2020 has influenced the way many of us photograph our chosen subjects, with COVID safe plans in place to being watched, and some, fined by the police to being locked down and not leaving the house to pursue our passion for photography. To that end, I have been forced to take a ‘what’s happening in my city?’ and a ‘am I allowed out?’ approach to photography.
The came these bombshell comment from a colleague, ‘Your photos are very political!’ only to be further echoed by other colleagues leaving me scrambling to justify my choice of subjects. I noted as they scrolled through my Instagram feed none of them mentioned or commented on composition, cropping or even the editing technique etc. but rather commented on the theme behind each image.
I like to think that I’m the same as everyone else who enjoys photography, we are all, in our own way trying to tell a story with each and every single photograph and politics or a political theme is something I have gone out of my way to avoid by putting my efforts into capturing the emotions of people attending and the emotion around the event.
These comments stuck with me for quite sometime only to realise that you may inadvertently capture the politics surrounding the event whilst trying to capture peoples emotions.
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Moving through the crowd at a BLM rally I spotted this young lady and asked if I could take her photo, she turned and directly engaged the camera by looking down the barrel, I pressed the shutter, thanked her and walked away. Something I now regret.
These regrets could have been avoided for a couple of reasons
Didn’t spend enough time with her to have her pose properly but its still worked out
Didn’t ask her name or email address so a print or digital file could be sent to her.
Realized that this is one of those photos you keep going back to over time.
I also learnt I need to slow down photographing protests, this is not easy as most are pretty fluid, filled withe emotion and can turn violent in the blink of an eye, however there is also a fear of not capturing the event in its entirety.
Until next time, happy shooting.
Please note: due to limited space on WP, a full-size version is available at Flickr which can be seen by clicking on the photo. Flickr presents the photo better
There were only a few hours that were available to wander through the back streets of the Old City in Jeruslam. The sounds and sights added to the overwhelmng feeling that before me, potentially millions of people from all walks of life had walked these streets, I stood looking at the surrounding buildings and stared into a darkened room struggling to make out the lone figure sitting in a chair. As I entered I noticed the room was filled full of rugs and towards the rear was a younger man in the middle of a sale with a couple.
I approached the old man and asked, as pointed to my camera, if he minded if I took his photo, he nodded his head yes and I took one photo, just one. I showed him the photo and in a fleeting moment we had connected. As time was short, I left in a hurry in search of another photo oppotunity.
Going the extra step, being a little curious can lead to unexpected photo opportunties.
I often wander the streets of Sydney looking for interesting subjects to photograph when I noticed this guy sitting with his two dogs in the entrance to St James train station. What caught my eye was the sign directly behind him and the sheer number of people who simply ignored him as they went about their lives.
Normally I don’t like to photograph people who are homeless for many reasons and the main reason is that I don’t want to or seem to be taking advantage of them but I couldn’t resist asking him if he minded if I took his photo.
Walking up to him, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself, asking him about his dogs and he told me their names and that one was the mother and the other the daughter but for the life of me I can’t remember which. The blue heeler that he is holding growled at me but the blue heeler at his feet didn’t mind a pat. He put down his harmonica and let me take this photo. I asked him if he minded if I took his photo. Much to my surprise he said yes.
I only took two photos and showed him the end result on the LCD screen. He said was pretty happy with the results and after a few more minutes of talking to him, I shook his hand, threw a few dollar coins in and left. Since I have downloaded the image and processed it I have this desire, this want to print the image in a decent size, say 12×10 and then give it to him. He won’t be able to eat or drink the photo but I think the problem I’ll have is finding him again to give him the photo.
I think it paid off walking up to him and speaking to him. What do you think?