I'm to the point now where I get 2-3 emails per day regarding street photography. The majority of them thank me for documenting my journey, a nice chunk of them are questions about gear as well, but every now and then, I'll get an email about someone who struggles within street photography. The issue always results around not being able to get the shot, many seek help, but some people flat out tell me they just don't think this style of photography is for them. Street photography is too calculated and they don't have the eye... Or the proper camera... Or lens. The truth is, none of that shit matters... The only thing that matters in street photography is how bad you want it.
In photography you have to stay motivated and more importantly have a positive attitude. Here's some food for thought for those moments when you feel like saying fuck it... I quit.
Learn From Your Mistakes
That's what this blog is in a nutshell. A big documentation of the mistakes I made and then a follow-up post later on how I overcame them. Street photography doesn't have a blueprint, there's no way to master it, so never try to. The better approach is to just overcome one obstacle at a time. My biggest issue early on was gaining enough courage to actually take the picture. I had self-doubt, I was afraid of the outcome more so than I was excited about the results. It took me a short time to overcome this, but once I did I noticed with each new photo walk I encountered a new problem. It was all about baby steps.
I still implement this today. With vlogging I find that I run into a new issue every day, and though it can be frustrating, I realize that every time I go out and do it I'm likely getting better. The truth is you're never going to stop running into problems, but if you're aware of your mistakes and you make a mental note to not make them twice then you'll be one step closer to becoming better than you were yesterday.
Stop Being So Hard On Yourself
After my first few months of shooting I remember beating myself up... Like bad. I was out on the streets every day and the progress just wasn't significant enough. I was ready to call it quits... like seriously. I put in work and I wanted results... Street photography doesn't work like that.
It's hard and the people you likely admire have been shooting for a decade or two. It's definitely not a sprint. As stated above there is no blueprint, there is no mastery, so just go out there and keep shooting. I've been shooting for 18 months and I still don't have one picture I consider publishable, so remember that the next time you're ready to give up.
Your Idol Sucks
That's right... The person you look up to, they suck. I don't care if it's Bruce Gilden, Martin Parr or Cartier-Bresson himself. THEY SUCK TOO! Every photo they take isn't a keeper, they're just like everybody else... They only share their best work. Don't you think Bruce Gilden gets shitty photographs? His shooting style is worse than mine. How is he so beloved? Because he's consistent.
These individuals take a lot of photographs, so they have a shit to choose from... You can't quit now, you have to dedicate your life to this, your free time, this has to be your passion. This doesn't mean you have to shoot everyday, but when you do, make it count.
If You Still Feel Like Quitting...
People give me flack all the time for failing. I failed at freelance photography, I failed at videography... The truth is I didn't fail, I just tried those things and didn't like them. There's a difference between passion and interest. Those things above, freelancing, videography... I was interested in them. I like the idea of making money with my camera, I enjoy watching great videos... Thus I thought I'd enjoy creating them.
It's okay to TRY something. People will call you a quitter, but the only way to know if something is a passion or simply an interest is to go for it.
If you're passionate about street photography then never give up, but if you simply enjoy looking at street photography more than you do creating it then it's okay to call it quits... As long as you tried then you can't consider it a failure. Don't live life with the "I-could-have-been" mindset... Live life with the "I-tried-to" mindset, I believe Nikki Giovanni said something along those lines.