The More I Practice, The Luckier I Get

Street photography is for the select few, everyone doesn't find it interesting to look at, and although it's seems popular today, I assume not many people dive into the genre as a profession. It's not a very lucrative job, it's more of a hobby, but usually for the passionate. I first came across this style of photography after a Bruce Weber exhibition that was held at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It was primarily based on fashion, but I was amazed by the way he captured certain individuals, the images looked so candid. This inspired me to Google "candid black and white photography", a very vague search, but the first view pages resulted in tips on street photography.

I spent all night looking at the search results, page, after page, after page. If any website mentioned a name, I'd type that name into my search engine. This lasted for weeks. Initially the task seemed easy, shoot pictures of people on the streets... But as I read further I started to realize the task itself was quite difficult. I begin to feel as if I wasn't ready, even though weeks before that I felt like I could be the best there was. Once I started to feel that level of uncertainty my natural instinct was to continue reading, to research more and learn as much as I could.

In came Eric Kim's street photography blog. Talk about content! I spent hours on his site, looking at every blog post. I was lucky enough to have a job in which I could sit on the computer for 8 hours a day, so that's exactly what I did. It wasn't long before Eric started to contradict himself, something that caused me to doubt his initial teachings (I now understand that there is no way to not contradict yourself when blogging about street photography or teaching as your learn). One day he'll tell you to shoot from the hip, then the next he'd give you 10 reasons not to (I also learned that there will always be reasons to and not to do something). It was confusing, especially since I had yet to try the actual practice of shooting people on the street. I had been on walks with my friends before shooting candid images, but never outside to do so on my on. That summer in August I had decided to stop reading about street photography and actually go do it, long story short, it didn't go so well.

My images sucked, they were nothing like the greats, they didn't tell any stories (although I did like one). My edits, they were shit, none of them were consistent, some were high contrast, others were more of a sepia, it was an awful body of work, but it was the best learning experience I've ever had.

There's nothing like getting out there and actually experiencing things for yourself. You can read about exposure compensation and framing all you want, but it's a different ball game when it's actually time to put those elements all together in one photograph. My biggest issues were nothing in which I read about, I was out there shooting manual, trying to expose for every single area I was in, only to realize I missed the frame when I finally set my camera up for the shot. I had a hard time finding people, so I walked and walked and walked.

It took failing for me to actually learn. That's why I started to document my experience because each time I fucked up I had a story to tell. If I sucked on Monday, I would ensure I didn't make those same mistakes on Tuesday. I didn't spend time reading, I spent time solving problems.

My goal, never to become the greatest street photographer of all time, but to perhaps inspire the greatest. It's been almost a year now, and a few people enjoy the content I post here. I've had people tell me my work really inspires them, that makes me smile. I've also had people tell me my work is complete shit, usually the latter of the two is the most popular opinion. However, I realized the more I practice, the luckier I get.