I would like to start off by saying that I have a bi-polar personality. Growing up through grade school a lot of my friends and classmates knew me as a class clown, in fact that’s what I won my senior year in high school…The Class Clown. I loved attention as a child not because I had a lack of attention at home but because of the reactions I’ll get, I enjoyed making people laugh whether they’re laughing at me or with me it didn’t matter.
But another group of people may know me as quiet, reserved, shy, I know it’s a weird contrast. What I’m trying to say is that the photos you take should say something about you, your personality, your beliefs, your ideals, your experiences, your surroundings, or about your generation.
For example, I like to photograph people on their phones. I think I’ll be looking back at these decades later and think to myself that we didn’t have it too bad (I’m predicting the future will be worse with technology vs human interaction). Photographing people on their devices creates a timeless image, kind of like how people photographed strangers reading the newspaper or listening to their walkman’s in decades past. One of my personal favorites is the photo above because it shows how consumed we’ve become with our technology, it like if humanity has forgotten what it’s like to have face to face interaction. It’s also a good reminder for me to have or do anything in moderation…that includes being on my cell phone.
Recently I have experimented with Street Portraits, asking a stranger if I can make a portrait out of them. Before I used to think asking permission to take someone’s photo is not street photography. That street photography needs to be capture in the moment without any permission because it ruins the magic. Then I realize how many street photographers did ask permission from their subjects, so I wasn’t too harsh about having any rules at all, I was convinced that there was nothing wrong with asking permission. Again it’s art and art has no rules or set of boundaries. (But then again, I thought to myself the only rule street photography should have is that the photo must have a human element in its frame, whether that be a shadow or actual image of a person.) I’m rambling sorry…back to street portraits.
This allows me to create a candid photo of someone I find interesting or want to know more about. Other than creating a nice photo I really enjoy talking to these strangers, hearing their stories, and above all just having a normal conversation is quite refreshing. I want the people photograph to feel like they matter and that people do care about them and want to see them back on their feet again. Sometimes, hearing the right thing at the right time is all one person needs. So therefore, I tend to focus on taking photos of the poor, poverty, homelessness, because it captures the rawness and struggle of what I think my home of Honolulu really is. It’s really not all paradise as how it’s advertised. Also, It’s something I can personally identify with to some extent by living paycheck to paycheck.
Above all, my mission by sharing these type of photos is to have their voice and stories be heard and to remind all of us that everyone deserves a second chance in life.
I want people to be aware of their surroundings and everyday life in which they probably don’t take the time to think about.
As I mentioned I’m a bit of a jokester. So when I’m out shooting and I happen to see something funny, I’ll take a snap. One technique that i think adds humor to a photo is by inserting your own shadow into your shot. It gives a feeling that you’re trying to interrupt the scene, or that you want to be noticed. For example the picture above, at first glance I wanted to photograph this girl doing amazing art work. As I moved in and framed the shot up I noticed my shadow as well as her shadow, overlaying on top of her canvas. Her canvas was full of leading lines from all angles with amazing geometric shapes. From there I was framing the shot around our shadows, I ended up titling the photo “Shadow Date”.
At the end of the day, your photos should speak about you. As the photographer you are welcoming people to see the world through your eyes…your eyes as a street photographer. I experimented almost every kind of photography out there for fun. Ive tried landscape, ocean, architecture, slow shutter of freeways, and although the photos may have came out nice with a lot of likes on social media..or not, it never touched my soul, those photos never hit me where it hurts like the street photos I have been lucky to capture and satisfy myself with. None of those other genres really spoke to me. It was like I would capture these photos then edited it post and have the photos uploaded and although some were stunning, I always was left unsatisfied. I was doing what the norm would do, take pictures of beautiful scenary, edit them in photoshop, then upload to social media. It was the same process that everyone else was doing but I’ve always been everything outside the norm (sometimes for better or for worse). I don’t edit any photos anymore, it’s totally not me. I shoot and send the photos I really like straight to my phone ready to share on social media.
So remember, do what makes you happy, photograph things that speaks to you and try to make a difference in the process. Be patient but be persistant with street photography. Shoot in different locations, take risk, shoot with confidence. And just like how wine gets better with age, your photos will become better with time.
Thanks for reading.