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.
©Mike Vincent Photography 2015