Street Photography – How Did I Get Here?

New York City, USA

New York City, USA

I have enjoyed taking photos for a number of years. It was probably 15 years ago when I started getting more serious about the hobby. Being ‘serious’ about this hobby can have a w-i-d-e range of meanings. For me it meant that I starting thinking about my photos before I pulled the trigger. I started to envision what the photo might look like before I took it. This naturally led to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). After collecting and moving up the camera pyramid to more and more complex cameras I found that I started to shoot more and more. As a side note – It is funny how things change, because I value shooting with a simple, rangefinder more than any other camera now.

New York City, USA

New York City, USA

As I got more into the gear, which I caution is not a healthy habit, I started shooting the obvious things in front of me first, vacations, family gatherings and special events like birthdays or sporting events. My philosophy at the the time was kind of a gatling gun approach to photography, if it was in front of the lens I shot it, not just once but two dozen times for each scene.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

The more I shot, the more time I spent in post production. As I started to review my photographs it became clear where my camera was pointed most of the time, the streets. I am an urban dweller, I always have been and probably always will be. Having the city as the backdrop was fun and challenging. I liked the constantly changing style of the streets, the fast action and the stories of the people. Some of the stories seemed perfectly clear while others were a total mystery. The fun thing is that as the viewer you get to decide what the story might be.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Before reaching this point in my hobby I spent some time shooting weddings, this was not fun. This moved into shooting way too many corporate events which was useful for learning my gear and being able to predict the next shot, but it was utterly boring. Then came portraiture, not much fun here either. I got sucked into the micro-stock world of product photography for a few years, made enough money to pay for some gear, but it was far too technical to enjoy. I’m thankful that I went through all of these phases as each one had its challenges and taught me a great deal about my technique and gear, but I felt no passion about shooting in any of these environments.

Jump back to today and I *think* I have figured two things out: I am passionate about street photography and my gear has become less sophisticated and more targeted in its functionality. A nice sensor, a fixed lens and a small form-factor is my preferred tool now.

Paris, France

Paris, France

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

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