I have learned a few things about shooting street photography on film from my own experiences (and the advice of others). If you want to read the full list of things I learned shooting film– read more!
Photos in this article are from my on-going “Only in America” series.
I’m currently reading a lovely book titled: “A Philosopher’s Notes: On optimal living, creating an authentically awesome life and other such goodness.” It is a easy and insightful read– and I have been savoring the book so far.
In one of the chapters, I stumbled upon “12 Scientifically Proven Ways to Have More Happiness in Life” via the book “The How of Happiness“. The list is as follows:
- Expressing Gratitude
- Cultivating Optimism
- Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
- Practicing Acts of Kindness
- Nurturing Social Relationships
- Developing Strategies for Coping
- Learning to Forgive
- Increasing Flow Experiences
- Savoring Life’s Joys
- Committing to Your Goals
- Practicing Religion and Spirituality
- Taking Care of Your Body
I found the list to echo everything in the self-help and philosophic literature I have read so far. And of course in the spirit of this blog– I wanted to link the concepts of happiness and street photography.
So how can you “scientifically” gain more happiness in street photography? Here are some ideas I glued together:
Sorry guys, it has been a while since I last updated my “Saigon Diary” series. A lot has happened since the last time we talked. During that time, I taught a week-long Saigon street photography workshop, I traveled to Malaysia and visited Pulau Bidong (a refugee camp where Cindy was born). I also took a week-long trip to Singapore, where I did a free talk for Fujifilm Singapore, did a 3-day weekend workshop, and now I am back home.
I am only in Saigon for another week and a half, then Cindy and I are heading to Hanoi for a weekend. Then after that, we are traveling to Seoul and Tokyo (teaching an intro workshop in Tokyo), then Cindy is heading home. After Cindy heads home, I’m teaching a workshop in Hong Kong with Gary Tyson, then teaching a workshop in Sydney and an intermediate/advanced workshop in Melbourne.
Not sure where I can update you guys– but will try to skip around with my thoughts.
Peter McCollough is a photographer based in Oakland, California.
Peter: The inspiration for these images is manifold but films would be at the root of it all. While going to school for photojournalism my idealistic intentions of doing something positive for the world through documentary work faded away for various reasons. I was naive. I knew I could excel in the industry, but at personal and artistic costs that made me realize I wasn’t a good fit for it.
I’m a person driven by dream logic and imagination, so it’s more comfortable to try and bend reality towards fiction. When I began using documentary images in edits that felt like fictional stories, I started having fun again. Street photography became a natural segway because it’s so much easier to project onto what you’re photographing. It’s a really free, non-committal genre, less complicated. Editing is a big deal. I’m way more attached to edits than individual images. It’s rare that an individual image moves me the way that a string of well placed images do.
My friend pointed me to a quote that sums up how I’ve always felt about it all:
“The only photojournalistic images that remain interesting are the ones that produce or evoke myths.”
I’d like to start by thanking everyone who joined our Streettogs Academy facebook page and giving a congratulations to everyone who participated in our first Assignment and props to Helio Tomita who got our Editor’s choice. We hope you learned something new from that assignment. As promised, our editor’s choice will be the one choosing the theme for our next assignment. Here are some of Helio’s thoughts in selecting our assignment:
I recently came upon this superb publication by IdeasTap and Magnum. In this magazine, there are exclusive interviews with 12 Magnum photographers– spanning from advice for young photographers, difficulties in photography, and their thoughts on technology. I included my favorite quotes from the magazine in the feature below, enjoy!
I recently had the pleasure of teaching a week-long travel street photography workshop in Saigon, Vietnam. It was seriously the time of a lifetime— I loved all the time I spent with all the students, and it was inspiring to see how much progress everyone made during the week. I also loved the sense of friendship and community that formed during the workshop— over talking about photography, eating great Vietnamese food, and (very) strong Vietnamese iced coffee.
It is an experience I will never forget— and to see the before/after of the students really brings me a lot of pleasure and happiness as a teacher. Check out their images below, and you can see my upcoming street photography workshops for 2014 and 2015.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ― Andy Warhol
As street photographers, I think we are all artists. We craft our version of reality from fragments from everyday life. We don’t just take photos– we make them.
In my art– I am quite insecure at times. I want to make great photographs– images that awe and inspire my audience. Whenever I upload an image that doesn’t get as many “favorites” or “likes” as other images I wonder to myself, “Perhaps that photograph wasn’t any good?”
Before we begin, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who participated in the first assignment of Streettogs Academy. We hope you continue to participate in the group and learn a thing or two about street photography I’m trying to see how I can better moderate the group to make it an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone.
So without further adieu, here are some of the best entries and our editor’s choice for our assignment.
Sharpness is over-rated in street photography. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”
I remember when I first saw one of HCB’s exhibitions in person in Paris, I was surprised by how soft most of his shots were. And many of his photos were significantly out of focus (thinking about the famous shot of the man in a bullfighter’s ring in Spain (above).
When I stated street photography, I was obsessed with sharpness. This of course, was due to all the nerds on gear forums who showed corner to corner sharpness tests on brick walls. I was suckered into thinking a sharp photo was a good photo.