Depression Does Funny Things To My Mind…But Im Better Now
I wrote this post around the 26th of January during a bout of depression and its been sitting round gathering dust as a draft since then… It didn’t help that this was when Rollei was having issues and before it went away for repairs, but I didn’t know that at the time and really that was only part of what was going wrong…
Sometimes you have to just give yourself a break… I’m better now…Most of the time 🙂
The project mentioned below is still on the back-burner.
Ramblings of a Frustrated Wellington Street Photographer… And Some Bad Pics To Make my Point.
OK… It’s a new year..time to make some changes and try to take things to the next level right?
Sounds like a plan doesn’t it?
Set some goals in photography for the year…think up some good projects…maybe finally get round to having an exhibition…
Yeah that sounds great! (this is starting to sound like an internal dialogue… I thought so too… Me too… Just get to the damn point!)
So I have thought up a great project that could be done on the street as well as having a studio component to it as well… Unfortunately it requires talking to people on the street as well as approaching people to come and do some studio shots. I’m not the most confident person when it come to approaching people and asking them to take their photo (I usually go ninja styles with the Rollei) and this has manifested in me putting so much pressure on myself that I am having problems even taking the normal street shots that you may have become accustomed to seeing here.
What is the best way to approach someone on the street? Anyone got some advice that they would like to impart?
I keep making excuses in my head why not to start this project (Too bright, Too dark, Wrong film etc…) but essentially I need to JFDI (Just Freaking Do It!) Whats the worst that could happen? They could say no… Is that so bad in the scheme of things? I’m sure I would survive physically if not with a little mental scarring.
Here goes a collection from the last film I shot which illustrates how far this is throwing me off my game ( I usually get 1 or 2 of these type of shots a roll but this is seriously a new record low for 1 roll of film. At least the exposures were all pretty good). 🙂
Maybe I should give up and take up something like synchronized swimming.
Camera Shake at its worst
Repeat after me “I must not walk and Shoot at the same time”
I admit that I re-shot this one and the shot was OK 🙂
Rolleiflex 2.8 E, Ilford HP5+ 400 ISO Film, CanoScan 9000F Scanner.
I’m really sorry you’re having a rough time. It’s great that you’re open about it though, and I think your project sounds totally cool.
Now, my advice is to be taken with a pinch of salt, as I’m not a prolific street shooter like you are, but when I do have to do something like that, these are the things I do:
I often shoot first, talk later.
I approach people by telling them about the work I’m doing, why I want to photograph them, and I give them a business card, which lets them contact me. I also carry a model release (a really simple one) so that I can have their contact details, and they can see I’m a professional, but not working for a paper.
More than anything though, I think what helps me is to treat every situation like it’s a job I’m doing for a client. That way, there isn’t a choice – I have to get the shots, so I have to do what it takes to get them. It gives me more confidence and kind of a reason, more than if I’m just playing around.
Be friendly, back away if they’re annoyed, offer to show / give them copies of the photos, and also the right of veto once they see them.
Most people are flattered if they think you are taking their picture because you think they have a beautiful face. Convince them of that, and you’re halfway there.
Good luck Simon. I love seeing your stuff – don’t stop shooting!
03/05/2011 at 13:13
Cheers Amber-Jayne. Your comments are great! It was kind of the way I was formulating to go about it but to have it reinforced is a really big help. Cheers 🙂
04/05/2011 at 12:13
Take me with you! I’ll do the talking and you can do the shooting!
03/05/2011 at 13:45
04/05/2011 at 12:14
No real advice I’m afraid, but love the honesty of this post. If nothing else keep documenting your failures, maybe that’s a path. 🙂
03/05/2011 at 15:31
Actually, one more thing. I really like that this is a story. Tell your story about how and why this is hard for you, why it’s important. That’s engaging, I like stories! Especially pictures with stories. 🙂
03/05/2011 at 15:32
Maybe I should concentrate more on writing 🙂 Requires less public interaction… Although street photography was a way for me to push those boundries…
04/05/2011 at 12:16
The only way is up 🙂
04/05/2011 at 12:14
Be sure things will get “better” . Been there done that.
For what its worth I really quite like the images you took during your black period.
Though it may not be apparent now I think you will ,some time in the future begin to appreciate these images more.
Remember photography is not a competition and you will always experience highs and lows but it’s not something to beat yourself up about. Its just a process. I met you on the street a couple of months ago and you had your baby with you in the back pack while you worked. I think that was kind of cool.
I watch and view your site frequently and I find you images always interesting so I hope you keep up the good work.
04/05/2011 at 12:39
I remember at the time being gutted but when I came back to the draft they didn’t seem so bad… I guess a lot has to do with state of mind 🙂
It was great meeting you and cheers for the advice… It is all appreciated 🙂
05/05/2011 at 11:23
EVERYTHING revolves around your state of mind and perspective on the world. Happiness is just a state of mind ….But so is sadness. So we have a choice. I make my choice and you can make yours…
16/05/2011 at 17:42
Hmmmm… Not sure I agree…but then that’s my decision also 🙂 I think I’m more of a “chemical imbalance in the brain” kind of person
19/05/2011 at 14:18
I think that street photography has two elements that I have seen, you can be very interactive with the subjects thereby getting them relaxed or you can go strictly candid. I’ve seen both methods work for people. Like you, I am not very “people oriented” so I am hesitant about talking to people, good thing I don’t bill myself as a street photographer!
I’ve seen my friend Nikhil work these angles, and I can tell you that if you want to get started with the whole interaction method, the easiest way to ease into it is to pick very public people who are already interactive with people, like vendors! They deal with people everyday, buy something from them, strike up a conversation about the product and then express an interest in taking their photo “on the job”, if they agree, even volunteer to bring them back a print.
Good Luck Simon!
21/06/2011 at 03:27
But just have fun!
21/06/2011 at 03:54
23/06/2011 at 13:53
Cheers Michael. Although Im not in this head-space any more I still struggle to go up to people but Im not too worried about it. It seems to have faded and Im sure it will just happen one day and I will go from there 🙂
23/06/2011 at 13:52