As a general rule, I don’t like to engage with street photography subjects before taking their photographs. I believe that good street photography is candid street photography. However, I’m a photographer and I realize not all photography I shoot on the street is street photography. There are times that I need to engage with a subject before taking their photographs. As a rule, I will engage with a subject prior to taking their photograph when taking their photograph either puts me or them in harm’s way.
Take the images above for instance… I was photographing at a skate park and in order to get the shot I had visualized, I would have to get into one of the pool looking cement depressions and shoot upwards (I’m sure there is a cool skater name for it but I’m not a cool skater). This could easily put me right in the path of the girl coming down towards me and easily injure her, me, or both of us. Yet, I wanted the shot. My mind’s eye had already created it and I knew it was a once in a lifetime shot. When would be the next time I would come across a woman with the same tattoos, the same socks, the same red skates, and the same sunglasses just practicing headstands at a skate-park (never). So I broke my rule and approached her with a business card and asked to take a few photos of her that I would happily share with her, she obliged.
Had I planned this shot, had I known her, I’d have done some fashion fine art shots with her. As it was, I got about six shots of her and her ride appeared so she had to bolt. So there you have it, it’s okay to break rules from time to time as long as your honest with yourself and others (e.g. don’t tell people something is candid when it is not in this case).
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