There must have been countless discussions, arguments, philosophies and rules on the best technique and method to go about shooting street photography. Some require you to wait at one corner for hours just to get that decisive moment (I think decisive moments are overrated) to come into your planned "stage" or background. Others will get you hiding in the shadow and being "invisible" so that your presence is not noticed. The extreme ones will get you out in the open and shock your subjects by firing your flash, pointing your lens just inches away from your subject's face, to obtain that "wonderful expression" or reaction to your unexpected attack. Many would idolize HCB (I am starting to have issues with HCB worshipers, seriously) and say you must have excellent eyes recognizing geometrical balance to be incorporated into your composition, or else your shots lack "art".
If you ask me, what works for my street shooting? I'd say, the direct approach. Full Stop.
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko 50mm F2 macro lens.
Smiling Indian Lady
Baby and Sister
I just go straight up to my subject, be polite and friendly, offer a smile that tells my subject "I am not a threat, and I mean no harm", point my lens at the subject and fire away. And usually ended with a nod (gesture of thank you) or said it out loud "thank you". Sometimes, I just go near and fire away without my subjects knowing, and walked away. I may shoot from a distance, or I may go incredibly near. I decide on the spot, what works and what not. I may preserve the natural undisturbed scene, or I may even engage in a conversation with my subject. I shoot whatever that attracted my attention, and I make images that I like. I do not care if those images would "compare to what the general street shooters" would qualify as great street shots.
I do not seek approval or qualifications.
I shoot because I want to shoot, and I love doing it, the way I want to do it.
I shoot, with a very simple, yet direct approach.
What is wrong with that?
Walk in white
I shot him because 1) I do not see many photographers shooting in Jalan Masjid India or Chow Kit area 2) He shot me first !! So I shot him back 3) He had one of the brightest smile I've seen all morning.
Me and Shutter Therapy.
Found a mirror so I did self-portrait.
If you waited too long, you might not even realize your "moment" has passed, and you might accidentally (not an accident if you choose to ignore actually) miss many photography opportunities. If you are too shy, wanting to hide away you might not get close enough to have photographs with sufficient impact and drama. If you go too near and attack your subjects too close you might come home with a broken nose and a shattered lens. Hopefully not a broken shooting spirit. If you wanted to become like HCB, well, good luck. That dude has invented the wheel, trying to reinvent the wheel wont make you look good either. The most important thing is to be yourself, do what you feel is comfortable and right, keep that shutter clicking, and be happy with your process of photography. It is crucial not to read too much, over-analyze concepts that would never be practical in real life, and close yourself from a world full of photography opportunities.
Keep an open mind. Keep things simple.
I still like my direct approach. Maybe you should try it too.