Summer Street Portraits

99% of the time when shooting on the street, I hit the shutter unannounced, completely candid. When I fist started, not asking was this moral operative that somehow purified my practice, as if the Street Photography God was watching and doling out brownie points. Kind of weird, I know, but I was new to the genre and wanted to adhere to its rules as I perceived them — “I insist you take me seriously!”

I’ve loosened up a little since, hallelujah, now occasionally first asking a subject to make a portrait. I’d classify it as “Street Portraiture,” something I consider wholly separate from Street Photography, but certainly related and adjacent (and certainly worth exploring as a self-identified “street photographer”).

Six Street Portraits This Summer

1 & 2: Candid First, Ask Second

For the first two photos, I had taken a wider one at first candidly, then wanting to get closer and snap another, I explained myself and what I wanted to do. Both gentleman were agreeable and friendly, something that I always find enriches the experience.

4: Slow Shutter

The fourth portrait is perhaps stretching the “street” classification—I was at a concert and spotted her in the front row—but she was a stranger and I simply asked her to stand as she had been, bathed in that beautiful concert lighting, when making it. I purposefully turned off the flash (the default setting of my point and shoot film camera, the Olympus Mju II, is completely automatic and often fires a fill flash even in daylight) so as to ensure a slow shutter speed and the resultant light trails and effects.

5: Vape Request

For the fifth portrait, I was meandering in the thick of the shenanigans that concentrate at North Avenue Beach come Fourth of July. I saw her vaping, but missed a candid photo of her exhaling. I paused to see if she’d do it again, but she was done. I figured, why not just ask her to? That she was looking very attractive in a bikini certainly wasn’t a deterrent to engaging. She cooperated perfectly, and was flattered by the whole thing.

“Waiting for my Uber,” is what he told me after I took this. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? I’m certainly taking to this new one called Street Portraits.

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