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The Streets of New York (nybooks.com)
33 points by prismatic 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments



Thanks for sharing! As an amateur street photographer myself, this really resonated with me. I've found that street photography can be extremely unforgiving but the drive to capture and understand urban life is addictive. Would love to hear other peoples' experiences with how to be more successful at street photography!


This might be obvious to those more experienced than me, but when I go out with some goal photo in mind (I was in Kyoto recently and wanted to get one of the standard shots [1] of the narrow alleys with tons of textures and lighting), I'm never satisfied. My favorite shots I've gotten have been when I'm just wandering and stumble across some street art or interesting angle and just try to capture it. So I love looking at others' street photography and it's by far my favorite type of photography, but I don't try to recreate shots I've seen before.

I also try to take photos of a moment in time, like right after meeting a new friend in Japan, and while it's not a great photo, it means a lot to me and captures a feeling I had then.

[1] https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0f/17/cb/c6/...


Really it's all about pounding the pavement. You have to be monastic, slogging through poor weather and always being on point with your surroundings -- enjoying those good days out there. It's hard and unforgiving -- you'll go whole months without making a single decent photograph, thousands of wasted frames all for that single moment when the entropy of the street arranges itself well.

Of course then you get the inverse of that -- people like Nikos Economopoulos -- who argue that street photography is already hard so why make it harder and go outside when the light is poor? It's all about finding your drive -- why are you out there doing it?

Daniel Arnold has a quote recently where he said: "I don't know. I don't know what it's worth. I don't know if there's a purpose to any of this work. Certainly, there's a great argument to be made that walking around the street all day looking at things and pressing a button is a stupid use of my life, but my life doesn't feel stupid. It feels full." I think that's the head space you have to get in as you continue to press and develop your skills and vision. Keep picking new things to work on as well -- I like to make achievements like: I want to make a good photograph where you can feel the congestion of overtourism, then keeping that feeling in mind (along with dozens of other things) go out and try to achieve that. On the inverse sometimes things just align and all you have to do is press the shutter and you aren't sure why, but the photograph is gorgeous.

Last thing of course is to study photographs of the masters. Find the sub-genre that sticks with you. The painterly Henri-Cartier Bresson, the facts clearly describe of Garry Winogrand, the ethereal loneliness of Josef Koudelka, the emotional connection with the mundane of Henry Wessel, the color pallets of Saul Leiter, the elaborate colors of Nikos Economopoulos or the raw grit of Richard Sandler. It's all out there to be studied and to try to emulate while you make your way.

Good luck in your street photography journey. If you have an instagram please share it and I'll give you a follow. Always nice to find other photographers out there putting in the work.


great advice - thank you! I think my biggest issue is patience, so I'm working on that slowly (using film as a medium has helped). my instagram is @agastya.mondal - would love to see your work as well!




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