Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Beauty of Street Photography!


Street photography is an art almost as old as photography itself. With the advent of portable cameras, photographers began exploring and documenting the world around them, capturing unstaged moments, interpreting life and challenging the perceptions. But I find myself very timid when walking down a street taking pictures of absolute strangers. I start off hesitant clicking a picture here, another there. And soon you will find me clicking away to my heart's content, approaching and talking to strangers, the original misgivings forgotten. I still prefer being invisible; it gets amazing candid shots!

Busy public places are fantastic for street photography as its easier to be invisible in a crowd. In the words of Joel Meyerowitz, "There is something exciting about being in a crowd, in all that chance and change - it's tough out there - but if you can keep paying attention, something will reveal itself - just a split second - and then there's a crazy cockeyed picture."

street photography old man

Madivala market, just a stone's throw from my place, is an ideal location for street photography. Having someone like Pattu along definitely helps soothe the nerves. While shooting on the streets, I find him quietly confident, observing the scene with an open mind ready to capture whatever appears in the viewfinder. He can easily strike a conversation with absolute strangers, complimenting them and requesting permission to take their portrait.

street photography considerate shopkeeper

Street photography is all about gestures and expression. Subjects and settings can vary greatly and spontaneity helps. The goal is to tell a story in a single frame, communicate an emotion. Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered the father of modern photojournalism, has opined "Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oops! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever." He termed this the decisive moment. Street photographers strive to capture the life and culture of city streets, searching for the decisive moment.

street photography getting the day's news

I normally prefer black and white for this genre as it helps remove any distractions of colour from the frame, allowing the viewer to be more drawn to the subject. The best thing about street photography is that it is possible for the final viewer to see more than the original photographer. There are lots of stories out there waiting to be told. And I am ready with my camera to have some fun!


street photography happy smiling kid

131 comments:

  1. Lovely captures... Street photography is one of my very favorite photography...

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    1. It sure is exciting though I admit I am always a bit scared at the beginning of any such outing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Great photos! Where did you take them? In the 3rd photo, the person is reading a newspaper in some South Indian language.

    You can view 'Photoblog by Rajan Parkar - Satyam Shivam Sundaram'. Rajan is apparently based in Goa.

    BTW, where had you been all these days? Good to 'see' you back.

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    1. Thanks a lot for the encouraging words! These were taken in Madivala market in Bangalore. The paper is in Kannada, I assume :)

      I will definitely take a look at the blog you gave. Been somewhat busy with work and hence not able to post much. But will try to post more pictures.

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  3. yes, photography is all about that moment and capturing it!!!!

    nice shots..and my favorite is the last one :)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com/

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    1. It's mine as well. It was a splendid moment when I showed the picture to the kid and saw his face transform with a big smile :)

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  4. Lovely account of Street photography. I always find it easier to take Indian street portraits / candids than taking them in a foreign land. Our folks just voluntarily poses for the camera, just naturally!
    Here's my account of Stranger photography that I wrote sometime back..
    http://vaish143.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/photography-gyan-8-stranger-photography.html

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    1. I feel its the same whether in India or abroad. I always have starting trouble, the comfort level increasing along the way. You maybe right about it being easier in India but not knowing the local language does pose a few problems. I will check out you post on photographing strangers.

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  5. Splendid shots - especially the first one.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thank you Stewart for your kind words. Nice of you to stop by.

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  6. Beautiful portraits of people, love them all.

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  7. Wow..you are a perfectionist..the candid moments are so amazingly captured... and you are an odia boy!!! Nice to meet an Odia boy on this platform after a very long time and feels nice to see the creativity...(*I'm from Odisha too*) :)

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    1. Thank you Namrata for the kind words :)

      Nice to meet another odia in the blogosphere, and someone with a talent for writing at that. You do write some fantastic stuff.

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  8. I like both your color, and black and white street photos! :)

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    1. Thanks a lot! Your kind words go a long way in encouraging me.

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  9. I enjoyed reading your comments on street photography. Your photos are excellent and set a very high standard for these types of candid pictures.

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    1. Nice to have you on my blog. Thanks for your kind words.

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  10. Hi Ramakant, these Portraits are great and spot on.

    Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

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    1. I enjoyed being on your blog. Nice of you to stop by.

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  11. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I do appreciate it, and figured I'd stop by here to return the favor. I'm really glad I did, too, because your photography is fantastic. Nothing can more perfectly capture a moment in time like a camera... with a good photographer behind it. Really, great shots!

    If you have the time and inclination, there's a picture on my blog that you might find interesting. It's in a post from February 4th of this year, but if you do a click on the tag "hatred" in the sidebar, it'll take you right to it. It's an example of a photographer being in the right place at the right time to capture an amazing image.

