Shooting with a Street Mindset 6

This photo at the opening of this Blog illustrates well what I will try to develop here. John Harper, a very good photographer and also friend spoke about it in his last Blog. I am adding again the photo after this introduction because it was taken in portrait format and WordPress does not like and systematically truncates the photo that is highlighted. Note there may be a way to get it all, but I’m not very familiar with WordPress …

So let’s come back to this photo taken in May 2018 in Porquerolles. I had asked John for his opinion on this. For me it was a street shot. FYI, it’s my wife who stands out in silhouette. This is the apartment we had rented for the few days spent on the island of Porquerolles. I was coming back to the apartment after putting the trash in the containers when I saw this scene with the palm trees reflected on the window glass. The curtain, the light, the reflections : everything was present for a photo. I quickly went in to pick up my Ricoh GRD4. I rarely take it with me when I take out the trash … Note, maybe I should ! And that’s where I took this photo. This photo was definitely taken with a Street mindset. But does that make it a Street Shot ?

Another example of the subject I am trying to develop here. This photo was taken in 2017 in Ardèche during holidays with wife and children. It’s me the shadow on the left and as you can see I shoot very often with the camera at chest level. FYI it is to have a lower perspective than shooting at eye level that crushes. This is by no means for sneaky reasons. I could squat down, but my knees hurt … The shadow on the right is none other than Joachim, my boy. This photo is neither posed nor scripted. This end of the day with a low sun lengthened the shadows and Joachim, my big boy, was having fun running up the stairs. That’s when I took this photo. Personally, I don’t have any questions about this photo. For me it occupies a prominent place in my Street Photos portfolio. I think the reason I’m not questionning myself is that you can’t tell who that person is on the right. Now you know because I told you. But anyone who sees this photo cannot know.

On this other photo, I don’t wonder anymore because it was taken at home (well our old home …) in Jouques and we can clearly distinguish Joachim and also a friend and her daughter in the photo. I really like this photo because it has everything I am looking for in a candid photo. No one pays attention to me and I captured a moment of this day. I will not include this photo in my Street Shots because I consider that there was a tacit acceptance of the photographer in this specific case. Even if I do not intervene in the course of what is happening, my presence is accepted as I document moments of Elodie and her daughter Anna … But what is certain is that this photo was realized with a Street mindset. I have a lot of photos that fit into this category. I put you some below.

All of these photos were made with a Street Mindset and you can see it, no one is paying attention to me. Note, they are so used to seeing me with my Ricoh, that in the end they no longer pay attention to what I’m doing … But in the end whether it is photos of complete strangers captured candidly or photos of my family captured in the same way, what does that change in the end ? For several years now, the line between what I do in the street and what I do while documenting my life has gradually blurred. I can no longer take posed photos. When I’m asked to take group photos at family meals, I don’t know how to go about it. I feel like it’s unnatural and I’m not having a lot of fun. My settings are not optimal. It doesn’t make sense to do portraits with small apertures, does it ? Besides, I am rarely satisfied with the result obtained. I prefer to capture candid moments. This is what I do with my wife and my children. I like this freedom to operate without constraints and to be able to frame as I want by breaking the usual codes and to offer my vision of what is happening around me.

I have the impression that this label story : Street, Life, Family … is important when you post on social media because it is important to categorize what you do on social networks. It doesn’t matter to me, because in the end we just talk about photography ! Anyway, I’m no longer on social networks …. What matters most to me is that the photo is the reflection of an authentic moment and not a staged photo. We see too many scripted photos with the Street Photography label. I photograph real moments. Call it, Street, Life, Family … whatsoever.

All photos were taken with the Ricoh GRD4 and the GR.

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6 thoughts on “Shooting with a Street Mindset

  • John Wilson

    SIMPLY MARVELOUS, an old tag line to a commercial, but to me you and r. Parker photos are simply marvelous. They are so relaxed they make me relax. I call it talent and love that you gentlemen share with us. Thank You

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Ah ah, yeah he’s Mr Spideman ! Puting his camera in a spiderweb to take snapshots 😉
      Thanks John for taking the time to read and look at the pictures. Your reaction is worth a million likes on SM ! I shoot for me and I share to provoke emotion and the goal is reached.
      Have a nice week

  • John Harper

    Perhaps it could be labelled’Candid Photography’? Here’s the definition according to the dictionary…
    of a photograph of a person taken informally, especially without the subject’s knowledge. Example: “it is better to let the photographer mingle among the guests and take candid shots”
    I don’t think it should be labelled at all. That opening shot of Gwen is or could be Street. The viewer only knows that it’s her because they were told, that would involve a title to put it into context (“My wife in the kitchen”) on Social Media. It’s no longer Street, it’s suddenly becomes Candid because of the title. Of course if we’re photographing family then they’re aware that we have a camera, however we’d be fooling ourselves if we believed that people on the street were never conscious on some level that they were being photographed. They know almost as much as our families know that we’re framing them. Say we wanted to build a Street Portfolio which contained only people looking straight at you. It would be easy to fill that up, because it happens all the time. I’ve got shots that contain 12 people in a scene, at least 4 are looking at me. Okay, mostly that’s because of my extraordinary good looks 😉 Where we end up is trying to define Street and I’m not sure anyone can. It’s just photography. I’m betting that if you posted that shot on Instagram most would think “great piece of Street Photography”. People can label it any way they wish, I always end up simply thinking of it as photography, and by the way, very good photography.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      That’s right ! We are just candid shooters.As long as you frame, it’s a distortion of the reality. You choose to add or substrac things. So you made a choice and you’re not showing really eveything. You’re giving an interpretation of this reality but still it can be captured candidly I guess that this is the most important thing for me. I once tried to define Street Photography, but the more I’m going on my photographic journey, the more it seems useless to me., but this candid thing remains the only thing I give importance to.You can take candid pictures and getting busted with many eyes contacts by the way ! The intent counts.
      But as you can see on my website and Blog, I still use those labels. Even we deeply think it’s only photography after all, we still use labels not to confuse our audience.