Why do I Shoot Street Photography?

Why do I shoot street photography? It’s a question I get asked a lot. The truth is the answer has evolved over the 10 years I’ve been out on the street making photographs. 

Starting Street Photography

I began shooting street photography somewhere between 2011 and 2012. That’s a good 10 years out in the real world, respectfully documenting the lives of the people that make it. Like many others, shooting street photography wasn’t an active choice; that’s largely because I didn’t know what it was back then. 

When I first got my hands on a camera, I lived on the doorstep of a large city center. Without having much thought, I naturally gravitated to the streets and began creating pictures. I wish I still had those photos. No doubt they were terrible, but they were the first steps towards the life I live today. 

I remember the feelings I had during that time. It felt free and liberating to roam the streets during the summer, documenting what I saw with my camera and forgetting time existed. Street photography was one of the few things that allowed me to enjoy both the process and the outcome equally. In fact, I’d say I enjoy the process even more than the outcome, that’s including when I got a “good” shot. 

Those were the early days, comparable to the infatuation stage of a romantic relationship. Street photography could do no wrong, and I loved every part of it. Of course, blinded romance doesn’t last forever, and it’s impossible to sustain the initial buzz. Instead, it must evolve into something else for us to stick with a particular practice for a long time. 

So why do I still shoot street photography? 

Street Photography Teaches me About New Places 

I’ve long thought photographers have a certain advantage when it comes to discovering new places. Whether it be a new country, a new town, or a different area in your city, shooting street photography forces you to pay attention differently. 

Street photographers don’t just go to the popular tourist spots and take a quick snapshot on their cellphone. We spend hours roaming the streets, going down the side streets, the wrong turns, and places tourists don’t tend to go.

Being observant allows us to understand cultures better. It lets us grasp the history of the place we are visiting. Because of street photography, I’ve fully integrated myself into the places I go; I love that.

Street Photography Brings me Closer to Others

Despite being a somewhat isolating genre of photography, street photography allows me to get closer to others. There’s a certain honor and privilege that comes with being a street photographer, in my opinion, at least.
You get to observe emotions, physical behaviors, and cultural trends. Even though I seldom speak to my subjects, I always feel like we have a connection. When I view my archives, I feel a strong bond with the people in my images. Making the photographs and then viewing them at a later date gives me a positive outlook on humanity. The process allows me to see the good in people, in communities, and in cultures.

Street Photography Makes me Confident 

Having a passion and constantly practicing a craft is attractive. People show an interest in people who have carved out a craft and made it part of their identity.

I’ve traveled to many parts of the world with my camera, always shooting street photography. People love to listen to my stories–the good and the bad.

Is part of that driving my ego? Probably. But not in an unhealthy way. Street photography doesn’t make me think I’m above anyone or more important than others. However, it does give me confidence in who I am and what I’m capable of doing in this life. 

It Still Allows me to Forget Time Exists 

Even after doing this for over a decade, street photography is still my favorite pastime. I love switching off my cellphone, packing my camera bag, and walking for hours photographing what I see on the streets.
My style has evolved over the years, as has my motivation to shoot. But that foundations have remained as true and as solid as they were 10 years ago.
Street photography gives me a reason to get up every morning. It’s the reason I love life and the motivator that keeps me creating and experiencing this world. 

Why do you shoot street photography? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

You can see more of my work via my Instagram.

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