Nikon D750 and 'street photography'

All images and video below - Nikon D750 and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35MM F3.5-4.5G ED zoom lens.

The idea that you can't use a DSLR for 'street photography' is as preposterous as it is inaccurate. 

Below with the 'Stratford in 2 minutes' video (Also shot with the D750) I've tried to give an example of the circumstances in which I often work. This is the world famous tourist town of Stratford upon Avon on an afternoon in August (peak holiday time). This is me recording video footage as I walked back to where I parked. I decided to do this since the light was worse than my outward walk and I was also looking at what I would get if I just let the camera run permanently. Plus as indicated a way of giving you an idea of one of the locations I regularly shoot stock images in. 

shot with a Nikon D750

Like a lot of other stock photographers who shoot the kind of material I do, it's often the case that the same places get visited over and over again. The idea that all stock photoraphers are voraciously working their way through new locations on a daily basis is not one I've encountered. And I'm not sure what an 'If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium' approach would have on my sanity! Plus if I was unable to come up with something new every time I visited somewhere familiar, then I should probably seek alternative employment. Those 'street photographers' (the real ones!) who spent their time on the pavements of Paris and New York certainly found lots of inspiration in a familiar yet ever changing environment.

And Stratford upon Avon is part of my local environment to explore. As you will see from the video above it's often full of visitors and tourists, from all over the world and whatever the weather in the summer season, lots of people are walking around the place, giving lots of opprtunities to come up with pictures. It's also good practice for me. Can I 'see' a picture and can I capture it. And while a 'decisive moment' comes very rarely, there are plenty of opportunities to get plenty of specific and generic stock images. 

It's also an opportunity for me to try different post processing techniques on images. And you can see examples of the way I'm currently editing my images. Much more of a stylised approach than I've used before. As I've mentioned before, this kind of image is starting to sell and the more I do it, the better my sales. I still have no idea as to whether this kind of look has longevity, but currently it seems that for stock photography there are few rules that need to be adhered to. And as the internet becomes more and more the place to publish images and social media and all it's offshoots and influence becomes the place to see the new smartphone flavoured photography, then I'm beginning to think that from now on this variety and different style of working will become just one more option for those of us who make our living this way. 

And as I constantly bang on and on (and on and on and on and on.....) about, at least it's not some third rate copy of a style of photography that might have had relevance 60+ years ago, but now is just a pastiche riddled poor imitation of that. The fact that this is fuelled by the 'straight jacket' thinking on much of the photographic internet is one of my great disappointments. When I first started to take what the web offered in terms of photographers sharing images, techniques and experiences seriously, I was hopeful that this would be a positive thing. But as time passes I see it as becoming increasingly negative. It's full of cliches and the unimaginitive repetition of the same kind of philosophy and practice that I saw in photography magazines of the 1980's when I was starting out as a serious photographer. There is little attempt to fully embrace digital photography and the constant referring back to the catechisms of SLR film photography is dispiriting. Not, I have to say, helped by the writings of some of the most visited internet journalists, who seem loathe to upset or challenge their readers. The rule is - write it enough times and it becomes the 'truth' or at least what passes for that elusive concept on the photographic internet. 

And that is certainly the case for 'street photography' these days. Occasionally I see something new and unfortunately somewhat rarely I see images shot on the pavements of the world that inspire me and make me look again. But this is only here and there and far from commonplace. And despite it's claims to the contrary my concern is that the internet (at least the part that deals with photography) promotes conformity over creativity and the status quo (or the photographic internets version of that) over some kind of 'new frontier.'

Plus I have to say that I'm of the opinion that the photographic internets influence on the standard of photography has diminished rather than enhanced it. I'm hopeful that the 'smartphone aesthetic' may eventually lead leisure photographers onto a more experimental path, but I see little evidence of it currently. And that is not a good thing. Yes some of what is presented (and that includes my attempts) is style over content and may well be a case of 'It's different therefore it's art' (NOT!!!) but at least it's an attempt to break the shackles of internet dogma. And it's from leisure photography the the professionals and artists (and professional artists) of the future will come from. There are I'm convinced the new Henri Cartier-Bressons and Vivian Maiers out there, (who of course don't have the faintest idea of who those people are) but currently they are lost in the unimaginitive dross that passes for photographic 'exellence' these days on the forums and fanboy sites. Hopefully this will find a way to surface, but then I'm not holding my breath for that unlikely event to occur.