On the street with a squinty eye


© photo by With a Squinty Eye

I took took to the streets today in attempt to move my current college exercise along. While I’m no stranger to street photography here in Ireland or abroad, I did (do…I’m standing in the middle of Temple Bar as I type) quickly realise that with 35mm film and a 50mm lens, the stakes change!

When you look back at great street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, it’s not that there’s less going on visually in today’s society (there’s more!) but people these days are more savvy, suspicious and generally have more self-awareness (apart from frantic shoppers and those with backpacks!). Plus, by definitions, we are not looking back on our current scenes with any nostalgia or with the same curiousity.

That and the speed at which you can operate a manual camera compared to a DSLR makes it a whole different ball game. Still being aware of the camera’s light meter, focusing and winding on the film means that a moment on a street becomes even more fleeting.

I had my get out clause prepared by mentioning ‘student’ and ’35mm film’ in attempt to assure anyone that the photos may be left in the darkroom floor (figuratively speaking if course!).

Also, I’ve found that there is a greater requirement to predict the future, to anticipate the next scene and see the photo before you can even take it.

It takes confidence at close range and a few self-defence classes may not go amiss while I’m learning to be sneaky candid!


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