Recently I took a one-day course on street photography, held at Belfast Exposed. My motivation was that while I learned how to use a camera 30 years ago (printing from black and white film shot in a Canon AE1 Program), I have been wanting to go beyond taking competent publicity shots and colourful tourist scenes.
I was intrigued by street photography, particularly about approaching strangers.
One of the first things we learnt was that you don’t have to ask for their permission! Okay, but then how do you go about this?
Chris Barr was our tutor and was very friendly and approachable. In a concise yet comprehensive overview of street photography, he gave good practice examples of others’ work. At one end there are the carefully prepared scenes where the photographer has a planned vision to convey. At the other end are the totally candid situations where often the image is grabbed immediately.
We focused on the this latter approach.
Bruce Gilden is a well know street photographer, and he does not hesistate when he’s at work:
Meanwhile, the following video we watched examined the legal dimension of public street photography. In the United Kingdom, essentially if you are on public property, you are entitled to take photos of pretty much anything you want. I would generally cooperate with a police officer’s advice, but I’ve always known that they can’t compel you to delete any image or hand over any equipment (unless they are actually arresting you). It’s the private security sector that isn’t as well informed:
So, armed with all this knowledge and excitement, Chris led us out on a particularly wet day to several venues: St George’s Market, Belfast City Hall, Castlecourt Mall, Smithfield Market, the Tavern Bar (Union Street), and finally a tour through the University of Ulster Belfast campus, where we reviewed some current students’ work.
I very much enjoyed the experience. I was so anxious at the start. Chris gave encouragement, and I was able to keep calm and soon found my stride. This was definitely not something I would have ventured on, on my own. I highly recommend this course and Chris’ tutelage!
I look forward to meeting up with some new street photographers, those from the course and others in Belfast and further afield.
Here are a few of my images from my journey (slideshow of all at end). All taken with an iPhone 4S. The phone’s discreetness provides a noticeable advantage. Shortcoming is autofocus lag.
Original post: http://mrulster.org/mr-ulster-learns-street-photography
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