The other day, Eric Kim (a street photographer whose blog I follow) posed a question on Facebook about street photography: is it more important to go out looking for THE photo, or should one let the photo come to you?
I interpreted the question as – do I take my camera, go out onto the streets, and purposefully look for that special photo to capture? Or, should I just go out there, take it easy, observe people and what’s going on around me, not actively searching for that something to snap, but waiting for a great moment to appear (and pray fervently that I am quick enough to click the shutter when that happens).
Quite a number of people responded to that question. Some felt that it is important to go out looking for the photo, some thought that a good photo will come to you if you keep an open mind. Others felt that it is a combination of both.
I found the question quite difficult to answer. It is a chicken-and-egg thing. People who like street photography will always be looking for that special moment, one that will not return if you miss it. If I don’t actively engage my surroundings in trying to frame an image in my mind and the camera’s viewfinder, how would a photo just appear in front of me? Then again, if I am always looking through the viewfinder, busy clicking away at anything that remotely looks interesting to me, chances are that I would have missed that decisive moment when it appeared.
So the difficulty for me in street photography is in keeping an open mind to what is going on around me, seeing the extraordinary in ordinary circumstances, and being to compose the photo, click the shutter within a split second, and capturing that image perfectly. Tough.
I was standing at the tram station outside the Nobel Museum in Oslo on a rainy afternoon. There wasn’t anything in particular that I was thinking about photographing. Because of the rain, I couldn’t do any sightseeing, so I whiled away the hours in a restaurant with a book, a bowl of mussels, some oysters, a glass of wine and a cup of coffee. By the time the rain stopped a couple of hours later, my plans for the day had been ruined, and on top of that, I spent a small fortune on lunch. I was feeling miffed.
So while I was waiting for the tram to return to the hotel, admiring the good-looking Scandinavians that passed my way, and feeling a little sorry for myself, this image just came to me.
I love the reflections in the puddle of rainwater.