Street Portraits

I admire Tatsuo Suzuki’s work but I could never make photos like his. It takes a lot of nerve to go up to a person, stick your camera in his face and then walk away.  I’d need  courage and  a shield of invincibility.  But that’s not me and my camera doesn’t have that option.

There are many types of street photography. I like those with narratives about people and place. When I go on a photo walk it’s an exploration.   It begins with a bit of observation and ends with  the business of taking photos. Environmental shots are good.  They talk about the place and people in it.  For these photos I take the sneak shot.

Workers's day off
Migrant workers day off

Other times, I engage with individuals. The barriers to engagement are usually more internal than external.  Once as a part of group exercise, I was challenged to get more rejections than accepts during an hour of street photos. It was an easy fail.

But engaging with strangers can be daunting. It begins with lowering the camera and seeing a person.  I look at their face, their mood and their place in setting.  I lock into their eyes and connect. Words come after. When language is a barrier, they may never come at all. Almost always though, the picture is worth it.

Food stall owner and son

I used to shoot for the one great shot, the one that captured the moment. But after many not-so-great shots,  I’ve realized that some narratives are more than one moment. Some narratives are more than one shot.

And sometimes, there is just too much narrative in a single photo.


This particular collection of photos speak to me.  They remind me of my time in Singapore and the people there. When I look at these photos they each tell two stories.  The story I remember when I took the photo. The story I imagine as I look at them again.

Photos taken in Singapore, 2017

3 Comments

    1. I don’t know what’s worse – missing the capture or catching it but having it out of focus. The former I can forget. The latter I’m reminded of what could have been 🙂

      Like

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