First of all my street photography is for 99% unposed and candid. Of course once in a while a street photo can be semi posed when a person notice you and react on your present and these moments can give a beautiful street photograph. Some purists will call these moment of contact a street portrait and not street photography. In my humble opinion these moments are just like pure candid ones street photographs. When does it stop to be street photography when you ask people to make a pose for a portrait. Of course it can be strangers on the street and of course it can be beautiful street portraits but in my personal opinion it isn’t street photography anymore.
But why this blog about posed or candid. I posted this photograph of a man sitting on a bench with a “panther” breathing in his neck in a street photography pool on Facebook and someone reacted “posed not candid”. Of course I reacted with an explanation that this shot wasn’t posed and this shot was caught in the moment. After this explanation this person still didn’t believe me and reacted “and you want us to believe he was just sitting there” and called it BS. My only reaction was, people tend to sit on seats while waiting on a metro. So fair chance that someone is sitting there. In the end it’s all up to the person if he believes me or not but his comment made me think about certain photographs I took over the last few months. To be honest I can understand that people sometimes can think “yeah this picture is too good to be true or they think it’s posed or staged”. To be honest when I started with street photography I came across photos of well known street photographers were I also thought how did he or she make this image. After nine years of practice I make those special moments myself once in while. A street photography day is on average 20 km’s of walking hoping for a special moment and if that moment comes, you still have to react and make that special photo. Quit often you don’t come across such moments and you only had a good exercise for that day with one or two ok photos. At the end it’s all about practice being on the street often and develop your instincts to spot those moments and learn how to react and at the end those special shots will come.
Another good example of a photograph that raised questions by viewers was the “Mind-blowing!!!” photograph I took of this girl in front of the Akira explosion. During my exhibition in Rotterdam this picture was one of the highlights and a lot of people couldn’t believe this was unposed and especially because her hairline was all most in line with the explosion. When I was in Tokyo, I planned to make some pictures at a wall full of cool Akira prints and I wanted to combine the prints with some street interaction of people in front of the prints. But I couldn’t wish for a result like this. It’s too good to be true and I can understand that people think this one is posed but I can guarantee you it isn’t. I snapped her at the right moment without thinking of a composition. My instinct took over and years of practicing and being on the street with a lot of failure made the difference for this shot. I believe two or three years ago I wouldn’t been able to make a picture like this
The last photograph I wanted to talk about is one I took in a museum in Hamburg this May. When I entered this part of the museum I was just flabbergasted what I saw and even I thought this moment was just too good to be true. A woman was sitting there with a yellow/black printed vest on and a painting with all most the same print. Even the shadows of the bench were matching with the lines on the painting. I didn’t had my camera with me and made a snap with my iPhone. Again I can understand that people can think this one is just staged but again I can guarantee you this was just the moment that occurred in front of my eyes. That’s the beauty of doing street photography, you never know what kind of special moments and surprises you come across. And sometimes it’s just too good to be true…..but believe me those moments can occur and then be prepared to make that special snap.