How Do You Photograph Strangers on the Street?
A GoPro mounted on top of a Leica M9 gives you a shooter's-eye-view into an interesting street photography process
For this week’s photo contest, we’ve asked you to go out and photograph a stranger. We framed it more as a street portrait assignment, encouraging you to approach a new subject, maybe chat a bit and learn about him or her, then grab the very best shot you can. This video above caught our eye today, though, as a great depiction of an entirely different school of street photography—one that calls for as little interaction as possible, catching people close-up and unaware for the most candid capture.
Photographer Eric Kim strapped a GoPro HD 960 video camera to his Leica M9, and went on a street photography run in Los Angeles. His style of street photography is the opposite of a more engaged portraiture style, barely stopping to acknowledge the people that he’s snapped, but at the same time getting very up close and personal with them.
Famed street photographer Bruce Gilden can be seen utilizing a very similar technique for some of his distinctive New York City street portraits in this video:
To my eyes, Kim’s video is cringeworthy. I prefer street photography that gives you a chance to meet and learn a little about your subjects, while Kim obviously prefers as little interaction as possible. Some people like using zoom lenses in order to catch people completely candidly, some like to get close with normal primes, and some swear by wide-angles for sweeping views of large groups.
What do our readers say? Do you think Kim’s way of taking street level photography is the right way to go about it? Does a more engaged portrait with a stranger on the street as subject still even count as “street photography?” How did you grab your favorite street snap? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to enter this week’s assignment and tell us about the process behind your submission in the description.