What exactly is Street Photography? It is something we easily throw out there but that we equally struggle with to define. Wikipedia's definition is: a style of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations in public situations such as streets, parks, beaches, etc... No it doesn't necessarily need to be shot on a street! Probably the most known and important Street Photographer was Henri Cartier-Bresson. A link to his best known work can be found here.
My personal definition of Street Photography is when a photographer tries to capture a daily person(s) life without making them pose and often by shooting candid images. Although not a must, Black and White is well suited for Street Photography, especially when shooting mid-day in harsh light. A large city like Beijing is ideal for this kind of photography.
Street Photography is easy and difficult. Easy because you find your subject virtually everywhere, difficult because the line of only taking snapshots is very thin. A snap-shooter with a Leica is still a snap-shooter.
This female “Street Cleaner” at the entrance of the Forbidden City makes for a great “Street Photography” subject.
Plastic bottle collectors are very common in busy areas all over China. They survive by collecting as many bottles they can a day and then bring them to a recycle center in exchange for a little bit of money.
The moment this older bottle collector walked into the Badaling (Great Wall) train station, I knew I was in for some good shots. The expression on his face was just amazing. He managed to find quite a few bottles, some still containing a little bit of fluid, which he quickly drunk. Before walking away, someone gave him a cigarette, which he immediately lighted up. Clearly one of these moments where we feel how lucky we are!
The last three images were not shot by my trusty Nikon D700 but with my compact Canon G9, ideal for the candid work and proof one does not need the most expensive camera to walk away with a good shot! After all, the photographer makes the image not the camera!
Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: “Photographers are like butterflies. They fly from flower to flower”. Be a butterfly!