Hello friend! This is part two of my series on street photography in different cities. If you haven't read part one I recommend you start with that one first.
small towns are serene
I love the small town. I love it despite the fact that it’s only really a suburb with no more than a handful of stores and residencies. I love this place because wherever you go there’s almost always a great view of the Humber river. I think growing up in Halifax has made me addicted to being around large bodies of water. There’s just something so calming about being around something bigger than you, something that you have no control over, something that you can’t even imagine how to overtake. But I digress this post is about street photography.
Despite the fact that there are very few people populating this area I still manage to find inspiration to take photographs every time I go out and shoot. "The more I take photographs the more I realize that it doesn’t matter where you are." -John Free. In my previous post I mentioned how Joel Maeyerowitz once said that photographing in a city was like approaching a sea of life. If New York is a sea of life then Corner Brook is a shallow creek. That being said if you get manage keep your eyes open, and you’re receptive to the what’s around you, you can still find the occasional oyster with a pearl.
mindset is what's most important
I find that despite the fact that there are less people around, I’m not necessarily getting less photographs compared to a large city. What I am finding is that I need to change my mindset when photographing here as compared to the cities such as Halifax, San Francisco or New York. In the highly populated cities you need to be quick, ready for anything, always anticipating the next moment. You need to realize that there are distractions everywhere and you need to be constantly cutting away from those distractions in order to make a good photograph. In the small city doing street photography is more like a long meditative walk. Remember that the scenery will change slowly, you’re probably going to have to compose your back layer first and wait for your subject to enter the frame. You’re probably going to come face to face with your subject, it’s inevitable in such a small town. You have much less anonymity here compared to the large cities where you can easily blend into the crowd.
Growing as a photographer
I find that even though my photographs are certainly less stimulating than the photographs taken with a dozen people well composed in the frame, I feel as though my work has become better than the work that I’ve done when I was living in Halifax. This is undoubtedly due to me simply being a more focused and dedicated photographer, but I also can’t help but feel as though the act of living in a small town has changed my entire mindset on photography. I used to get upset when I didn’t have a good photograph after a day of trying, now I just feel as though that’s a normal part of the game. Perhaps this is just because I’m getting older, less childish, and less whiny with my abilities as a photographer. But maybe there’s more to it than that. Maybe the act of putting myself in a small town without constant stimulus has been good for my mental health and expectations. Maybe accepting the fact that not a lot goes on has made me more appreciative of the small things in life that do contain beauty, or do contain something interesting enough to photograph.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts on what it’s like photographing small towns and big cities. I hope this has helped you understand a bit about what it’s like being a street photographer in different locations.