the streets just passing by, those are the expressions worth capturing. There are times they can make the most compelling subjects.


  1. I really, really, REALLY envy you. I've just bought a new E-PL1 and I'm trying to start some street photography with it. I've always been curious with portraits or photos of people working, walking, traveling, sitting... it's been like, 10 years or so that I'm trying to shoot photos of this kind, with my old compacts, but I can't. I'm afraid someone will come up to me and say "Hey! What are you doing? Are you shooting a photo of me?", possibly shouting angrily or at me... so I try to hide it, and most of the time I cannot take any decent photos... it's frustrating like hell, it make me angry, and it makes me sad... :'(


  2. Hello Michele,
    First of all, congratulations on your purchase of the new PEN !! I am sure you love it to bits, and will make many great photos with it.
    About street photography and taking photos of people, it is undeniable some people will not be happy having our cameras pointing at them. So it is important to keep a friendly face and smile, if they show signs of refusal, do respect them, and apologize, and smile. They mean wont scold you unless you still insist on taking their photos.
    That aside, you will be surprised now many people are actually very sporting, and they wouldnt mind having their photos taken. You just have to be confident. Do give it a try, I am sure it works.

  3. I'm slowly starting to get then hang of it! People don't seem to mind that much, maybe because I usually keep them on the sides of the frame so the lens points not to them directly... but it's a start! ;)
    By the way, I love the "shutter therapy" line, as I actually am in therapy, and photography helps me a lot in overcoming my fear of facing reality... :D
    Have a nice day!

  4. Hi Robin!

    I first heard about you a month or two ago when you and Eric Kim did a quick YouTube video and about the time when you received the OM-D camera and I enjoyed reading your older posts regarding the E-PL1 and the kit lens. I am slowly building a M4/3 system and thus just picked up a E-PL1 to complement a Panasonic G1, but find the Olympus color challenging, to say the least! I hate shooting raw, so hopefully getting it "right" when shooting is important. Any insight on what settings would work best would be much appreciated. At worst, I can shoot raw, maybe for this early period, and running them in one of the Olympus programs to "see" what each setting does and maybe get a good all purpose setting for most situations. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Regards, Thomas