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February 11, 2012
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The street photographer – a schizophrenic, scientific serial killer?

Two things made me think of this connection – a documentary which covered the various types of killers: those who kill from afar (by bombs or by shooting with a hunting rifle) the closer kill, such as a pistol shot, and the close up killer who enjoy watching the victims face as he thrusts the knife in.

The best street shooters are the latter, they want to smell the perfume and see the facial expression before they shoot.

One of the many symptoms of schizophrenia is being captivated by details. Some drugs mimic this, hence the stereotype of the spaced out hippy contemplating a flower.

This is also a characteristic of the street photographer. We can be confronted by a mass of hundreds of people on a city street but we notice the small, unusual things – those two are about to kiss, that homeless person is wearing an expensive watch, that tattoo mimics the dress pattern.

But being able to see these things and then capture them is another thing.

An understanding of geometry, perspective, the rules of composition (and when to break them) is needed.

Then the often hugely complex operation of a modern camera, it seems you need a degree to work them! I've had my Nikon DSLR for over a year and am only coming to grips with all the functions, and it's not a 'top of the line' model. Life was simpler with my old Nikon F2 film camera!

A certain degree of fearless is also needed. If I had a dollar for every shot I missed due to not being able to put the camera up to my eye and shoot I would be rich. But the memory of these missed shots (the one that got away is always the best and biggest, same as fishing!) drives me to just shoot regardless of my fears. Also I've learned to not think too much. If there is the possibility of a good shot then just shoot!! The scene will evaporate in a fraction of a second, never to return.

But all that is still not enough.

Something, indefinable to me, needs to be present in the best. The "eye" is how best I could describe it or the "smell" of the streets.

An example, which doesn't include a photo but describes the concept: I was walking down a street in Asia many years ago. I saw an old woman beggar sitting on a piece of cardboard with a rusty can in her hand. I looked at her, she looked directly at me and I saw my mother's eyes! In that moment time froze and I had a deep appreciation of her situation and the realisation that it could easily be me there.

Of course, as well as the bleak scenes, there are the many joyful ones that celebrate our life on this crazy planet we call home. I prefer those nowadays.

Street photography is like a kind of meditation on life. Our senses are so finely concentrated on seeking out "the shot" that we forget about our mortgages, disappointments and the unfairness of the world.

I feel the same when I'm fishing, the two activities have similarities.

So why do we shoot street? We would all have different reasons - for some it's for ego, acceptance, to show their view of the world, a drive to create, to communicate.  For me it's like a meditation, as above, for fun and also when I pass I want my children and my children's children to be able to look at my photos and know that I was more than just a father or grandfather, that they can see my world through my eyes.

Why do you shoot street?

When you're in the right place at the right time and all the planets align you get a photo like this, still my favourite from dA:

Name of Image

What's your favourite?
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:iconcanankk:
Canankk Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Should I quit taking all my drugs Doug? :lol:
Wonderful article, I love it a lot! Thanks for sharing :hug:
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:icondougnz:
DougNZ Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Judging from your recent manipulations you must have a pretty good stash of drugs! :lol:
Reply
:iconcanankk:
Canankk Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Too late for drugs :whisper: but it is the right time for dementia :lol:
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:icondougnz:
DougNZ Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
pfff...you're only a baby ;-)
Reply
:iconcanankk:
Canankk Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
:rofl: Now I can go and sleep well :sleepy:
Reply
:iconmarius1956:
marius1956 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
So true!..and inspiring.Thanks,Doug.
Reply
:icondougnz:
DougNZ Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
:D thanks Marius
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:iconsplendidofsun:
splendidofsun Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
"Street photography is like a kind of meditation on life. Our senses are so finely concentrated on seeking out "the shot" that we forget about our mortgages, disappointments and the unfairness of the world." <-- This!!

I didn't know that whenever I go out on the street and take photos that I forgot my problems, my stressful condition, or anything. i just concentrate on the street, and after few minutes of walk, the smile comes back to my face, my mood becomes good again, etc.

Street photography for me as a beginner is the therapy. To my agoraphobia, I was very uncomfortable being out in public area, in a very crowded area. I was uncomfortable walking alone on the street, feels like everyone's staring at me (well, I still feel that way, but that might be because of my arabic-hindi face :doh). Street photography cured me.

For my eyes and brain, I'm still in training though, I try to see everything at once, sort out which is exciting, which I want to capture, and I have to take decision in an instant to take that photo.

And street photography makes me get to know more people, and interact with them, and learn from them.

Great article, Doug :tighthug:
Reply
:icondougnz:
DougNZ Featured By Owner May 6, 2012
Nice to hear Meutia :) Yes it can be therapeutic, the same as fishing - just relaxing and taking your mind off things.
Thanks for thr response :D
Reply
:iconsplendidofsun:
splendidofsun Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome :D

*:whisper: btw, I don't know if I like fishing or not, because it takes a lot of silent action, and since I am hyperactive, I might be fainting due to the boredom :giggle:*
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