Street Portraits are Stressful….. for me!

There, I said it all. No need in fact to continue rambling about this.

For me, Street Portraits are stressful. Period!

I’m already quite ill at ease when making photos in the streets, a least when there’s people in the frame and said people are the main subject. Always shy and fearful of confrontations. That’s me.

So why do I continue, on and off, to make street photos? And Street Portraits?gart2-004

Well, I like it. When I’m out with a camera, walking the city and I get really into the mojo, start loving the street, loving the people, seeing them interact with others, I can overcome my fear. I confront myself and tell myself: <<Go ahead, that’s what you like to do!>>gart2-014

And ten there are the real street portraits, those where you simply have to interact with strangers. And that’s a whole different affair.

In all my ‘photography career’ I have only made a handful of those Street Portraits, if I’m honest. And those were made under duress. It was in fact when I was involved in that TV contest last year.gart2-018

No choice but to comply with the rules and go ahead. Stressful indeed!

But very gratifying at the same time. I went up to interesting people, engaged them in a conversation and just asked them if I could.. And they were mostly willing.

Is this my style of photography? Yes and no.fra%cc%88nk-3

When I’m in the right mood I love street photography. But there are times when I am not really disposed to like people. That happens… hopefully to more people than me. I don’t want to come over as a hopeless sociopath.

So when the time, the seasons, the weather or whatever is right and I have that silly smile on my face, I love to do street photography and even street portraits.fra%cc%88nk-2

But other days I prefer to see frames without people. Those days I simply can’t bring myself to raise the camera in certain situations. So no, I’m not a real street photographer. I just dabble in the art, sometimes, rarely.

Most days I see other stuff, I see lines, shadows, light and structures but no people.170402 - Leica IIIa - Ilford HP5 (30)

Why is this? For me, the best explanation is that I’m hopelessly shy and mosty can’t overcome that barrier unless I get the mojo working as the great Muddy Waters said!

So I guess I’ll dabble on and turn out some acceptable street photography from time to time. Other days will be photography time too, but devoid of humans.

Hope you’ll come back anyways to see some photos here!

Thanks for visiting!

16 thoughts on “Street Portraits are Stressful….. for me!

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  1. Some great images there. I’m the same about street photography, can’t find the nerve to go up and ask people if I can take their photo, so I shoot from the hip, which normally means everything is at an alarming angle.


  2. Frank, I would say you easily qualify as a street photographer. I like your shots here, number 2 is my favorite.
    I am the same way, reluctant. I am always surprised when people say yes for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Years ago I lived in Manhattan and was surrounded by photographers “shooting street.” So I joined in and took a few pictures of strangers in Central Park. Some of the pictures were pretty good, but what was I to do with them? I take pictures to share with family and friends, not to hang in shows, enter in contests, or try to sell. I made some prints of my “street” pictures but, having nobody to whom I wanted to show them, I eventually threw them away. Since then I take no pictures with recognizable people in them unless at least one of those people is a friend or a relative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Strange but I hardly photograph friends and family. Part of the reason might be that as soon as I show up with a camera they shrink away. Camera shy bunch…

      Then again it’s just not my thing. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of photos of my family…. not good!


  4. The best of these are excellent portraits Frank. I too don’t have the nerve for such portraits, and have very mixed feelings about the invasion of privacy. If I’m out somewhere minding my own business, I don’t really want someone coming up and taking pictures.

    Did you see Wouter’s post about GDPR? Not something I’d considered (outside of my day job) but it is of course relevant for anyone taking street portraits and then sharing them – you are sharing someone’s personal data, ie their face.


    1. Sure, it’s invasive. But then again I find this GDPR, like everything coming from high up these days, completely over the top.

      The existing laws and rules, if applied properly would have been very much OK. But as always when something happens we get a hysteric over-reaction. Over regulation.

      But then again with the state of humanity these days we can’t appeal to common sense any more.

      Brave new World indeed…


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