The street is a vibrant stage for story telling.
The characters that come out to play are so varied, on a given day, the story they tell will not inspire me to shoot, on the other hand, it might. I have noticed that when I am “empty” with no fixed agenda, the right shot will present itself to me. Being ready for that magic moment is all that is required on my part - I am still learning how I want to approach this.
There are some shots that I feel uncomfortable with, like the homeless and children. A part of me feels they have a right to their privacy, children must be safe at all times and yet they are a perfect subject because they are free and uninhibited in front of the camera.
My style so far is to interact, share myself and my story and ask for the privilege of taking their portrait. This to me is kind and respectful and by giving first, I am more likely to receive.
On the flip side is the notion of stealth mode shooting in the manner of Henri Cartier Bresson - there is an element of this that I like. This is where the benefit of a telephoto lenses come into play. I hate to say this but it smacks of the paparazzi and yet it isn’t because I am not chasing anyone down to get a photograph to sell, this has no class.
For me, I can see the beauty of how the telephoto lens can actually support the beauty of candid shots and reaching parts of a scene that would be broken by my physical intrusion.
In watching Jay Maisel on Kelby 1, he uses a zoom lens and still interacts with people as and when required - this I like. It allows the photographer the freedom to respond in the moment to the situation, people and his internal conversation about what the shot could mean after pressing the shutter.
The creation of the shot as the scene unfolds real time, sometimes a scene may need a cast of characters to make an entrance. All of this is part of the discipline of becoming an artful street photographer, "commitment without attachment" to the outcome.
Recently, I experienced an interesting emotion, indifference with my shooting.
It was an atypical day; the stage was Covent Garden and it was heaving with energy, people. The stage was set and yet, while I took some good shots, I felt no connection to the experience. I couldn't understand my lack of motivation or desire. Some of the shots were fine and yet lacked inspiration. After much thought, I am present to the gift of experiencing the moment before I take my camera in hand. The feeling or desire to shoot a particular subject that I have engaged with is paramount to my success as a photographer .
"I would rather go out empty and not return with a single shot than shoot just for the sake of it".
©Mike Vincent Photography 2015