Photo by The Sartorialist
Street style photography is an interesting thing.
It would seem that taking random pictures of strangers is generally frowned upon. However with photographers and blogs such as The Sartorialist, Tommy of Jak and Jil, Copenhagen based The Locals, miss Hanneli Mustaparta, and even our very own street style photographer Brian of Dirty Richmond, it is a very common and widespread thing now a days.
I haven't been doing much street style photography as of late. Not since last Fall really. And even then it wasn't very much.
I've really been missing it actually.
I first got into it when I was presented with the opportunity to do street style photography for From the Runway to RVA last May. I had never done anything like it before and, after getting over my first initial timidity, I loved it. It definitely took practice though. The more I did it and the more I went up to people and asked if I could take their picture, the easier it came.
Of course it's hard because the part of Richmond I live in you don't really come across... stylish people per say, very often.
And it's not so pretty and artistic to ask that one cutely dressed girl you happen to see if you can snap her photo in the Target parking lot.
So I always have to first drive to a location before I can actually find some good subjects. Which always kinda takes a little bit of the fun out of it for me. I
But that's really no excuse.
RVA is chocked full of stylish and unique ladies and gentleman. I mean we do have the number one art school in America after all.
Street style photography can be hard in other ways though. I often have to get into the groove of it before it comes a little more naturally. I just always feel bad asking someone if I can take their photo. I feel like I'm invading their space or something. Which I am, kind of, but in all the time I've done it I've only had maybe two or three negative reactions.
Most people are flattered and humbled by it. It's just hard to get past that first initial awkwardness sometimes.
Then of course there's the issue of being with people when I do it.
I just cannot shoot on the street when I'm with a friend.
I get too distracted and I can't pay attention, and I more often then not have to interrupt them and the conversation we're having to run after the guy with the bow tie and leather penny loafers.
But there are other times where I'm just plain intimidated.
In fact that happened a lot when I was over in England and Scotland.
I think that had to do mostly with the fact that I didn't want to come off as an obnoxious American tourist and I was very much in awe of everything and it was all so new that I felt pretty intimidated by a lot of things. Let alone going up to some stranger and asking if I could take their photo.
I do remember this one time though, I was in Edinburgh and I was walking with my friend back to her flat and we were waiting on the curb to cross the street and this girl walks up. She was probably in her mid to late twenties, and she had the most simple yet beautiful outfit on. A gorgeous dark green wool coat with brown leather shoes, a dark cropped hair style with bangs (or shall I say fringe) and a cute tote bag.
Oh how I wanted to take her picture.
She was beautiful, and with the rainy overcast look of the day and pretty buildings, I couldn't have asked for a better backdrop. However she was close to me and it would have been awkward to for me to pull up my camera, in her face, and take a photo. And when she crossed the street to the right, in front of us, the perfect shot, I hesitated too long and missed my opportunity.
Still regret it to this day.
That may be silly to most of you, but there's just something about capturing people in their natural every day state of life that I really love.
Which is what true street photography is about I think. Not just capturing stylish people wearing unique and pretty clothes, but the ordinary normal people doing their every day normal thing. There's something in that that's simply beautiful, and I really want to get better at capturing it in a way that lets others see that.
So, all that being said, I've been thinking about doing some street style here on the blog more.
What say you all?
P.s. The above photo is one of my all time favorites.
I want to dress like that every day of my life.