When most people think of street photography they think you must shoot in areas where there’s chaos of people, rich in history, or plentiful of colors. Some countries/cities that are on the top of most street photographers list to shoot in are India, Japan, London, New York, Coney Island, LA, San Francisco, and Cuba. Hawaii is not even a consideration or on the radar. Hawaii is home to a lot of great photographers or genres of photography, surf photography (Clark Little, John Hook), landscape photography (Aaron Feinberg), seascape photography, sunrise/sunset photography, nature photography, I can go on.
When I first started off I thought I wasn’t able to produce quality images or find those eye catching moments because I was in Honolulu, everything seemed so boring. Everything looked the same (born and raised in Honolulu my whole life).
Shooting for over a few years now, I can say some of my best images were made here in Honolulu, right in my backyard, my childhood playground of Waikiki. Traveling to different cities or countries have made me appreciate home. You don’t need to be in a big city to produce good images, the truth o f the matter is the more you go and shoot the more the opportunity will present itself. No matter the location.
Why I think Honolulu is a prime location for street photography…
Personally, I think Honolulu is a great place for street photography (I have yet adventured to the neighbor islands to shoot, will explore one day). Honolulu offers a lot in the form of diverse cultures, if you take a scroll to Waikiki (touristy spot), you’ll find locals, tourist, of all shape, sizes, color, background. The island is located between international Asia and the US mainland. We have the option to shoot on the beach (my personal favorite) and catch surreal, comical, and interesting moments.
Weather is great year round with spectacular lighting for sunset or sunrise. A good portion of Honolulu is under redevelopment. Kaka’ako is an area that’s going through major changes (the government wants that to be the hip area aka San Francisco of Hawaii). There’s a lot of construction, graffiti art (the famous POW WOW Hawaii), on weekends they have events. It’s not a dense area like Waikiki but it’s a good spot to find something different and be away from a chaotic area like Waikiki.
There’s other areas within Honolulu that I would consider good spots to roam and shoot. I would consider Kalihi as an area with potential, it’s not overcrowded with people but there’s a lot of old homes, shops, some nice colors. It’s not a touristy spot, so if you’re looking to get away from the tourist attractions, I would consider Kalihi. Many surrounding areas within Kalihi are low income housing, homelessness, different ethnic backgrounds, many schools within a short radius.
There’s many areas that I have yet hit up myself and would like to (Waipahu, Haleiwa, Kaimuki). You can check out Japanese street photographer Shin Noguchi, who recently visited Honolulu and captured many great moments (he’s currently seeking a publisher to publish his book “Hawaii”).
I think there are people who are interested in learning what street photography is and how to go about it here in Hawaii. There are a few people on the islands that I know already shoots this genre. And with the reach of social media, I do foresee Hawaii being more active and one of the top destinations for not just seascape or sunrise/sunset photography…(oh how did I forget to mention “WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY”,) but for street photography too. You can make great photos anywhere and anytime. Keep shooting!
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” – Bobby Unser