Street Photography, A Growing Passion

I love street photography. I love good street photography. What street captures that no other genre of photography can touch are those everyday moments that are so commonplace that we take ‘em for granted, and are so fleeting that we miss ‘em entirely. Street photography is a self-portrait of the world as it is today. Photographer Robert Doisneau said it well, “The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

Here are some great street photos:

“Rat” and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington (1983) by Mary Ellen Mark
“Trolley—New Orleans” (1955) by Robert Frank
“9-11-01” (2001) by Matt Weber
“Miami Beach” (2023) by⁠ Melissa O’Shaughnessy
“Fallen Man in Paris” (1967) by Joel Meyerowitz

Gorgeous pictures, and there are hundreds and thousands on this same level floating around in the world. It’s difficult for me to look at these powerful images and not want to try my hand at shooting street; I mean, I live in a densely populated area, I carry a camera (my phone) around with me everywhere, and I love the act of creating. And there’s no pressure because while truly great photographs look amazing in the present moment, mediocre images can still become interesting as time passes and they become lauded for rare angles of a bygone era.

So lately I’ve been out and about snapping around town nearly every day, with my main objective to learn – learn to find the right perspectives, learn to curate outputs, learn to edit while still preserving, learn the ethics of publishing. But also, learn to not second guess myself, learn to not beat myself up, learn that good photography isn’t easy. There’s a quote from Ira Glass that every creative person should have saved somewhere accessible:

In terms of that concept of taste, I’m still investigating what type of street photos I feel comfortable shooting. It’s not a question of legality, it’s all legal on the street, but it’s about exploitation. The commodification of misery does not interest me, but living in downtown Los Angeles, it’s the reality of the situation that misery is on every street corner. And I want to depict the world as it is, but not if it means making a sad subject my primary subject. I think for now I’ll use this as an opportunity to look past the obvious in search of deeper scenes of love, absurdity, and style. As I shoot more, I’ll home in on a precise credo for how I carry myself while working, and in the meantime I’ll just do my best and learn from my inevitable mistakes.

Starting right now I’m going to hold myself accountable and package my favorite photos into blog posts. I can’t promise how many photos will be in a post, but I think I’ll try to publish once a month or so. I’ve got another photo series where I document DTLA as it is around me, and I’m considering uniting these two endeavors into a specific project.

One thing I do know for sure is that everything I publish isn’t gonna be stuff I stand by in the long-term, because I know my work must be bad before it’s gonna be good; that’s the trajectory of becoming skillful at a craft. With everything I’m doing, I just hope that the version of me that exists in ten years can look back and be happy.

Currency (2024)
The Evolution of Man (2024)
High Court (2024)
Front to Back (2024)
In Passing (2024)
Sun Bathe (2024)

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