Fellas, [this piece] by Eric Kim is just terrific. It’s a discussion of ten insightful statements from ten defining figures in the field of Street Photography. The ten “street photography quotes” he selected are wise, witty, illuminating and deeply human. Even if street photography’s not your thing, these ten insights need to be. They can be applied to portrait photography, wedding photography, even fashion photography.
How about this: we’ll toss out a few of ‘em, just to whet your appetite for more. You can find the rest of them [over here].
Robert Capa: “If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough.”
This can be interpreted both objectively and subjectively. Objectively, there may be too many yards separating you from the interesting person or situation you’re wanting to capture. Laugh lines, eye twinkles and tense body language are easier to document when you’re up close and personal. And speaking of ‘personal’—connecting with your subject at a personal level not only enhances the quality of the shot in intangible ways, it’s just a good way to live. Cf. the following quote…Alfred Eisenstaedt: “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Garry Winogrand: “Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photograph is good.”
Hindsight is always 20/20. When you’re in the moment, experiencing the subject in situ, as you snap off your shot you may have an overwhelming sense that you have captured something magical. Later on, as you’re staring at the image in your computer with furrowed brow, you may well find yourself wondering, “What was that all about?” But it may be equally true that another shot from the same session will turn out to have been really good. Snap lots of images, and save the snap judgments. Waiting a few days or a week before evaluating the worth of your images can bring necessary distance to your ability to separate the sheep from the goats.
Andre Kertesz: “Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.”
This principle might, at first blush, seem to contradict the one we were just looking at. But think again. To deny that mushy feelings automatically result in strong photography is not to state that feelings are unimportant. A vital, subjective connection to the subject can be the key to creating an important photograph, rather than a merely adequate one.
William Klein: “Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even if is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.”
Find an approach to subject selection, angle, focal length, etc. that is a unique expression of your own artistic vision. You may find that your personal contribution to the field of photography is not as polished as that of other photographers you’ve come to admire, but it has an immediacy that is clearly not born of imitation.