On the one hand photography is one of the easiest and quickest art forms. For example, all of the World Press photo’s, one of the most prestigious awards for photojournalism worldwide, have been taken in just milliseconds or seconds. To fully appreciate this fact, imagine that Van Gogh painted the Starry Night, which is currently estimated to be worth 80 million dollars, in less than a second. That breaks down to an hourly wage of 288 billion dollars. Not bad. Of course this is completely unrealistic, but who cares about realism nowadays?
“Imagine that Van Gogh painted the Starry Night in less than a second”
On the other hand, since it is only a matter of seconds to take the money shot, a photographer has to be hyper-sensitive for changes in his surroundings. Like an eagle he scans his environment, continuously adjusting his camera settings, so he can instantly strike when he spots an opportunity. A masterpiece is finished the moment it is started, but it takes great skill, talent and luck to actually capture one.
This generally outlines the creative paradigm for photography, but within the field of photography there is one type of subject that takes this paradigm to the next level, namely: people on the street. Not only is it exceptionally hard to capture a moving subject with its own set of social and aesthetic qualities in an ever changing environment, there exists a social barrier for the photographer as well. To take someone’s photo is like touching him or her; it’s an invasive act to someone’s privacy. However, people make a picture come alive; there is nothing more captivating for people than other people. More so when set in the right light and relative to the right environment.
“Yesterday was an absolute disaster”
Therefore, I set out yesterday and today to get over the social confrontation and practise my street photography skills. Yesterday was an absolute disaster. I simply didn’t dare to come close to people and photograph them. So, today, I challenged myself to take a picture of anyone I crossed on the streets, to slowly get accustomed to the social obstruction. Happily, the failure of yesterday was quickly forgotten seeing the results of today. They are not at all great, but they are progress nonetheless.
“Colour is always a choice”
By the way, colour is always a choice in photography (and many other art forms) and in most of the picture’s I took today the colours only distract from their essential quality, which is often the case, I think, for urban photography, since cities are full with unnecessary colours. Below you’ll find three other picture’s I took.