Throughout my street photography project, I was quite excited to try new things and attempt to take on street photography as a whole as I have never really done a lengthy project before. Primarily, I was very nervous to start my shoot and felt very weary of myself and my camera when exploring Bristol, however after a couple of hours exploring I felt a lot more comfortable and more willing to take photographs of anyone that was relevant to my assignment. Before deciding what I initially wanted to focus my project on, I went through many different ideas of what I wanted to capture, such as the food culture, People reading, People waiting, (by platforms or for buses etc) as well as people through reflections. Before deciding what I wanted to focus my assignment on I decided to do some research on photographers who have explored all areas of street photography, and also get to know the town I was shooting in – so I would have a better understanding as to what the town / city had to offer.
After doing some research, I decided on looking at “people through reflections” where I can capture people eating, reading or shopping through shop windows or anything that reflects. I decided to go to Bristol as I know it has quite a big town center where there are a variety of eateries, shops and quirky little places I can photograph people and also add a new element into my photography with the different types of pop-up shops and food trucks that Bristol has to offer. After looking at photographers like Jean Bourcat and Nick Turpin I gained quite a few ideas of what I could focus on and how I can create different types of shots and experiment with my camera, rather than just simple reflections. When photographing Bristol, I decided to bring both my long and prime lens so I can take pictures from far park benches where people might not know I was photographing them and also capture close-up reflections shots with my prime 50mm lens. However, I did find it quite difficult to use my prime lens as I felt very weary of myself when trying to get close-up shots as I got close to the shop windows etc which made me stand out to the public, so I opted for using my longer lens when photographing as I could do it from afar in a ‘peeping Tom’ style, where some of my subjects would not know I was photographing them, which allowed me to get very candid natural shots as they did not realise they were being photographed.
After my first short shoot, I got to know Bristol quite well and know where I wanted to do my main shoots and where long shop windows were. After exploring, I decided to sit on a bench by a fountain where there was a very long shop window that was quite clear from sticker advertisements and reflected many benches and different eateries that were behind me. This shop window was a prime place where I photographed as I could sit and use my long lens to capture the people behind me, who might not know I was photographing them – which allowed me to capture candid moments of mundane events. After going back to Bristol a second and third time, I allowed myself to sit in different places from ten to 20 minutes to capture different people eating, reading or shopping within Bristol, making myself move around allowed me to explore more or Bristol and not let myself sit in one place for too long which could end up in very similar images.
One of the hardest things I had to overcome was self-editing while on location as I kept not letting myself photograph certain people or things that I thought might not be interesting or relevant enough to my assignment, whereas they could have been good shots that could have added to my contact sheet or added to my final edit. While editing my images into my final edit of 20 and 6, I found it very difficult to see which images were focused and which images were not, as some reflectors can make the reflections quite blurry or fuzzed, which made it really hard for me to edit down to my final 26. I also think if I could have done a better job with my assignment if I practiced using my prime lens more on location and before a shoot as I feel I could have gotten more close-up and artistic shots. I would have also liked to go to Bristol or areas around Bristol a couple more times to capture people in different places than just the high street as I feel my shots got more and mote repetitive. I also would have liked to experiment with shooting into cars and buses as I really like Jean Bourcat’s ‘Traffic” project where he captured people waiting in traffic in NYC and doing more close up shots like Lee Friedlander.
However, I really did enjoy trying street photography as I have always been too shy and reserved when it came to photographing people, as I found it quite intimidating. However, after a while, I became very comfortable with my camera and the people on the streets of Bristol. As a whole, I am really happy how my final edits came out and I would definitely try street photography again, and try different techniques and styles. I feel this assignment has opened me up to a whole new style of photography, and has allowed me to become more comfortable with my camera