Tag Archives: bad-street-photography


Eyes wide open; Being aware

blink and you could miss it
I know I post a lot about cameras, but they are a bit of a thing for me, as you all know. Well, this time I thought I should post about something a bit different. Namely spatial awareness. Yeah, I know, keep it about the cameras, but I really feel that I need to talk about this subject.
I think that it is important for you as a photographer to be spatially aware, perhaps more so that the average person. As a street photographer you have a certain responsibility to document the things that are around you and you cannot do this if you are not aware of your surroundings.
I get immensely frustrated when I am out walking and people bump into me or just stop where they are going without thinking. I think as a photographer you may find yourself becoming hyperaware of everything that is around you, and often how it is going to affect your course of action.

This man was looking at his phone, as a consequence he was eaten by an escaped tiger
I honestly believe that the mobile phone is responsible for the dumbing down of society as a whole, as people are more content to look into this screen that they are to look around them. This is good and bad for you if you are not one of the terminally addicted too. This is good in that it can give you the advantage of not being seen and can get you some interesting subject matter. the disadvantage of this is that you can often find yourself being the one that gets bumped into. People are becoming less aware of their surroundings as they become more engrossed in the gadgets they have in their pocket.

They never found this poor mans face. Next time he will be more careful
One of the biggest things that I noticed when I was teaching the workshop was that I was frequently telling the students to look. Now I am also guilty of not looking properly, but I am pretty good. You have to train yourself to look, to be aware. When you are out, even if you are not shooting you should be looking. Make sure you take the time to be aware of your surroundings, look around and see things. Pride yourself in seeing the things that others do not. After all, you are not going to be much cop as a photographer if you are not looking. It will not happen overnight, but you will find yourself seeing then things that you missed before.
Keep looking, keep searching and keep shooting.


5 simple ideas for street photography

Street photography doesn’t have to be a battle
Recently there has been a lot of talk about what is good street photography and what constitutes invasion of privacy, especially in light of the video by Fabio Pirez. The video, which he has now taken down showed Pirez jumping in the face of people on the street in London. To me, this is not street photography it is more like assault. When I saw his attitude I was reminded of the video from the riots last month when the rioters mugged the injured boy on the street.

For me this is not what street photography is all about. Street photography is about documenting a moment without overly influencing it or changing the course of the action. This may not be what street photography is for everyone, but this is what it means to me.

So, as a reaction to what was happening I decided to write a little piece about what I would consider to be common sense rules or ideas for shooting on the street. Not everyone will agree with them, I don’t expect them to, but they should be straightforward enough that you can take at least a couple of them away.
So, here goes….

1. Manners maketh the man
Just because you are an edgy street photographer doesn’t mean you have to be a ill-mannered imbecile. Did your mother never teach you your P’s and Q’s? Many situations that may be getting a bit feisty can often be diffused with a smile and a “thank you”. I am not suggesting the you be obsequious, but saying thanks to your subjects can help you a lot, and you might get some brilliant portraits if you ask.

2. Look where you are bloody going
Look where you are going. This may sounds obvious, but you can easily get in peoples way by being a street photographer. Keep an eye on where you are going and watch where the situation is going. Trying to predict what will happen is impossible, but you should be able to get enough of an idea from experience to see where things might go.

3. Be prepared
The boy scouts were not wrong, make sure you are prepared. That doesn’t just mean keeping a pack of sammiches in your bag (but it does help), looking after your gear, making sure it is working is vital. Keep spare batteries, film, business cards, a notebook, memory cards and anything else you might need. Oh, and a bottle of water might be a good idea too, a dehydrated photographer is bloody useless.

5. Get out there
A biggie, get out there. By this I mean that you should be going out and putting yourself in the firing line, it is no good staying at home everyday and surfing the net, you need to be taking pictures. If you are going to the same place everyday then you need to be finding something about that place that you can maybe use in a project.

6. Open your eyes
This is something that we are all guilty of, but we should all look a little bit more. Be aware of your surroundings. You don’t have to run around with a camera all of the time, sometimes you can stop and watch. Grab a coffee or something, watch and learn, you might even find out something interesting about light spots or characters.

Everyone has their own rules, these are just ones that work for me. If you have rules that work for you then let us know, it is always interesting to hear what works for others. Come on, don’t be shy.



Street photography – This is how it shouldn’t be done

Update—–He has now removed the video without making comment. I guess he wasn’t really prepared to take the heat. 


This has been discussed on a number of other blogs(here, here and here), and seems to be doing the rounds on twitter as well, but I thought I should chuck my hat in the ring for the sake of posterity, and because this guy really pisses me off.
I like street photography, I consider myself in some parts to be a street photographer (though some might beg to differ), but seeing people like Fabio Pires “working” makes me embarrassed that people would associate street photography with this.
Pires is not a street photographer, he is a thug with a camera, who just happens to be on the street. His swagger and demeanor suggests that he has little or no respect at all for his subject matter, and his pictures really show that, with little or not thought given to content or composition.

Pires claims that he looks for ‘different’ people but it seems like the only ‘different’ people that he is able to see are the homeless and ethnic minorities, perhaps if he opened his eyes and held his camera properly he would find that London has some of the most interesting characters of anywhere in the world.

One of the funniest parts of this video, if you could call it that, maybe sad would be more appropriate is that he compares himself to Gilden, a legendary street photographer, and then says he is more of a perfectionist than Gilden….Yeah, ok. Gilden spent years perfecting a style that is all of his own, he has an ability to bring out certain aspects of peoples characters through his work, and in terms of technique, he is excellent.

Street photography has taken a beating over the years, nowhere more so than the UK, where it seems that even having a camera on the street labels you as a pedo or a terrorist, and this idiot has done nothing to help that.
An important aspect of street photography is being able to interact with your surroundings and with the people that you come across, and in some cases to disarm them, with a cheeky grin or a charming “thank you”. Something which I did not see him do once.

I post this video for educational purposes, things you should not do when taking street photos. Watch, learn and then go out and take some real pictures.
Right, I am off to watch some Gilden and some Koudelka, real photographers, who can take pictures that make you heart beat and your soul jump.