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  • Finn Calander

To Think or Not to Think in Street Photography

Womans leg on pavement (Fujifilm X100, 1/950 sec, f:11, ISO 1600

Some days when I go out on the streets with the intention to do some street photography, I return home disappointed. Nothing interesting has happened. Nothing different from the everyday, has occurred. Nothing to photograph. Today I met up with a friend and had a couple of beers at a nice place called Picnic here in Uppsala. After a while my wife joined us and we had a nice time together until it was time for our friend to catch the train home. When we left our friend and Picnic, the wife and I walked home. I had my Fujifilm X100 at the ready, so I took some shots on the fly as it were. When shooting these, I didn't really think before pressing the shutter button – I just followed my "gut reactions" as we walked homewards.

Man at outdoor restaurant (Fujifilm X100, 1/1100 sec, f:11, ISO 1600

I didn't frame any of the shots; I had the camera in my hand and just aimed the lens as well as possible and pressed the button (zone focussing). Bam! Picture taken. At home, when I looked at the files, I was surprised. Some shot were just crap, as you would imagine, but some I found were rather good. Better than some shots I have been shooting "consciously".

Young girl behind mothers black coat (Fujifilm X100, 1/1250 sec, f:8, ISO 1600

So, is there a "moral" to learn from this experience? Maybe so. To my mind the "street photography moral" is as follows. If you find a scene and you've got the time to wait for the the right pieces of a composition to fall into place, good. Think about it. Press the shutter button as the right moment occurs. But, if you haven't got neither the scene nor the time, go into "reptile brain mode" and just fire away as your instinct tells you. You may be in for some surprises...

Couple (Fujifilm X100, 1/40 sec, f:5.6, ISO 1600

And, remenber, "sharpness is a bourgeois concept" (Henri Cartier-Bresson)...

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