Street photography requires a great deal of patience and resilience. You can easily spend a whole day tramping the streets and come back home with precisely nothing, zero, zilch – no ‘keeper’ images whatsoever. It’s one of the downsides of the genre and something you’ll have to get used to as a street photographer.
Sometimes though you capture something without realising it.
Earlier this month (June, 2022) was the Queens Platinum Jubilee here in the UK commemorating 70 years of her reign. Numerous celebrations were planned and whilst most inevitably took place in London, other regional events were happening as well. Unfortunately, this being Britain, the weather was not going to fall in line and produce glorious sunshine on demand! I decided to visit Birmingham, where some festivities were planned in and around the city centre, however the day I went was very mixed with numerous rain showers putting a literal damper on events.
I hung around one of the central squares in the city centre where a temporary marquee had been erected hosting a number of live bands as well as benches to encourage people to sit and watch the proceedings. I’d hoped to get some street images capturing the spirit of the day but the bad weather meant all but the diehard royalists turned out. I snapped various images trying find something of interest including a few of some men who were clearly “merry” from a few too many cans of lager. I would not normally take these kind of images but, to be honest, was getting pretty desperate. Deciding there was nothing of consequence going to happen and having spent several hours wondering around I decided to give up and head for home.
Thinking I had not captured anything of note I did not even bother to offload the images from my camera until a few days afterwards and even then only gave them a cursory look before assigning them to my ever growing archive of images that could have been. I often wonder how many of the street photography greats have such an archive and how many images they contain?
Finally however, on a dull day with not much else to do, I returned to these images and discovered the above. Now, let’s be clear, this is not by any stretch of the imagination the greatest street photograph ever taken however I love the juxtaposition of the two drunks singing along to whatever music was being played and the guy in the sunglasses (not sure why he had those) with the camera around his neck and the disapproving sideways glance. I’m not sure if the woman in front is his partner but she is clearly intent on looking doggedly ahead and ignoring the raucous men.
When I took this picture I only saw the two guys singing but the 18mm (27mm full frame equivalent) also captured the passersby whom a longer focal length would probably have cut out.
So, what’s the moral of this post? As the title suggests always examine all of your images and sometimes, doing so after a short period of maturation might help you see things you otherwise would have missed or interpret what you see in a different way.
Also, consider lenses such as the 18mm/27mm I used here to capture a wider angle of view. With modern sensors a 50% crop if you need to zoom in during post-processing is rarely a problem, especially for web or social media posting.