During my time in San Francisco attending StreetFotoSF, I was reminded of the importance of human gesture. It was something that I found of particular importance both in my own 2-day workshop as well as the Cage Match, where I and three other photographers critiqued images.
Whether images were sloppily or exactingly composed, a thing that often stood out was the lack of a genuinely human moment. Though street photography often revolves around the presence of people, there can be a surprising absence of an element that reveals a sense of that humanity such as an expression of emotion, of relationship or vulnerability. There is no doubt as to the challenge of capturing such moments, but the lack of it was something that stood out for me and some of the other photographers that I spoke with over the week.
It was at the forefront of my mind as I set out to make images. I was confident in my ability to utilize light and shadow, line and shape, and color for my compositions. I knew that I could produce an image that was built on a solid composition. However, the challenge was seeing and capturing a genuine sense of humanity in a well-crafted photograph. The difficulty in doing so gave me a greater appreciation for those photographers who regular capture such a sensibility in their photographs.
The choice fo photograph on a busy street makes the chance of capturing such a moment all the more challenging as most people are just walking to get from one destination to another. They are often lost in thought or the ever-present glow of their smartphones. Moments were people are reacting and interacting with each other seem a like a rare thing and thus require a keen eye to both recognize and to capture.
Despite the challenge, I embrace the difficulty and welcome the challenge to capture such moments each time I venture out to make a photograph. Though I will continue to produce images that are largely about light, and shape and color, I will always be on the hunt for the moment that can contribute something genuine to such explorations of space and thus produce something that is truly beautiful and exceptional and human.