When I started photography seriously two years ago, I was not aware of the diversity of this activity.
Gradually, I discovered very different practices, even if inspiration and photographic intention are common to all of these artistic experiences.
I For me, shooting a landscape with a long exposure, an indoor portrait, or a delicate macro, just to name a few different styles of photography, is first of all focusing on the preparation of materials: specific objectives, sturdy tripod, a flash and accessories of all kinds. It’s also important to identify a nice location and stay a long time at the same place for long exposure shots, to discuss with the model in the case of a portrait, to find the suitable lens for the macro and to patiently search for perfect details.
Street photography does not need these requirements. Everything is in the moment, the micro-second, the “decisive moment” as Henri Cartier Bresson called it.
Of course that moment does not happen by chance. The chance may arise, but the more you search for it, the more likely it will arrive.
Before going to hunt for the pictures, thinking about what you want to capture is important. It can be a personal project or a challenge given as part of a group. Shooting with a theme allows us to focus on a subject.
During a photography walk, the knowledge of the environment, the possibility of identifying a strategic location, a particular hour, interesting light, or a graphic background are important elements that can improve the quality of a photo but that is not enough.
What remains remains the most important is the fraction of a second during which the eye and the lens will be on alert and ready to shoot.
This moment, when the light, the lines of the environment and the street scene are in perfect harmony, is something rare. This is what I call the alignment of the planets, taking the expression of my photographer friend Amor, who is tirelessly searching this “decisive moment” while trying mostly to add a touch of humor.
So yes this alignment is rare, but the more you search for it, the more you find it. Smetimes the alignment is not perfect but the picture still works.
When you travel in a new place for the first time, you don’t have much time to discover the environment, especially if you are with a friend.
The eye must be in a constant alert, looking around to anticipate a good moment.
We were walking along the Tage, in Lisbon, by a very windy afternoon. Some people walked quickly, but a young woman was sitting on the edge, her hair dancing in the wind, focused on her book. It was a very nice scene, and I was thinking it would be a good shot for the theme “reader”.
I tried some shots, but some guys were in the background and I didn’t like it. I moved a little, and wait a few seconds more, hoping the girl will not close the book. I also wanted to see a little bit of her face through the strands of her hair.
I think I shot 5 or 6 times, and then, I’ve got it ! I was not sure it was OK, but when I saw it on the computer, I admit I was very very happy !
I think I can called this moment “the alignment of the planets”…