My Street Photo Style : Directional concerns !!!
I am coming up to my 3rd anniversary of owning a camera. I gravitated to Street a long time ago, starting as usual with a 2000mm lens cowering behind a wall, in camouflage. I thankfully got over it fast and now primarily use a 50mm prime and my Nikon F80. I pretty much keep to the same north inner city area of Dublin, far from the grandeur and chic streets because these people for me have more character than plastic trophy wives sipping super skinny latte’s common in other areas.
I see now a new chapter emerging in my style, I suppose I call it in my head ‘street stories’ I have started to interface with people who interest me verbally etc, to get more from them (also adds to the adrenaline talking to some of these dubious folk). It gives me more background and I like story telling, I’m Irish after all!
I received an interesting comment from a friend that without the stories the pictures themselves do not stand up.
This has made me think a lot about where I seem to be heading, which is great. I am well aware everything is subjective but I would like some constructive criticism on the sample “Street Story” below and your thoughts. There are other stories if you delve into my account.
Many Thanks in advance.
The Story: : Dancing Dan’s Street Show.
I was walking past initially and there he was, not busking, dancing facing the wall, carrying his plastic shopping bag. His IPOD no doubt filling his head with the beat. Wearing powder blue jeans & jacket with a plastic Stetson in tiger strip colours….
So I got as close as I could without disturbing him and squeezed of a few shots and moved on…
About an hour later I was passing this way again and saw a huge crowd. It seems I had initially only caught “Dancing Dan” when he was warming up! The shopping bag was on the granite window ledge of the GPO and he was in fine fettle. Bumping, grinding and dirty dancing much to the amusement of the onlookers. Boy could this guy throw some moves, he was amazing, you didn’t even need to hear the music, him lost in his own little world.
Then I noticed a bunch of street people egging him on with pure Dublin humour “ go on ya fine thing” “ohh you’se are a bitch –riding yerself like that” “ ya dirty bollix” “wanna a f**cking ride do ya” “I’se bet you were someone’s bitch in de Joy” ( Mountjoy Prison known as De Joy to Dubliners)
I went over to catch a shot of the main heckler, who tagged me and we got talking, I retorted he couldn’t dance like that and then to prove me wrong, stoned as he was on something, off he went stealing Dan’s limelight. Then decided to take up a collection for him with a discarded paper coffee cup.
This broke Dan’s harmony and he stopped, waiting for the distraction to the main event, Him! To give up.
A moment in Dublin. A moment of public levity where all was forgotten thanks to dancing Dan.
Nikon f80, 50mm f1.4 D: Ilford HP5+ developed in XTOL. Saturday Afternoon, 20th February 2010
The Slide Show. http://www.flickr.com/photos/1311178...55691898/show/
These 'happenings' are fun, and it's great that you get in there and interact with them. Don't worry about what your friend said. I see no particular problem combining photography with a narrative, and a good editor can make the two work together delightfully. You could pick three images out of these and the narrative would provide the context and set the tone. I could see a magazine piece with three such stories, or even a book of short stories.
I've had a couple of remarkably similar happenings that I hosed down, just so I could select the three or four frames that supported the story.
So keep going, man.
I think where you're going is fine but I'd recommend some economy of both words and pictures. Maybe not even telling the whole story but just the key bits. I have the sense that there are too many photos, some of which add little, if anything, to the stream, and there is too much description of the event(s). I know you're Irish, but ..... :-)
What I envisaged is just a handful of the key photos (maybe only a 2-3 of the stronger images of Dan) accompanied by slimmed down text and presented in a self-published book like Blurb do for example, along with some of the other characters you come across.
There are photos in this series which would fit quite well into a series about "People on the Street" which, although not necessarily strong images in themselves nevertheless would sit well along side each other as a collection. Some of the shots of the people watching Dan or the "interloper" could stand this treatment and don't necessarily have to be linked to Dan's story.
Excellent photos & fabulous narrative, I really enjoyed reading it. It makes me feel almost like I'm there. To me, there's no need to slim down the text, but yes I agree with the above posters..there are too many photos. Select a key few, maybe not more than 10, that would support your story. Too much photos can detract from it, not add to it.
Agreed there are too many photos, especially at the beginning. However, I also agree a bit with your friend--sorry. I don't think it's very clear what's going on in most of these photos without your background info. The guy doesn't look like he's dancing as much as posing awkwardly. The quality of the photos is good, there are some nice crowd moments. I like this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1311178...n/photostream/, which also happens to look more like dancing (although Dan is blurred out).
I would also suggest greater DOF if the light allowed for it. For the one I linked above, I think it would have been even stronger if you could have seen Dan and the crowd reaction more clearly.
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and now a few years later ... having stumbled upon this thread (isn't the internet great?) ... I agree with some of what's been said. Distill to three or four images. Write a paragraph to accompany and voila, a bonafide photo-essay. I think Nancy has a point, too, in that a good shot that says "Dan-Dancing," in an immediately-accessible way, is lacking from the series. Some good shots of him in awkward postures but nothing that immediately speaks dancing. Everything else is there and in spades. I wouldn't mind seeing what you've done more recently (and maybe I'll give a look around).