This was great fun - when I saw this I got out my camera and started shooting, what a great photographic opportunity. The team from I Talk to Strangers are a fantastic bunch of guys and gals who are promoting the notion that there is no need to be afraid to talk to someone you don't know. This spoke to me because of my 100 Strangers Project.
Hugging is the most natural experience in the world - it reminds us that we as humans need and crave the feeling of being valued, appreciated and loved by another. It is an important facet of our well -being. This initiative is a wonderful example of what happens when we as a community get past our opinions and judgements and embrace "literally" our fellow man, woman and furry beast. LOVE IS CONTAGIOUS and it all begins with a little of HUGGIN...
I have experienced a breakthrough in Street Photography - shooting in "stealth mode".
I am really inspired by the notion of Street Portraits, where by engaging in conversation with total strangers, I can come away with a great shot and having made a connection with a fellow human being.
Shooting Street Photography in the style of Henri Cartier Bresson is another matter. Capturing the moments that communicate a story is quite compelling and somewhat addictive. I can say my images evoked a strong feeling in me prior to taking the shot. I am allowing this emotion to guide all of my street work.
Take a look at this first shot:
This was taken from the "hip" - I like the fact that the shot cropped off both heads, it allows for you the viewer to add your own face to the story just from the body language.
This was too good to pass up - they may have been in doors because as I observed, they were in their own little world of "comfort and safety"
I am really drawn to still life shots - I can feel the presence of life. A simple shot of a Bicycle and yet, a simple question for me, "Where is the owner?"
This is quite an adventure - camera in hand and allowing the shot to come to me, to speak, to me to compel me to shoot.
To be continued.
I have always fancied visiting Camden Market and the surrounding area with my camera. It is a vibrant and energetic place for a photographer. I wasn't wrong in my feelings about this part of London. Today was extraordinary, I allowed the energy fo the streets to "speak" to me.
My camera was at my side and yet, I didn't feel the pull to start shooting just yet. The moment came during an exchange with a young man who had approached me because he recognised me form my television appearance with Penn & Teller. From that moment, the adventure began
The famous Camden Lock looked regal in appearance and gave the environment a very special vibe. I was happy today because my experiment was to shoot only at 85mm and still create a good shot in the frame.
As part of my Street Life commentary, I have to say that with Camden, I could feel the heart beat and pulse of the people. It was different to Piccadilly Circus. This energy could be intimidating and yet today it wasn't and I was deliberately walking slow, taking it all in, just feeling and being with it all, camera ready in hand.
To see more of shots visit Camden Stories
Click here of my Shot fo The Day
This thrilling branch of the craft exists in a conversation. People are the heart and soul of street photography.
Today has been a breakthrough in initiating conversations with strangers. I was surprised by how easy it was. Being confident and yet approachable is the key to a successful interaction. Rapport is the heart beat of all successful communication. Our humanity is based on this in-built aspect of our DNA - a desire to connect and belong. This is much bigger than just asking to take someone's photograph, it all about being the "giver" first by saying "hello, how are you today". All of my interactions with people today was triggered by something I noticed about them and my opening remark was in direct proportion to the context of their situation.
With each image, I will share the exact wording I used to open the conversation.
Two elderly gentlemen who run The Floating Book Store - "Word on The water"
This simple comment opened up a delightful conversation. The gentleman with the hat on enquired about my camera and lens. He new about the "Bokeh" effect so me thinks, he knew a little about the craft.
There were some good books on display - the book about James Bond caught my eye.
This was the start of a delightful afternoon.
St.Patrick's day Magic
My next conversation was perfect - you couldn't have scripted it better. I saw a gentleman with a green hat on and thought to myself, this man must have a lot of personality to wear that hat and he did. An Irishman, celebrating St. Partick's Day.
I have deliberately left this image in colour to amplify the effect of this great and charming gentleman. I like Black & White for Street Photography, a throw back to the time of Henri Cartier Bresson, I will make an exception in this case for dramatic impact.
This young man was charming, very open and warm his name is Junaid and he works in Paddington Station selling the best Chocolate Chip Cookies in town.
This man rides a rickshaw around the streets of London carrying passengers in the back seat. Had a great conversation regarding fitness and you can tell from the image he was cool and laid back about having his photograph taken.
These two young men were outside their shop giving away small bars of soap to passers-by. I noticed a few people walk past without even the slightest acknowledgement. I saw that as an opportunity to start the conversation - it led to this photographic moment, pure Street Photogrpahy magic.
I have discovered the secret to my style of Street Photography. Initiate the conversation, listen actively, recreate the individual and build rapport, share a little about myself and my work, most importantly, pay a compliment to the person I am speaking to - this is context driven and then ask them for a small favour - the photograph.
I don't believe in taking anyone's photograph who I haven't spoken to. There are some shots which are too good to pass up and when timing is not on my side. I will take the shot in the name of the craft. (see my shot below) However, I feel that people are the heart and soul of a great shot and where possible, I will strive to make personal contact, even if I don't get the shot, I will have got something of even greater value, a personal connection with a complete stranger.
REMEMBER: A stranger could be a friend waiting to happen.
Those magical moments caught when I am out and about are so fleeting, being ready is a skill which I am slowly cultivating. I recently discovered my feelings about what I consider to be important in the genre of Street Photography. While all the elements of exposure and composition are significant and required, there will be moments when "getting the shot" is the most important thing.
I was reading one of Scott Kelby's books on Photography and he recommended Program Priority mode as an option to consider when out and about. This camera setting means that my D90 will set the Aperture and Shutter Speed for the scene and situation, all I would need to do is compose and shoot. With this particular setting of Program Mode, I can still adjust my preferred Aperture and Shutter Speed combination and my camera will regulate for the scene allowing me to observe and "be" with my surroundings, waiting for that "magic decisive moment" to arise and hopefully get a great shot.
I mention all of this because I was able to spot a great moment and with my camera setting of Program Priority with a Focal Lenth of 50mm, Aperture pre-set at f/6.3 and Shutter Speed of 1/160th sec with an ISO of 200.
Here is the shot...
When you look at this image, would do you see?
What do you get from it?
Technology has brought the world so much closer together and yet pushed us further apart. Three individuals, with their backs towards each other, engaged in three different conversations totally oblivious to one another other. If the world ended in that moment, so what?
When I saw this moment, I was touched by the situation and how communication for me has become such a challenge. I can't take phone calls anymore because of my sudden hearing loss in both ears and having Tinnitus for company 24/7. My self-expression has been impacted by this experience, however, it hasn't stopped me from looking for and creating new pathways in which I communicate, share and honestly express myself. My work as a professional Magician and now Photography has opened up a new a possibility for me. The possibility that life occurs in communication, love shared and expressed is only possible with honest self-expression and having the capacity to receive it.
I am truly touched, moved and inspired by this moment - it has created for me profound levels of gratitude for the "now", the present moment awareness of life and what a gift it is to open myself up to another and be the space and opportunity for another to be open to me.
©Mike Vincent Photography 2015