Street photography can mean different things to different people. Some photographers are looking to capture the scene, others, the individual and some looking to create something that makes no sense out of the context of the image. That's the beauty of street photography. There aren't really any rules meaning each individual has the ability to show the streets from their own perspective. In fact street photography isn’t just another genre of photography, it’s something of its own entity. It was something that happened totally by accident for me, and has had captivated me ever since. It’s like an addiction, where I want to shoot all the time and never stray too far away from a camera.
My approach to shooting street, is going on my walk as if it's a new adventure every time. I may walk past the same place a thousand times, but the scene can always be different. I'm always scanning with my eyes and listening with my ears, hunting out the different and unlikely. I like to take my time and just wander around, I never have an exact area I stay in. I want to be the fly on the wall. I’d rather people not know I’m there. In my mind it preserves the scene as it actually happened. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way which is fine by me. If the situation calls for it, I will shoot from the hip or through the viewfinder depending on the situation or how I want the image to look. Street photography can be a great place for you to deliver a message or share your opinion on life. There is no judgment on it, no good or bad, you just shoot what your eyes see. It’s simply about taking a photo and capturing the moment, documenting life and all that’s around you. Every time I go out with my camera its always different and I learn something new. It’s an excuse to go anywhere, it makes you think more and see more. As famous photographer Diane Arbus once said “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photography them”
I take a lot of images and always connect back to the moment that I took it, I remember the thought process of seeing and capturing. It instantly takes me back and I get to take others with me and relive it. I try to make my images as interesting as possible. What I like to capture is people or situations that stand out, or better still the weird and wonderful. I'm always intrigued by strong characters in a combination of intense light and deep shadows, trying to isolate my subject in its environment. Also, mirrors and other reflections attract my attention. Finally, juxtaposition, or where two or more objects or situations contrast to make an interesting photo also gains my interest.
To combine all these elements into one single frame, this is my everyday pleasure. The future is what also makes street photography important because it makes these average everyday moments become a part of history. I never stop seeing, and don't ever want to stop shooting. It doesn't matter if you have a smartphone camera, a super expensive DSLR or a 50-year-old rangefinder, as long as the composition works and the image tells some sort of story, then you've managed to capture that moment.
One of the reasons why I love street photography so much is the fact that you will not be able to make the same creation twice. No one will ever capture that moment again. When you see something unique or a special moment, you have to be ready to push the shutter button immediately. One second too late and the moment has gone. There is no second chance…….
All photos by Chris Toombes (City Street Photos) copyrighted 2019
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Canadian Photographer’s Rights & Responsibilities
These guidelines are secondary to common sense, manners and respect.
You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, (i.e.) streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public places are all OK. Except where a specific law prohibits it generally a posted sign will advise, lack of sign does not ensure permission to photograph.
Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. (i.e.) private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, phone booths & etc.
Don’t confuse a ‘festival’ or similar event as a public place – paid admittance or not.
Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects in a PUBLIC setting are almost always permissible: accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities, children, celebrities, law enforcement officers, bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. – Don’t interfere or cause rescue delays of any incident.
Use common sense but remember.
When confronted, threatened with detention or the confiscation of equipment, ask the following questions:
Below is a quick guide that you can download and print. I'd always advise having a copy in your camera bag just in case. Demonstrating that you know your rights often defuses the situation as most security personnel, jobsworths and angry people don't know the laws regarding street photography.