Impulsive Portrait, Kensington, London
There is, in my opinion, a misunderstanding about a photograph. It seems to be viewed as some version of a permanent present. The problem with that is that a street photograph is my version of my present, when it was my present, which could be 2 seconds or 2 years ago.
It is (was) also the person I am photographing’s present, and as I tend to go for non-composed, impulsive, decisive shots, I think it is more them than a portrait could ever be - therefore, something happened, I captured it and turned it into something else. It is (was) a present, in some way.
I have singled out one, or possibly many, people – and put them all in a frame. As such, I think that there is no argument in saying ‘the photograph is not what was photographed, it’s something else’. Life is not really framed, nor is it in black and white. We don’t see life in 1/1000 of a second or thereabouts, as we perceive time as linear.
In my opinion, with photography we got closer to accurately documenting reality. With street we are as close to documenting reality as we could ever be. The problem with documenting reality is that reality is subjective.
To end, as I am sure you are busy, don’t care or have other pictures to look at: quite possibly street is the least prejudiced of all the photographic genres. It is not completely innocent, of course, as it relies on my intention to go out and photograph people. I select who I want to take a picture of, and from that I go through a selection process which normally is according to typical photographic conventions (which in themselves are pretty universal). But I never know who those people will be, who they are or what they were doing outside that day. If I capture them and they don’t notice, that’s grand. If nobody shouts at me, that’s even better.
I suppose that one way to look at this is that street photography is like fairy tales or fables; it tells a story of reality, one version of seeing the world. It normally has a message. It’s just up to you to decide how real it is and how much you want to believe it.