I had a few more days to shoot for my assignment, so I decided to carry on trying. I decided to use AF this time because I wanted to see if taking the pressure off focusing would allow me to think more about composition rather than the technicalities.
All in all, I felt indeed more relaxed; knowing that my photos were going to be in good focus, I felt much more confident and my attitude to the environment around me changed noticeably and I was able to enjoy shooting, which made a difference to the final result even though I still don’t like my pictures. Also, I find it annoying that they have to be in B&W, apart from a couple of pictures that look better without too many colours.
I don’t think street photography is my thing. I think I try to emulate what the great street photographers of the past have done, but I don’t think that that kind of photography is possible anymore – at least not like that, in the present times. I ask myself what street photography is and I can’t give myself a good answer. Frankly anything taken out of a studio, in the urban space is street photography to me and that is what I usually do anyway… I find that in many street photos there is often an element of comedy, or that something bitter-sweet, but I think that has more to do with the attitude of the photographer to life rather than photography itself.
Probably street photography is NOT how I see the world. I have never trained in a studio, I have no idea about lighting, and I’m not too keen on flowers, pets or babies: the streets are the only thing I have learned to photograph, so why I have the feeling that street photography is so alien to me?
I think it’s because I tend to exclude people in my pictures. While street photography is about the here-and-now, I like somewhere-in-time. Also, if I need to take pictures of people (which I discovered I rather enjoy after my first “Men at work” assignment) I like to get to know them first. I am very jealous of my private space and likewise I don’t like to invade someone else’s. I’d make an awful Paparazzo.
In any case though, I am very happy this assignment has taken me once again out of my comfort zone. I’ll keep on trying and who knows? I may get good at it someday…