Street Photography 101: Be a fisherman

I’ve never really seen the point of fishing as a hobby. It seems to involve lots of standing around waiting, often in ‘variable’ weather conditions (i.e. p***ing down with rain) and with the only reward at the end of the day a story about ‘the one that got away’. Never really thought much of it that is until I realised that actually that’s what we do a lot as street photographers. Literally just that: waiting, often in ‘variable’ weather conditions (i.e. p***ing down with rain) and with the only reward at the end of the day a story about ‘the one that got away’.

Being a ‘fisherman’ is a well-known technique in street photography. It goes like this…

Whilst walking around your favourite, village, town, city you come across a scene that looks visually or compositionally interesting but is not quite ‘complete’. There is something missing, usually a person or people, that if they were to enter your frame would would add that missing element which would create the image that your minds eye desires. In order to achieve this however, you need to wait. You need to be patient, sometimes maybe for hours, just like the fisherman does, until your ‘catch’ comes along.

This picture is an example of being a fisherman.

“Stranded Liners”, Broadsands, Devon, 2021 (Fujifilm X-Pro3, XF35mm F2, 1/1000s @ f/8, ISO 320)

This is a beach called Broadsands in Devon. During the Coronavirus pandemic there have been a number of larger cruse liners parked up in this bay, waiting for the time when they can be filled with passengers and can set sail to exotic locations once again. On this day there were two boats out at sea on the horizon. I thought it could make an interesting image but was definitely missing some foreground interest. It was an overcast day so not too many people were on the beach but eventually a man came along with two small children who were hunting for shells. I liked the fact they were intent on their mission of looking for shells whilst in the background were these two huge ships that once were taking people to faraway beaches where the weather was no doubt a little warmer and also full of shells.

Compositionally this works quite well as it adopts the rule of thirds with the ship and boys positioned at intersections of the upper right and lower left thirds as well as the beach line and horizon laying nicely across the horizontal lower and upper thirds of the image. Getting a satisfying composition like this is another advantage of fishing for your shot – you have time to frame and compose your image to just how you want it.

Go to previous Street Photography 101 post.

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