Since taking part in ‘Street Photography Now’, an online project associated with the book of the same name, in 2010, Roland has researched and explored this branch of photography and shared his findings with us in an entertaining and informative presentation. I am taken with the pithy definition: 'finding the extra-ordinary in the ordinary’. That is, the ability to frame up a picture which asks questions and which celebrates unusual juxta-positions of various every day elements, even when there is nothing particular going on. Roland’s enthusiasm rekindled for me the interest and fun of just going out with a camera and inconspicuously making images from the ‘happenstance’ or ‘believable, though remarkable’ scenes which might unfold.
The antithesis of carefully metering, exposing, adding light sources and detailed post-processing, street photography offers more spontaneity and joy, achieved with the minimum of technical requirements. Roland usually uses semi-automatic modes on a micro-fourthirds Olympus camera, with small apertures and higher ISOs, in order to be ready to shoot instantly, and that readiness, the being in the right place at the right time, is fundamental to catching any of several ‘decisive moments’ in every day life. So, nothing staged, nothing set-up, just the ability to see the potential and sense the flow of events.
It was interesting - and something I hadn’t thought about before - that Roland emphasised that busy cities provide the richest environs for this sort of photography. He discussed the overlap with street portraiture, streetscapes and documentary, journalistic reportage, asking us to say which images fitted into ‘Street’ or these other categories. So, by the end of his presentation, Roland offered his audience a clear idea of how and why the boundaries are blurred, and how the contribution of so many different practitioners has, and continues to, result in a rich body of work we can appreciate and call ‘Street photography’.
He also offered advice and some useful references:
Street and Repeat 106 https://www.flickr.com/groups/street-repeat-106/ This is a great group for getting involved in street photography and sharing pictures. Flickr is not dead!
Eric Kim - http://erickimphotography.com/blog/start-here/ Loads of fantastic information and inspiration
In-Public http://www.in-public.com/ The original street photography collective