Hello everyone again!
I apologize for not posting for such a long time. I’ve been trying to commit to posting every week, but I’ve been swamped with school and church work.
I wanted to share with you guys the challenges I face when I shoot street photography in Atlanta, but I also hope to give you guys some possible solutions. Again, this is only my personal opinion and you might find other ways of handling these challenges.
1. Lack of people walking the streets
Atlanta is known to be one of the most car dependent cities in America which equates to a large lack of people walking around the streets. Unlike New York City, there aren’t large crowds of people to cover or hide you when photographing, so of course, this makes it hard to be confrontational or get pictures of people’s faces.
solution: I found that shooting around universities really help. Universities such as Georgia Tech and Emory bring students from all over the country, so there are lots of different kinds of people who have different styles and cultures. Also, try shooting during rush hours or lunch and dinner times. Atlanta is a big corporate city so there are many office workers who go out to eat lunch and commute back and forth from the suburbs.
2. Finding interesting things to shoot
When people think of street photography, they think of interesting subjects around the streets. Maybe street performers or protests. I find that generally Atlanta is a peaceful city apart from the insane traffic we get.
solution: Shoot in the more interesting or different parts of the city. Atlanta can be divided up into several districts like Midtown, Downtown, Little Five, Highland, Buckhead, etc etc. Try shooting in the more diverse and emerging areas rather than sticking to the main street of Peachtree St. Perhaps there are absolutely no people where you are. I went to downtown Orlando last summer, and literally, there were no people walking in the streets. My suggestion would be to find interesting objects or buildings that catch your eye. Maybe take on a modernist approach and look at the line, shape, and form of things.
3. Courage to confront people
I struggle with this too. Often I hear people say how if a professional street photographer from NY shot in a city like Detroit or St. Louis, somewhere where crime is a lot more common, that the photographer would instantly get punched in the face. True, cities like NY and LA have pretty liberal and lenient people living there. They’re used to crazy and unique things happening on a day to day basis.
solution: I encourage everyone to practice shooting people confrontationally without asking for their permission. Asking for permission ruins the moment. Shoot more. The more you shoot, the more experienced and comfortable you’ll be at doing it. I won’t say you won’t have altercations, but chances are it’ll only be a few rude words thrown at you and you’ll be on your way. Know your rights! As a citizen, you are allowed to shoot other people in public areas such as sidewalks and parks. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
I hope these tips help. I’m no professional myself, but look on Youtube at photographers like Eric Kim and see their approach. Take memory notes and adapt it to your liking. Good luck shooting. I hope to make a new posts on my equipment that I use and why I shoot film soon!