After having read three books on photography and on street photography, I was thrilled and also somewhat anxious to get out in the streets for the first time as a wannabe street photographer. Thrilled, because impatient to put into practice what I had read in the books and across the web presences of many street photographers. Anxious, because unsure of being able to put theory into practice – I mean isn’t this the main issue for academics…? Would I find potential subjects that trigger my inspiration? Will I be able to overcome the often described anxiety to overcome when taking photos of complete strangers in the streets?
One morning in August, I decided to get out and just have my camera ready. Not able to completely overcome the anxiety, I actually took many photos from the hip. And as expected, this is not a very simple technique to master – especially with a new camera and a moderately wide angle (35 mm).
Although during the usually quite calm summer in the city, the city center was quite crowded, which was actually good news. And after some time wandering around the shopping mile of my city, there was this elderly man sitting on a round bank made of stone. Elegant in his dark suit, but with a casual note with a pair of still elegant sneakers. While his dress was already incongruent with the summer leisure styles of the people around him, it was his completely calm and almost still posture in a vibrant and nervous environment full of individuals hurrying from one store to the other. Still from the hip and in portrait, I pressed the button several times without stopping – excited, but also worried if one of the photos actually came out well enough. Arriving at home, I checked the photos and, yes, all three snapshots got him well in the frame, which was quite close to a miracle as for no other subject I photographed, this turned out as well as for this elderly man in suit.
Here is the final result. I very much like the squared format for this picture.
The chance to pass along the city center at this precise moment and seeing this man in a suit has become what the French might call a “déclic” – a critical moment or trigger – for my newly started street photography passion. Although, once at home, I had so many ideas on how I should have worked on the composition better, but I consider this as errors of the beginner.