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Monday, 16 June 2014

Being Brave Will Open New Doors

One of the most frequent questions I am asked about street portraits is how do I go about asking, there are a few more posts in this blog that covers this but I will explain the easiest/hardest part.

Its a case of simply being brave, or as I used to say growing some balls.

Many people can and do take candid shots, myself included but there is always something missing, that is a personal connection between the photographer and the subject. No matter how you try you will never get that from a candid shot, you have not spoken to them, you know really nothing of them apart from they passed you by.

You can only achieve that connection by stopping them and talking with them. When you do you find so much out it enlightens both your day and theirs, this will be reflected in the image, they are looking at you, they are making eye contact and therefor making eye contact with the audience of the image. That moment of contact you have with the subject is passed onto the viewer. Nothing will draw an audience into your shot more than a feeling that being part of it, some of the more powerful shots do just that and that's the reason they work so well.

But it does not come easy, you have to be able to make that first contact and be prepared for rejection but rejection I have found is far and few between and all the contacts you make far outweigh the no's.

So sometimes its a case of taking a deep breath and stride forward and just do it, I can guarantee the first time will be the worse, the more you do it the easier and more comfortable it becomes. I also guarantee that it will open new doors and you will make so many new friends, even if it is briefly.

Take this shot, I was walking through Liverpool and he walked past with his wife, I turned and gently tapped him on his shoulder and said excuse me but I just love the way you look. From that point on I went on to have a conversation with John and his wife, he is 59 years old, not only with multiple piercings but covered in tattoos with his Keith Flint hairstyle. I asked if he had been an old school punk such as myself as there is only 6 years between us, to my amazement he said no, three years ago he just decided he wanted to be different and set out altering his body.

Now that simply made my day, we all talked for a little while longer and I asked if I could take his portrait. The eye contact, that very slight smile and his body adornments just made this image for me.

Step out of your comfort zone and go make a friend even if it is only briefly.

1 comment:

barbara cecelia said...

When I first started taking photos in earnest I too shook in my shoes as I approached folks for their photos or to take a photo of their farm, etc. Eventually a whole new world unfolded with each new contact. And yes these contacts are usually warm and friendly -- leaving a good feeling as you walk away.