It was a very successful workshop with the Frome Camera Club this afternoon, in Bath. 18 people attended, on ‘Street Candid Portraits‘, and the feedback was very positive.
We started with some basic discussion on the legalities of ‘street photography’ in the UK, and a discussion on the personal, ethical choices every photographer makes in deciding what and what not to shoot. Some of the discussion turned to the responsibility the photographer has as soon as he or she picks up the camera – reminiscent of conversations in the MA program.
I presented some of the key points on the handout that I gave to everyone, mainly by using the collection of printed images that I had prepared to make the key points. Using those images worked really well, and I would definitely do that again, even with an extended set.
I explained how I would go about engaging with people on the street (discussed here).
I also elaborated on the photographer’s mindset and strategic choices. What kind of images is the photographer after? Do you have a theme in mind? And stressed that a huge part of success in this kind of activity is to have fun and be confident. People just will not respond to a miserable, nervous photographer!
Before people headed to the street, the task was made clear: Come back with at least two pairs of images, each of which consists of an engaged and disengaged portrait of the same individual.
Also, be prepared to answer three questions;
- What did you find easy?
- What did you find hard?
- What is your biggest learning point?
People seemed genuinely excited when they returned.
Almost everyone had surprised themselves in being able to engage with people and take pictures. There were very few ‘refusals’. The learning was mainly about how, once they had got over the initial trepidation, they all really started to enjoy the process. And, several people reflected that in focusing on the engagement with other people, they had occasionally forgotten to set the camera correctly. A ‘multi tasking’ process to be learnt in future.
I am quite used to teaching in many formats in other disciplines, so it was nice to see that the approach I take easily applied to the photographic domain. All I need is the right knowledge!
The Club is keen to do more such events. And the experience has started me wondering whether I should do Workshops on a more commercial footing.