Learning from the streets

Mar. 26, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

This past Saturday I got up early and headed out to meet the rising sun with camera in hand.

I had no set goal in mind for the day's jaunt, just the knowledge that I wanted to keep on the look out, for anything interesting to photograph along the way.

Over the past two weeks I have spent many hours educating myself on numerous aspects of photography.

From the history of it's development through the evolution of approach to specific photographers that I'm starting to really admire and learn from; now more than ever, I find myself an absorbent sponge soaking up all I can for photography.

Having completed a similar endeavor in the past for art, the time was long over due for me to give photography it's deserved attention.

I have began to develop a strong attraction and respect for the art of social documentary photography which in brief, is the recording of humans in their natural condition with a camera.

Often intended to spotlight and bring awareness to the lives of the underprivileged or disadvantaged, this type of photography strives to leave the viewer emotionally affected for having seen the photograph.

It also has a lighter, less "issue focused" sub-style often referred to as street photography.

Street Photography also features the human condition but always within public places and not necessarily in a street or urban environment.

This more "candid", yet though out, recording of what the times are like, right now, is accomplished by photographing total strangers, usually without their consent, going about their daily lives.

The street photographer looks to make images that also display the emotions of the subject while leaving a striking impact on the viewer.

The particular approach, which has roots to the very early days of photography, serves a big part, in what eventually became photojournalism.

Although I have never attempted street photography in it's full approach, I have discovered now from where my learned style of photographing people does draw much inspiration.

The coverage of story driven assignments combined with shooting those unplanned spontaneous moments in the field has, unbeknownst to me, shaped a true passion for this particular style of visual storytelling.

After making my way around Rutherfordton on foot for an hour, I hopped back in the car and headed for Spindale.

Here's where the highlight of the day happened.

I came upon two young men outside of the Spindale House.

The two each had headphones in their ears and were singing along in a hip-hop style to the beats coming from them.

I approached with a smile and introduced myself.

They politely gestured to shake my hand and our initial contact began. I told them who I was and that I was just out enjoying the day taking photos.

They told me, they were both waiting on their ride that was picking them up to take them to a local recording studio.

Hearing this, impressed me very much as did the attitude and demeanor of the young men, who's names were Tydray Smith and Jordan Boyce.

With that, I calmly asked if they would mind if I took a few photos of them while they waited.

Nervously they accepted and after a few seconds of standing still, they began to ease comfortably back into their previous singing.

The entire shoot only lasted a couple of minutes and I took eleven photos in all. I wanted nothing posed, just the honest natural image of who these boys were.

With frames seven and eight, I found that.

Knowing I had something that both they and myself could be proud of, I thanked them for the opportunity and also wrote down their email addresses so I could send them a link to the photos online.

Meeting Tydray and Jordan was truly the highlight of my day and I do hope that they somehow get to see the photos I took.

As I see it, photography of this sort is not really for myself but more for the individual I am photographing.

It is a memory and record for them to enjoy and hopefully admire for years to come.

This is a powerful thing, that I am now starting to relearn about photography, and an important part of why I'm thankful and honored to be able to have the opportunity to share my photography with others.


Images taken during the my day's adventrue around the county can be found HERE.