    Take care. Nice to meet you. Count me in as your newest follower.

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    1. You have been very kind with your words. Thank you very much. Happy that you liked the blog and find it good enough to follow. Hope you are not disappointed. Will definitely check out the post.

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  12. Great street shots - that's a skill I haven't started to learn yet.

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    1. Thank you for the encouraging words. I am sure you will also be drawn to street photography some day.

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  13. Wow--you are a great photographer. Those photos are AWESOME. I'll bet that you can sell some of your photos. They are THAT good.
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks a ton! You have no idea how much these count towards building my confidence as a photographer.

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  14. i LOVE these portraits.

    very expressive!

    well done:)

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  15. ...and thanks so much for visiting and for your kind comment.


    i love your blog!

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    1. And I loved yours. You take amazing pictures.

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  16. Great photos of young and old. I love the black and white and sepia.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  17. These are great. I like that you've found a moment that is appealing to everyone with your pictures.

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    1. Nice of you to stop by. Happy that you like the pictures :)

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  18. Your photos are just beautiful!

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  19. Some people have the knack of knowing when to squeeze the shutter. It appears to be something that cannot easily be taught, but is easily recognized. Very, very well done, Ramakant!

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    1. Coming from a great photographer like you its a big compliment. I think I can pat myself on the back :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  20. WOW!!!! Stunning photography!!! Love the pics!

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    1. Thank you Veronica. Happy that you liked my photography. Hope to see you here more often.

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  21. Thank you for visiting my space on my blog :)Beautiful portraits that you have captured here. My favourite is the last one. I love the way you have captured the exultant joy in the kids's eyes.Lovely shots!

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    1. The last one is my favourite as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  22. Brilliant captures. A pleasure visiting your blog.

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    1. Happy that you liked the pictures. Thanks for stopping by.

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  23. WOW! Your shots are breathtaking and they convey a story, you do some amazing work. I can feel your passion through your photos. Phenomenal job! (Or do we call it a job when we enjoy the moment of "the" shot?)

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    1. Nice of you to stop by. And thanks for the lovely words, I may not actually deserve some of them.
      One thing I can say for sure, it gives a lot of pleasure when I click a picture that brings a smile on someone's face.

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  24. Very true street photography is an art. You have done great justice. It is not everybody's cup of coffee.

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  25. Loved your clicks... I somehow love clicking people but am scared of asking them to pose..what is they get offended. :/

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    1. If you start clicking, you will easily get over the fear in sometime :) If someone doesn't want their picture taken, they will say so and you can respect their decision. Thanks for dropping by.

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  26. I do not take pictures of people. I find it difficult to go and ask, or even take a candid shot. I somehow feel that I am intruding into their privacy, while they themselves might welcome it. These photos are excellent, especially in B&W. Except the pic where the guy is studying newspaper, I guess all others are showing some emotions. Keep clicking! :)

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Well, as long as I am in a public place, I guess they are part of the scenery. Still, if someone doesn't want his/her picture taken, I respect their decision. Thanks for stopping by.

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  27. Hi there,

    I think that you did well.
    You presented street photography, without dwelling on misery, a trap in which many photographers fall into.
    Street photography can, and I personally believe should, show happy people and beautiful situation, which is what you have done.
    Congratulation, nice work.

    Have a good day,
    Me.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. Happy faces in the crowd attract my attention and that's what I normally try to capture. Glad you liked the pictures.

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  28. The are all fantastic portraits.

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  29. I love street photography, there is honesty and innocence in expression. I was crazy about Nimish's blog which basically has street photography.

    Stunning shots.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you liked the pictures :)

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  30. You have captured such wonderful character in each of these faces.
    Beautiful work!

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    1. I enjoyed it when I took the pictures. Glad you liked the post :)

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  31. Beautiful portraits, truly exquisite! I share your shyness about approaching strangers; you have done a stellar job overcoming it. I especially love the first and last shots.

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    1. It is not easy to shake off but the more pictures I take, the less conscious I become. You should try it out sometime. Visit some crowded market place or somewhere similar with lots of people and start clicking pictures. I have always found the start to be the most difficult. Once you get started, its a smooth sailing. Thanks for dropping by.

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  32. wonderful portraits!

    thank you for stopping by today!

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    1. Nice of you to drop by. Glad you liked the post :)

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  33. Lovely shots. I think street photography must be a lot like quietly people watching.

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    1. Somewhat similar when you want candid shots :)
      Thanks for dropping by.

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  34. Nice work Ramakant, I agree, getting that right moment makes street photography all the more difficult.

