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  • Nick Carroll

Street photography - the unfolding

My association with street photography (capturing life as it unfolds in front of you) began at age 12 when I discovered that I had strong ideas about what I wanted to photograph. These ideas were more than pictures, they were early feelings about the photographs I knew were inside of me.

Street photography is carried out by professionals, hobbyists and expressionists (people who can 'say' something in the pictures they take). My Mom has a friend who started taking street pictures in her 80th year with a crappy cell phone set on medium resolution. Her colour palette is so extraordinary and natural that I had no words to describe her achievements except "geez". Wilma is somehow drawn to an arrangement of colours elements in a scene and makes the picture when it all works for her. She couldn't say how she arrives at the moment, it just happens that way.

Another friend, who favours painting and sculpture over photography, makes incredibly organic pictures of just about everything she points her camera at. Lauren's images are some of the most powerful I have ever felt. Yet, she has no interest in pursuing photography for any gain other then her own insight. Her understanding of camera functions is basic.

If you want to strengthen your eye for street photography and to see what is possible, study the work of the masters: Henri Cartier-Bresson; Gary Winnogrand; Fan Ho and so on. Some of the master photographers dedicated their entire lives to photographing on the street. They also acquired commercial clients who paid the bills.

The world of Henri Cartier- Bresson in the 1940's was desperate for pictures of a world that was little photographed. Its a very different story today. If you are going to express yourself publicly with your images, how are you going to stand out, how are you different? Can you make viewers feel something? Sometimes all it takes is to tell yourself to "do something different" as you stand there with your camera. And sometimes the best thing is to not move at all and allow life to unfold around you. Capture that.



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