Experience of Street Documentary Photography
- Oct 28, 2019
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Speaking of "street sweeping" in photography, many film friends are very familiar with it. This "slang" is not the kind of daily work of sanitation workers, but refers to shooting in the street, stressing the authenticity of the picture, most of them do not shoot, but in shopping, capturing all kinds of moving details and moments in daily life.
It's easy to sweep the street, pick up the camera and go to the street to take pictures. But at the same time, street sweeping is also the most difficult type of photography. It's not easy to capture the moving moments when people come and go in the street.
Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, the shore of the Xiangjiang River, a teenager playing in a pile of building wastes by the river, raised his hands, hope and soul as if flying in this instant, across the river, across the city, to the distant place.
Many famous photographers in the history of photography at home and abroad, such as Henry Cartier-Bresson, the father of documentary photography, who founded the "decisive moment" theory, Mark Lubb, the famous Japanese freelance photographer Morishan Avenue and so on, have spent a lot of time on street photography by capturing ordinary people. People's daily moments, keep one classic moment after another, the works touched countless people. It can even be said that the photographs that usually help people remember those histories and times are not earth-shaking events, but Street photographs that record the details of ordinary people's lives and the characteristics of the times.
The Concept and Thought of Street Photography
Cats in an ordinary fish stall in Xiguan Old Town of Guangzhou suddenly look back
Undoubtedly, the street must be the most important scene reflecting the culture and characteristics of our times.
When we first sweep the streets, we often feel that we can't find the north. The streets are so rich and chaotic. Many events occur at the same time, and they are fleeting. How can we find and record the most wonderful moments at the most appropriate time?
Here, it is necessary to first reproduce the most basic theory, the "decisive moment" proposed by Bresson, who believes that everything in the world has its decisive moment, that is, the form and content of the subject matter at this moment properly constitute a harmonious picture. In a very short time, he grasps the appearance and connotation of things and makes them eternal.
Bresson's photography always insists on snapping, but the perfect composition in his works is compatible with traditional painting aesthetics, which makes these moments amazing. The theory of "decisive moment" has been questioned and broken since it was put forward in the 1950s, but it is still a compulsory course for generations of Chinese and foreign documentary photographers.
For street sweeping, we must first confirm the intention and theme of shooting. Otherwise, it will inevitably flow into glimpses and horse-walking. Some photographers will be dedicated to shooting the dying historical buildings and human moments. Some photographers will also be dedicated to recording the people and events most characteristic of our times, and some photography. Teachers'Association seeks to show the brilliance of human nature, touching details of ordinary life, record emergencies, conflicts and disputes in the street... Wait. But change is inseparable. Only by recording things that move you can make photos move others. Humanitarian spirit shared by Eastern and Western art in photographic works, the feelings of equality, compassion and sympathy that embody human nature will never go out of date.
However, street photography must also have its own unique vision, try to choose subjects or scenes that others have not photographed or shooting methods, through photos to express their views and positions, is also essential. Otherwise, in today's image explosion, photos without personality will inevitably be submerged and will not leave too much impression on the audience.
Selection of Street Photography Equipment
In the old city of Xiguan, Guangzhou, according to the method of Grandpa's teaching, practicing Chinese characters together
Because of the fast changing and colorful street photography, the SLR or side-axis camera with short shutter delay is the first choice for street sweeping, and the side-axis camera with small size and unnoticeable size is the ideal choice. Of course, digital DC street sweeping can also be competent. However, because of the long shutter delay, DC needs a considerable degree of familiarity with the camera and events. Accurate prediction of events can keep the most accurate moments, and continuous shooting is often used to sweep the streets. The speed of continuous shooting should also be considered.
Guangzhou Pazhou Convention and Exhibition Center, a family of three tired of visiting the exhibition
In traditional photography theory, street photography generally recommends the use of 28mm-50mm focal lens, because this focal lens often has a more three-dimensional depth of field and in line with human visual habits, so that the recorded scenes have a sense of reality and space. However, too wide or long focal lenses are not recommended. Wide-angle lenses often cause strong distortion and too much confusion in the content of the picture. Generally, they are only suitable for narrow environments or scenes that pursue visual impact caused by wide-angle deformation. Long-focus lens is often too narrow, which is not conducive to the environment. At the same time, long-focus lens compresses the perspective between the scenery, and easily makes the picture lose the sense of scene and space.
Happy Childhood Life in the Depth of Alleys in the Old Town of Xiguan, Guangzhou
But the choice of lens also depends on personal style, if you like to keep a sense of distance or the main body is difficult to close to the shooting, long-focus lens is also a good choice; if you like the wide-angle visual impact, or good control of the picture, wide-angle lens street sweeping is also possible.
Grab, Photograph and Communication of Street Photography
Generally speaking, when sweeping the street, there are many times when we need to take a snapshot, which requires the scene to be natural and real without interfering with the photographed object. The most natural and living things are the most valuable. Snapshots can be predicted beforehand, as long as you go out with your camera on your back and see what to shoot. Deep into life is the soul and essence of snapping.
