Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Challenges of Street Photography

Ever since I discovered Walker Evans' photographs of people on New York subways, I've been interested in street photography. Evans rigged up a secret camera inside his shirt so that his subjects didn't know they were being photographed. It's a hugely interesting voyeuristic experience looking at these people, lost in their own heads. I've featured a couple of my favourite images from this series above.
When I was in New York recently, I longed for Walker's Secret Camera. I spent my days trawling up & down Fifth Avenue oggling at the street life whilst fumbling with my camera. It was quite a feat to keep my fake fur hat from falling into my eyes, hold my gloves & adjust the zoom all at the same time. I was constantly fearful that someone would come up & accuse me of invading their privacy, & knock my Canon to the ground. Fortunately that never happened. Most people seemed oblivious to the fact that they were being photographed, probably because I mostly only managed to snap them from behind; so unless they had eyes in the back of their heads, they wouldn't have noticed.
I was desperate to photograph really stylish or interesting looking women swathed in designer clothes striding confidently into Bergdofs or Prada. Instead I got more of a Mixed Bag. But isn't that just Life?

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