    Lovely shots my friend :)

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    1. Glad you liked my work. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  35. Wow, your portraits are wonderful! I love how you captured some of each person's "essence" in just a single moment. Real street photography!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked my work.

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  36. Wonderful post and marvelous images!

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  37. I simply love Black and White Photography. It expresses so many feelings and it's so mysterious. Your photos are amazing and I am being so honest with you Ramakant. The first one is my favourite one. This man's smile is so sincere. Reminds me a lot of Sri Lankan people :)

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind words. I too like black and white photography but feel it needs more effort that coloured ones.

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  38. Amazing write up!!...Loved the emotion behind the pics esp the 1st one and the quotes. Been wanting to try my hand at street photography - This sure is inspirational!!!:-)

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    1. Good of you to drop by. And thanks for the lovely comment. You should definitely give it a try, its amazing once you get started. Looking forward to seeing some great street shots from you.

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    2. He he..yep that's the next topic on my itinerary! Finger's crossed Ramakant!:)

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    3. Will love to see your shots. Just plan it to shoot with a friend when you try it for the first time. Gets a bit disconcerting the first time. Company helps :)

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    4. Point taken!!..Will do..Thanks!:-)

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  39. You captured these portraits nicely. I love street photography and many tell a story. Unfortunately, I have encountered some not-so-friendly people who did not like their photographs taken.

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    1. Fortunately, I haven't met any such characters though there have been a few who didn't want their picture taken and I have left them alone. I guess when doing street photography, one must respect others choices where taking their pictures are concerned. A great majority of people don't mind and a few are actually very enthusiastic to have their pictures taken.

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  40. wonderful photographs...i love the catch lights in your subjects eyes.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, it was quite lucky.

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  41. Those portraits are absolutely luminous! I do not have the talent to go along with the information, but I am glad you included it because it helps me to understand all that went into making them. Thank you

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    1. Appreciate your comment. It's always a nice feeling when someone finds any information useful on my blog. Thanks for stopping by.

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  42. Beautiful "slices of life" here. You have a great eye for capturing humanity. Wonderfully done!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving this wonderful comment.

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  43. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You take amazing portraits! I really enjoyed seeing your work.

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    1. Happy to know you liked my work. Hope to see you here more often. Thanks for stopping by.

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  44. The portraits are just wonderful. You do beautiful work. I have a big stumbling block when it comes to photographing strangers also. I need to overcome that because street photography fascinates me.

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    1. It's a fascinating art alright. I am sure you will do well once you start taking pictures. Thanks for dropping by.

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  45. Hi I am a great fan of ur potography....Especially the street potography and the Falls.

    :) Stunning and God Bless Sir.

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    1. Nice to have a fan like you. Thanks for your kind comment :)

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  46. Wonderful photos, you are very talented! :)

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  47. Your shutter bug sure captures moments. Precisely.
    Amazing pictures. Especially the last one of the boy with those bright eyes.

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    1. Many times I get lucky with my shots. Thanks for stopping by.

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  48. Those photos are absolutely beautiful, awesome captures. The expressions on the people's faces are very interesting

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    1. Thank you Freya for dropping by and leaving a nice comment.

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  49. your work is just awesome, I love your blog :)

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  50. You have great talent capturing the perfect moment! I can see I need to practice. :)

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    1. And practice does make one better at their trade. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a beautiful comment.

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  51. These portraits are simply superb. I really like looking at them.

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    1. Happy to know you enjoyed my work. Thanks for stopping by.

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  52. Estupendas imagenes...un saludo desde Murcia...

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  53. These are some wonderful pictures. I enjoyed the Odissi pic too. Fantastic!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. Hope to see you here more often.

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  54. nice colors of photography...

    beautiful pictures...

    thanks

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  55. "That moment" is one of the big reasons I like photography. Searching for it creates a sense of timelessness and mindfulness. I do envy you your courage in approaching strangers for portraits. You have a beautiful set of them here.

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    1. Oh you needn't envy me. I always have the jitters at the start of any photowalk. But the camera somehow soothes me and gradually I lose the trepidation.

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  56. The only photography which actually looks lively and not just a bunch of edited photos is taking clicks of random everyday life.
    Loved every click :)

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    1. Well each type of photography has its own charms and audience. Everyday life does appeal to many as they are able to relate to it. It's pretty much what they see around everyday of their lives.

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  57. Awesome portraits! Black and white really suits for street photography. But the slight color tone in the third photo (man reading newspaper) seems to be very apt for that photo, how did you achieved that white balance?

    Waiting for more.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. Regarding the colour tone in the third photo, I applied a colour exposure on the b&w version at a lower opacity.

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Tryst with the Shutter Bug by Ramakant Pradhan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.