On the eve of the Spring Festival, Guangyuan Bus Passenger Station in Guangzhou, although the weather is cold and the luggage is heavy, it can not resist the expectation of returning home.
When snapping, we must be quick-sighted and quick-handed. We should not hesitate to take the most wonderful moment when shooting. In order to practise the accuracy of shutter, I used to shoot the pole outside the window many times when I was on the train. I tried to pass the pole just at the golden section point when I pressed the shutter. Interested friends might as well try this exercise method.
Capturing must also require the photographer to be familiar with the development trend of events, probably predict what will happen next, and have a good idea of when to press the shutter, in order to have a good idea and seize the desired moment.
Chengdu Street, Happy Girl on Public Telephone
When encountering the right light, shadow and scene, waiting is also a common thing in street sweeping. Choosing a suitable scene, waiting for the right person to appear or the right event to occur, and then taking snapshots, is a commonly used method of shooting street sweeping. But don't stay too long in a scene. After all, it's street sweeping. Walking around more freely. It's often a fate to get a good film. Maybe a better moment will happen at the next corner.
How much dust-laden past in the old city of Xiguan, Guangzhou
When sweeping the streets, strangers are often photographed. This seems to be a psychological barrier for photographers. They often press the shutter in a hurry to take pictures of the amazed faces of the photographers. When sweeping the streets, I think that communication skills are often the most important. Some interesting scenes, or when it is necessary to shoot strangers at close range, a simple greeting and friendly questions, full of friendly smiles, can often shorten the psychological distance with the subject, if the other party is not doing unconventional acts. Generally, people will agree to shoot. For those who are very restrained in front of the camera, they can press the shutter while chatting, and take a few more pictures to get the ideal expression and action. If you strongly disagree with taking pictures, you should stop taking pictures or delete pictures according to the requirements of the subject, which is the most basic respect for others.
It's also important to be friendly when questioning when being caught in snapshots and videos. Appropriate responses are very important. The author often smiles foolishly and says, "Learn to take pictures, come out and practice." Or "Just bought a camera today, come out and try..." Often, you will get a friendly response. Remember not to pretend to be a photographer or a journalist, but you will often be self-defeating. The author seldom sees people who swear endlessly. The barriers between people are often built by people's own heart. Communication is not very difficult.
Common Skills of Street Photography
Old city of Xiguan, Guangzhou, lonely old people sunning, how many past fences between light and shadow
In street sweeping, unexpected scenes can be seen everywhere. Often unexpected scenes often appear too slow to even lift the camera and autofocus. Therefore, blind shooting is very important. The so-called blind shooting is that it can predict roughly what pictures and compositions can be taken from a certain angle without looking at the viewfinder. This skill needs to be practiced and also needs to be corrected. Camera focal section is very familiar, you can use the camera to predict the scene before blind shooting, then contrast, so repeated exercise for a period of time can be more familiar with the master. Blind photography is widely used in street photography, such as shooting close to the subject without interfering with the object, as well as shooting fast moments. Blind shooting can also be used to shoot at very low angles. When the angle is low enough, it can make the subject appear tall, produce a unique perspective freshness, and use the sky as the background to avoid the surrounding chaotic environment.
Guangzhou Xiguan Antique City, Foreign Tourists
In addition, you can also use your hands up to jump up blind to get the angle of the overhead shot, depending on your physical condition, oh, of course, pay attention to safety.
The automatic focusing of the camera is getting faster and faster now, but there is still no time to focus in many occasions, depending on your familiarity with the camera. The author's practice is that when walking in the street, the camera never shuts down, and practices the western cowboy's gun pulling technique, so as to quickly pull out the camera from the camera bag. Of course, there is also a safe way to use the super focal length of each focus segment. For example, when the aperture of a 50mm lens is 8, the focus is at a distance of three meters, so the distance from three meters to infinity is the focus range. Using this feature, you can use the method of manual focus, without focusing.
Concluding remarks and off-topic remarks:
I waited for a long time in this old shop, watching the cat shuttle, jumping up and down, waiting for the most appropriate moment.
For street photography, the most difficult thing is not the skill of shooting, but the angle from which you look at the problem. Street landscape is so rich and changeable that what subject you choose and what moment you choose are often irregular. It depends on your knowledge, temperament, and even life experience and value orientation. In fact, besides photography, street photography in a sense has been divorced from the category of art. It is more closely related to sociology, anthropology, history, politics, economy, philosophy and other disciplines. A photograph often carries not only the pleasure of people's beauty, but also many from the real world. Information makes people meditate, pay attention to, move and resonate.
In a beautiful corner of light and shadow, I held my camera and waited, waiting for the teenager to run into my lens.
Someone asked a photographer to take a picture of the aperture shutter data, the master replied: "This photo shooting shutter is fifty years and one-half of a second." Maybe this answer can give us some inspiration.