The day I held the camera on the streets!

There are numerous genres in photography, and with the advancement in time,  we see a particular genre to evolve and differentiate into a new one. Photography perse still remains the same, but the approach to make a photograph has changed considerably in today’s day and age. With the invasion of technology in every segment of our life, we had to let go of the conventional ways of leading a life. Photography is no exception.

For people who don’t know me, I am predominantly a nature photographer. I have been doing photography passionately since quite a few years now and I have evolved. I would say, I have taken an opposite path in terms of what I have been photographing lately. I am doing a lot of street photography, mostly people. Street portraiture is something that got me interested.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/3.6 . 1/60″ . ISO 1600
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/4.0 . 1/640″ . ISO 320

Honestly, I was very uncomfortable photographing people on the streets. But as time goes by, I believe things change and the same has occurred to me.

Going further, the article portrays my experience and thought about photographing on the streets. My first advice for people who have just started street photography is to try and find ways to evade the fear that one has pointing a camera at unknown people. For starters, choose the right location. Going to places which are more camera-friendly would help one to get accustomed to the environment. It’s always comfortable for a newbie to go to a place and click, where people have a preconceived mindset of getting photographed publicly. Choose locations which are more tourist-centric like, maybe a local market, a place of historical importance etc.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/2.8 . 1/400″ . ISO 200
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @46.30mm . f/4.0 . 1/60″ . ISO 400

It was one of the Friday evenings, when I was planning for my shoot for the weekend. As I said, I was in the process of fighting my fear, and hence I had been searching for locations rigorously. I had heard of the KR Market in Bangalore in the past. I also knew that it was swarmed by photographers every weekend. So here it goes…

Man, the moment I got down the market road, the site was indeed overwhelming. For a moment, I actually thought to take my ride back! That’s how it began for me. I was reluctant at the very beginning, as a matter of fact, any person shall get intimidated with the huge number of people running around the market. Making up my mind I started loitering around the place and observing everything going around me.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/4.0 . 1/80″ . ISO 1000
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/8 . 1/160″ . ISO 400
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/4.0 . 1/800″ . ISO 500

Every moment, the heart would direct me to take my camera out, while the mind would counteract by being logical and calculating the probability of me getting beaten!

While I stepped inside the flower market, I saw a couple of photographers. I would rather say, it felt like a cold breeze on a hot sunny day amidst a desert. It was like finding your own kind in a distant remote land filled with Aliens (no offence intended), staring to pounce at you any moment. Man, did I love the sight of those guys! I was so looking forward to finding at least one, and Alas! I found two.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/3.6 . 1/100″ . ISO 160
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/5.6 . 1/80″ . ISO 640

Seeing the other two was like an adrenaline boost for me. The camera whizzed out of my bag like a shotgun! And the man was ready to burn some pixels. I did not need to meet them, their sheer presence was enough for me. I walked around the market like a confident photojournalist from some news channel. I believe that did show up on my face as well, because, any time I would try to point the camera, I would rather have more faces eager to get shot 😉 Minutes later, I had actually forgotten that I was alone, I was so engrossed in taking pictures and finding frames.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/5.0 . 1/125″ . ISO 1000
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/2.8 . 1/60″ . ISO 500

While I loved the experience, the start was indeed lucky since the photographers turned up, boosting my confidence. The above is just my experience and how I started. It’s just about my first day on the streets.

I would like to highlight a few pointers for beginners.

1. Things are always scary at the start, but don’t let that feeling deter you from achieving your primary objective.
2. I understand pointing a camera at random people is not an easy task, but then remember, they are the same as you are. The outcome of a situation can always be controlled by you.
3. Be polite and kind towards your subject. Never exploit their space.
4. Do not behave like a spy, be bold to take pictures and be frank on your demeanour.
5. Carrying a small or a big camera doesn’t make any difference (I have read and heard that small cameras are less intimidating). People know that you are taking pictures, (unless and until you have a hidden camera in your shirt button), if anybody has to object, he or she will.
6. Taking permission from the subject is not always advisable, you might not get the same expression or emotion later. Again, judge the situation.
7. Don’t be too held up on thinking whether or not to take the shot. It’s like batting on a cricket pitch, the delayed reaction leads to missing the shot. Your frames will improvise with time.
8. Know your trade, the above is just a genre of photography, and I have just talked about your approach to taking pictures in this genre. The basics of photography remain the same, be it any genre. The better you are at making images, the better frames you capture, be it any genre.

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/4.0 . 1/60″ . ISO 160
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/2.8 . 1/2000″ . ISO 320

I had always wanted to share my experience of the day I held my camera on the streets! However, I wanted to write this, once I gained enough experience as a street photographer. So here it goes. Do let me know if you like it.

Cheers!

Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/2.8 . 1/400″ . ISO 250
Fuji X-T30 . Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 @18mm . f/22 . 0.4″ . ISO 80

" My name is Kanishka Sarangi, an IT Consultant by profession, a photographer by heart. While technology interests me, photography keeps my heart pumping. I held my first camera at a very young age, I would often accompany my Late Grandfather in his passionate photographic endeavours. His love for photography passed on to me! I love capturing those special moments that take my breath away, be it a tiny jumping spider gazing on me, or a leopard limbering on a canopy. Being amidst nature is something that I admire the most, hence photographing it, is of utmost importance to me. With the drastic invasion of technology into our lives, we have forgotten the world we come from, the purity still survives in small patches. It’s my sincere endeavour to photograph and document what is left of it. Besides nature, I love photographing people. The smallest smiles, make the biggest pains go away!"

2 Comments

  1. Looking at the technical specs for the images that you posted here, you might think about a prime 18mm lens. You seem to favor that focal length, and the prime on your camera would give you a lower profile, which can be of value when photographing strangers.

    It was a good effort changing up from your normal area of photography.

  2. J’aime beaucoup ce que vous faites! Avec le temps et la pratique ce sera je pense très bon.Essayez une focale fixe 23mm ou 18 mm ou même avec de l’audace 14mm …
    Merci pour votre partage.

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