Yes, I hit the streets in 2022. Both, figuratively and literally. That’s because I discovered street photography by the end of the last year, in 2021.
Street photography is quite unlike other forms of photography. It often involves other (read unknown) persons. And you often click them without their knowing it. A street photographer must be wary of the ethical issues such a situation involves. And issues of privacy intrusion.
So, sometimes I walk up to the subject and ask for a permission to take a photo. Usually they agree; I have not been refused permission even once so far.
I was visiting Wimbledon in London where my son stays. Wimbledon commons is less than a kilometer away from his home. And there is this small pond in it where a lot of seagulls come. Last year I found Swans had descended there. A group of swans on land, I mean when not in flight, is called a Bank!
I noticed a lady who was feeding the swans. So, I walked up to her and asked her permission to photograph. “Oh, yes” she said. I must have clicked fifty or more. Here is a favourite one from the stock.
Walking in the woods is always a great experience. There are benches in the woods and they are in good condition. While walking there early morning I saw a bouquet left there. I kept guessing what the story would be. You can guess too.
A good street photo should tell a story, they say. I clicked this photo when my cousin was taking a walk. It was nine in the night when he went out for a walk. Pitch dark it was. We were camping at a resort which had very poor street lighting. I saw an opportunity there.
Speaking of light effect, the most memorable shot is of Waheeda Rehman in Kagaz Ke Phool. It is etched on the minds of people forever. The play of light and shade dramatizes a situation. I saw an opportunity while walking in the subway.
Speaking of movies, I saw this couple rowing a boat in Thames near Hampton Court. A shot similar to one in ‘Kati Patang’. I never knew I was so influenced by movies. All those seen in my teen years.
Street photographs resonate with me. It could be amazement at watching a huge wave break in front of you, empathy seen when the lady was feeding the swans, solitude of the man walking alone in the dark, or flowers on the bench which could be a love story or parting of ways, or walking from darkness to sunlit area, there is always a story and it reminds you of something in your life. In street photography ‘har photo kuch kehta hai’, to borrow the line from a famous Asian Paints Advertisement.
For those who would like to see my street-photography, here is my short 3 min video.
Thanks for watching. (All photos and video copyrighted).
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”