Bhooshan Iyer, whose views and knowledge I am beginning to respect
on a photography mailing list I belong to, was talking about street photography.
I like street photography. If there is one activity where I am completely in-sync with myself and the world around me is when I am recording the street life.I wont claim to be a perfectionist who has figured it out but I can honestly say I am quite comfortable doing it without upsetting people- some times a genuine eye contact is all it takes for permission to click. Although I wont intrude or step into a private moment, I think a key part of traveling is to record the life & times of our surroundings, whichever part of the world that may be. Here are two sets of street photography- both quite candid! Some of my friends and families worry when I take photos of kids- the pedophilia paranoia runs deep in the western world - but so far I havent had any trouble...
Here are some photos that I took in London15 months back. (I have one more set that has been in the oven for a while now!)
http://www.flickr. com/photos/ bhooshaniyer/ sets/72157623123 356371/
Here are some photos from Bangalore-Salem highway. A drive thats an integral part of my life. Have seen it go from a breeze to a night-mare and back to a pleasant dream all in a 15 year span.
Here's my response:
I have some thoughts on street photography.....it could go very well in some situations, and in some, there could be problems. You've...er...focussed on the ...to use another photographic pun, the positive aspect, let me point out the negatives.
In my hometown (Bangalore) and other places in India I've done a lot of street photography. And I've also done it abroad. Abroad, people are very particular about their privacy, and sometimes, going up to them and asking them for permission to take photographs completely spoils the "impromptuness" of the moment. So usually I do it the other way...I first take the photograph and then, if it's feasible, I go to the subjects, show them the photograph (ah, the convenience of digital photography!) and say I hope they don't mind...I've not had a problem with that so far. But if I click, and the subjects become aware that I am doing so...sometimes unfriendly, "you're invading our space" looks result.
In India, a different kind of problem exists. I went on the 25th Chennai Photowalk...and found a situation I was very uncomfortable with Some of the "picturesque" characters were very used to being photographed...and then being paid. Every photographer was slipping money into these people's hands...and they had made absolute beggars of them. I was very upset and tried to pass a couple of these people...and they blocked my way and demanded money. These regular photowalks are, I think, doing a lot of damage in this regard. I heard one shopkeeper say to his customer..."Oh, these people are back again in their jeans and with their big cameras, they'll pay double for everything and money means nothing to them!" ....surely....something to worry about. I did express myself to the group but didn't get much of a response about this....
And nowadays, on my wildlife trips, I am increasingly faced with young children demanding that I photograph them...and the posing is so absurd that it's actually quite endearing sometimes! But still, on most trips, whether abroad or in India, I manage a lot of photographs that I like (well I don't go too much for the technical perfection, I am much more about the content of the photograph.)
Here's one I like, it's about reading, and I took it on the street (I later showed it to the lady, who smiled at it!)
As I said, it's what I see, and my thoughts about it, that are more important to me than if the settings are right and the white balance is right etc :) So don't mind my SMS (Shamelessly Mediocre Shots)!
Bhooshan’s set of photos from an Indian highway drive are here: