A Stroll or a Project
Photographers are everywhere today. And that’s good! But, when they’re out taking photos, are they on a stroll or a project? I find my purpose or intent changes.
The photos in this post are an example of what I get on a stroll. I went with Judy who had a meeting in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago and figured I’d just walk around and observe. Though I have lived in Chicagoland my entire life, I had no preconception of what I would or could photograph in this neighborhood. That is, I wasn’t sure what scenes I’d find, how I’d be “received” by the people, where the activity was most apparent, etc. I ended up with a bunch of eclectic photos that I really liked…this post just represents a small sample! The image above (and below) are pretty typical of what I had in my mind. That is, beautiful buildings and homes with residents strolling on the sidewalks. With both photos, I picked a spot in front of what I considered to be a nice looking home and waited for someone to stroll into my composition. No conversations, per se…I just smiled as the person passed by.
As I walked along, I couldn’t help but notice that there are a ton of dog walkers in the neighborhood. Not surprising, given the “sidewalk nature” of the area. I started wondering if I was on a stroll or a project because dog walkers could be a good theme. (See above and below, for examples.) To some photographers and people interested in photography, themes can be more appealing. They can provide a focus (excuse the pun) for the photographer…a justification, so to speak, for walking around with a camera.
On the other hand, concentrating on a particular subject or topic may take away or interfere with other potential scenes like the one below. I was just standing by the intersection and I saw this group approaching. They looked so quaint and sweet! I took a couple of photos as they approached, but I preferred the atmosphere, so to speak, as they walked away down the tree lined sidewalk. To me, it screamed for a black and white treatment.
I was still thinking to myself, at this point, if I was on a stroll or a project. But, I clearly determined I didn’t want or need a narrow topic this day. I frequently am very happy and content just walking around with my camera and letting things unfold in front of me.
Here (below) are a couple of photos I consider “street photography” or “street portraits.” I really enjoy taking this kind of photo. I like being in the moment, trying to capture a slice of life. And I like getting people into the images…adds so much context and flavor.
Finally, it’s always fun to find interesting buildings or artifacts. This image, below, was apparent to me from quite a distance. I kept my eye on it as I walked closer and felt that the composition had some interesting graphic elements and interest.
And you always have to keep your eyes open for a bit of whimsy! (see below)
Gotta go back to this neighborhood! And now that I’ve spent some time strolling about, it might be fun to have a theme (hmm…what should it be? Dogs, cigarette smokers, people using cell phones, etc.???). Though whether it’s a stroll or a project, it’s always fun for me!
Thanks for stopping by!
Stephen M. Levin
Facebook – @stephenmlevinphotography
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