In this chapter, let us talk about the theoretical framework of becoming a badass street photographer, aka, a street Stoic.
What is Stoicism?
Stoicism is a philosophy that pre dates Christianity. Stoicism has been around for longer than 2,000 years.
The stoic philosophers to know include Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.
During 2,000 years ago, life was uncertain. People died all the time, from war, famine, disease, and political upheaval. They needed a philosophy that addressed the difficulty of living with confidence in an uncertain world.
Fast forward to today. We live in a much more stable world. Yet, many of us still live in fear.
Street photography is fucking scary. When you make a photo of a stranger, you are taking a risk. You have the risk of pissing them off, getting punched, or who knows, even beat up.
So how can you build a stoic armor against your fears in street photography? Let me share what has worked for me.
1. Learn how to take a punch
Typical scene from the movie Fight Club: learning not to be afraid of physical pain and taking a punch.
Today, we are weak. We have no spine. We are afraid of pain. We are made weak and flabby by luxury and this lust for comfort.
I think everyone, men and women, should learn how to take a punch. Why? When you do get punched, it actually isn’t so painful. I used to box in my garage with my friends at age 16 for fun, and got punched a lot and even knocked unconscious. It wasn’t that bad. Actually, a bit fun.
Of course I still get scared when I shoot street photography. But I get a lot less scared now than I did in the past. Why? Because I learned and trained myself to take a punch. Take a mental punch. An insult. Empty threats from subjects saying they will call the cops on me.