Street Photography…and my damn Aries Moon

As much as I love taking Sagittarian-type road trips to look for images to photograph, it’s still pretty much a variation on the Mercurial theme of street photography…
Stopping the car, getting out, and pointing a lens at someone or something is a busy, but compelling sort of enterprise that I want to explore here by sharing some of my more successful images…
One of the things road trips can share with street photography is the sense of danger, since it can, and occasionally does, cause unpleasant confrontations…
landscapes only rarely get you into trouble, but leave it to me and my Aries Moon to change THAT…
I suppose I don’t get flustered when a state trooper pulls up behind me on a country road and checks out my ID and plates on his computer because I’m photographing some wheat field…but I DO find it ironic that taking photographs is considered a more suspicious activity than hunting…

Of course walking around town…any town…with a camera around your neck eliminates the business of stopping the car and attracting state troopers, but I find myself getting more and more gun shy as time goes by… And that’s something I want to change…
This image is from 1993, I think… I was pretty cheeky back then, and not so afraid of confrontation, but the people I pissed off never got in my face…even if they glared…
But THAT sure as hell changed!
I don’t consider this a great image, but as far as photographs go, it certainly captures an archetypal moment we’re all familiar with… something to do with Mars in Capricorn or Saturn in Aries, I’d say…

street photography

Chicago: an innocent street photograph c.1993

Despite my Aries Moon, I tend to dislike confrontations, but I know from experience that getting the kinds of images I really want will often provoke them.
This post on Eric Kim’s excellent blog
speaks to the heart of the matter as it addresses the fear of confrontation in street photography.
He offers some useful advice and encouragement, but there’s really no avoiding the fear.
Street photography just requires a hell of a lot of courage…even if the only bad thing that can happen is that you can piss somebody off, or get arrested, or have your equipment stolen, or get beat up…or even knifed…or maybe worst of all: lose your film.

I guess going digital changes that all important last part…
but it doesn’t eliminate the fear.

It also doesn’t change the risk and danger of the absolute worst thing, which is to never take the damn photo at all.
Even if it sucks, it’s still your vision…and you’ve got to keep working on getting that vision in the / a frame so that it doesn’t just not suck…but completely takes your breath away.
Because if you don’t keep trying, you’re just not being yourself.
I only wish I could be myself without all of that Aries business…

kristo

2 thoughts on “Street Photography…and my damn Aries Moon

  1. Hi Curtis,
    I like your take on this.. I’ve never thought about it, but I’ve experienced it as well while taking photos of policeman in Nepal. Its always a question of, if I piss him off, is he going to hit me with that stick.. or worse? I usually try and blend in enough that they don’t notice I’m taking the photos. But then again its not easy blending in when you’re a 6 foot tall white dude in Nepal.
    Post some more of your older film photos like this! I bet others would like to see them too.
    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Thanks, Mark…
      I really like showing and talking about my images since there seems to be a story associated with each one of them…
      …and yeah, police are unpredictable enough in the USA, but in a foreign country, there’s no telling what they’ll do…
      I’ve been stopped and interrogated for photographing policemen in Italy, and been fortunate enough to talk my way out of having my film confiscated… but it’s still a confrontation I’d prefer to avoid…
      and as far as blending in goes… a camera just turns you into the proverbial sore thumb…no matter where you are…
      but I think that’s because everyone of us has shameful secrets… and some of us just unconsciously imagine that a camera can capture them…
      Thanks for the encouragement…
      Curtis

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