Who says street photography has to be on the streets or that it has to be in black and white? I guess we are conditioned to black and white images of people from urban areas as being real street photography. The reason for this is probably because the invention of photography coincided with the beginning of urban areas in the early 20th century. Naturally, photographs from the streets of these areas begin to emerge. The early photographers did not have the film and camera choices we have today. I would say black and white film was widely used due to availability. This is probably the main reason for seeing so many black and white images. Personally, I lean toward black and white. I think black and white street images, if captured appropriately, can be better for your subjects. It can also give the photograph a timeless look. Color can actually be a distraction that takes away from your subject. With that said, there can be times when a color image works quiet well.
Another key argument regarding street photography is defining what is street photography? Is it candid or not? Does it have to have people? The list of questions goes on. I only bring this up because this post continues by Face to Face street photography series where I’m actually asking people for their portrait. I personally don’t call this street photography. Street portraits would be a better name. So it looks like I have broken two traditional street photography rules. One, the images are not candid and secondly, they are in color. Actually I broke a third rule. The shots in this post are not on the streets.
I’ll set this first shot up very briefly. If you want to read more about my encounter with Tabitha and Jade, read my Today’s a New Day post. That post showcases my digital landscape shots at the Narrows of the Harpeth State Park along with some digital candid shots of the two girls. I arrived at the park at dawn. Shortly after getting my first shot with my Olympus E520 DSLR, Tabitha and Jade arrived. After a series of digital shots, I brought out my OM1 loaded with Ektar 100 and asked the girls for a portrait.
That morning was cool and quiet on the rock. The early morning light was beautiful. When the sun broke the horizon, the warmth of the sun’s rays kissed the edge of the cliff. You can see the golden rays on their faces. You’ll notice that Jade (white cap) is slightly out of focus. This is due to my compromise between shutter speed and aperture. I had to settle for a combination that would allowed me to take a handheld shot. The only other way to get them equally in focus would be to position them side by side on the same focus plane or to move to a position where they would be side by side. I did not want to interrupt their moment even more that I had already, so moving them was not an option. I also did not want to fall off the cliff to my immediate death, so positioning myself to get the shot was definitely not an option. Sometimes you just have to do the best with what you are given. Anyway, I still like the portrait.
Speaking of black and white street photography, I was on my way to Nashville early one morning to shoot the streets with some TRI-X in my OM1. My second OM1 had a roll of Ektar 100 loaded. The light was nice that morning, so I was taking my time getting to Nashville looking for anything that caught my eye. I decided to stop at the old red caboose in Thompson Station. I’ve shot in this area numerous times. I often go there to see if I can find different perspectives. I found a shot I liked and decided to use my DSLR to render an HDR image. After getting my shot, a gentleman approached me.
I had noticed this man walking with his cane toward my direction. It was obvious he was out for morning walk. I thought he was going to pass by when he came over to me and introduced himself as J.D. He asked if I lived around here and then begin to talk about the area and the railroad. It turns out J.D. is a lifetime resident of Thompson Station. He actually worked the railroad in the very yard we were standing. He’s a retired Yard Foreman with 54 years of service. For about 30 minutes, J.D. gave me a history lesson on Thompson Station often pointing his finger at houses and fields as he talked about buildings, businesses and families that have come and gone. He told me stories about racing cars with Maury County’s own NASCAR Star, Sterling Marlin. Later in our conversation, I found out that his kids graduated from my Alma mater. When J.D. mentioned that people around here called him Pumpkin, I had to asked how he got that name. It turns out when he was a young lad, he went to a pumpkin patch to get a pumpkin. J.D. picked the biggest pumpkin he could find. He did not have a cart or a vehicle which to load the pumpkin. J.D. had to carry, push and roll the pumpkin all the way home, often taking breaks. When he made it home, he was christened the name, Pumpkin. That nickname has stood the test of time.
I chose Ektar because of the colors. I thought the caboose would be appropriate for a backdrop, so I positioned J.D. accordingly. Meeting people like J.D. is one of the benefits of being out with my cameras. I guess standing behind a tripod makes you approachable and the fact people probably just want to know what you’re doing. Either way, it’s a treat to meet new faces and learn interesting things that you would have never known. Stay tuned for my next Ektar post! Thanks for reading!
Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!