street photography

A little reminder

Moments like these remind me why I love photography.

This man has been the subject of a lot of photographs that have been made by me and some of my friends over the last 5/6 years. I will never forget the first time Chase and I met George.. he was out on the streets playing his drums and singing a song about hope in the middle of November.. Since then, each time we've gotten the chance to see him he always has a massive smile on his face. He's been a reminder to me that no matter what your situation is, you can always have a positive outlook. Many of us out there need that reminder from time to time.

Anyway, I met with him Friday night and he asked my why he didn't have a picture that I had taken yet... for the life of me, I couldn't think of a valid reason. He'd inspired me, provided me with some of my favorite images and all I'd given him were some handshakes and a couple dollars. So, I decided it was time. I told him that if he could meet me downtown Minneapolis on Sunday around 4pm that I would have something for him. I got an image from Friday printed at Target photo (ps thank you to the staff for the pen and the kind words). The woman who handed me my image said his face and smile in the photo instantly made her smile and just all around happy to see that positivity radiate from George.

I just figured I would share this with you all... don't forget to keep a positive mindset, no matter how tough things can get.

Taking vs. Making

This post is a continuation of my train of thought from the last post "The picture taker and the photographer." The idea that I was trying to drive home between those two titles was the line of thought behind a person and their camera. I'd like to touch on that just a little bit more. Let's say for instance, that in your mind and your craft, you've surpassed the "picture taker." The standard blurry, ill-framed vacation photographs have turned into a series of landscapes or portraits. In your head, the ideas of making and taking are wrestling back and forth. 

So first, the idea of taking. I think of taking as the Snap Chat approach to photography. There isn't much thought, maybe two or three are taken to get the best look (probably a filter or two), and its gone just as quick as it was there. Forgotten and lost in the cyber world of floating digital images. I do think that many photographs have to simply be taken in order to get to a point of making a photograph but some people get stuck in the appreciation and social media love they get from everything they take. It becomes comfortable but your craft ceases to differ and progress. This is easy to understand, because making a photograph can be terrifying as all hell. It's your thoughts, emotion and view of this world being shown to someone else and if you're not your harshest critic, someone else will be. The idea of someone not liking your photograph is detrimental, unless you simply just don't give a shit and either have a massive God complex or are the best photographer in the world. Deep down we all care about how our images and work will be received by our peers. 

Now we'll get into the idea of making. For some, making a photograph consists of hours of planning and thinking about the absolute best and most creative way to portray a feeling or to tell a story. They make a list of potential ideas, different angles and subject matter. Ponder it some more, then finally go and shoot it. For some, this is the best way to communicate the ideas in their head...personally, I think that would be exhausting, however Rob would heavily disagree with me. 

For me, I like to shoot a little more on the fly. Don't get me wrong, there is still some pre-shoot conceptualization that goes into a scheduled shoot but I love seeing how things play out while at the location. To me, a little bit of surprise and change makes it more exciting and challenging and in the end you can get a much more rewarding photograph. This is why I love street photography. If a creative can master the art (and mastery is another completely separate idea to be further touched on) of street photography, they are completely aware of what is going on around them. They are able to analyze what is and what is not important to include in the frame, they see the moment and they snap the shutter. That thought process I just touched on is compressed into seconds, after those seconds pass, there is no way you can truly and organically re-create that scene. This is probably why there are more landscape photogs than street photogs... it's a lot easier. When you truly make a photograph, it is something that can be remembered and will hit home to your audience, something about it will resonate with more than just you or your shooting buddy. 

Here's a Labovtiz school of Business inspired analogy for taking vs making. Imagine there are two people who want to start a clothing brand. One person bulk orders a bunch of radical looking tshirts and sells them via word of mouth, they make a bit of cash then forget about it cause it was really hard to keep going with demand, production and all the other fun things that go with starting a business. They stop, the brand dies and it is forgotten (taking). On the other hand you have a kid who weighs the cost a benefit of a bulk order vs ordering as demand comes in. They consistently post to social media and create a website, a message is created and people start to believe in the brand. Eventually, bulk ordering is the only way to keep up with demand, new product lines are thought up and business continues to grow (making). 

Anyway, those are my thoughts...I've gotta scoot to class now. Till next time, cheers!