Teresa Pilcher Photography

On Becoming Fearless.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
— John Lennon

I really couldn’t have said it better.. The goal here is to fall in love and fully embrace Street.  I remember the first few times I ventured out into the streets to shoot unsuspecting people..(with my camera that is).. it was challenging to say the least. Firstly to think about compositional and technical elements, but then the biggest challenge was my subjects, they appeared both elusive and daunting. So I sat behind my DSLR and long lens and took photos from afar. It was a start.. But I wanted to master this and conquer my fear. So I kept shooting.

So fast forward to a few months later and after reading about the 100 strangers project I decided that I  would stop interesting subjects on the street. I told them I was a student and did they mind if I took their portrait. This was not ideal as the photos became posed instead of candid but it did help me to become more confident.
Ultimately I feel this thinking is flawed and I will explain why.

Man with the Hitchcock Shadow. Paris 2015

This image was taken early one morning in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. The sound of the gravel under my feet was very loud, I took a couple of images but did not get too close in case I disturbed him.  Then I got up enough courage to ask him for a portrait… His reply ‘Merci NON’!  I walked away wishing I had just taken my shot, because after asking I could not impose upon the privacy of this interesting man. He was such a great character instead of the usual pair of reading glasses he wore two!  He sat in this same chair each morning in the corner of the gardens but I never did get that image.

So I learnt a very important lesson that day..Don’t ask unless you absolutely have to.
 Street Scene. Paris 2015
 I no longer ask for permission to take a photograph and when the subjects stare me down I still take a photo, smile and walk on. I don’t even make eye contact unless they approach me. Most people don’t even know what Street Photography is, so I am still a ‘Student’ when challenged and will be for many years.
 Walking through the Crypt. Pantheon Paris 2015
When starting out, keep it simple. Set a stage, find an interesting location and point of view and allow the subjects to come to you. Silhouettes and walking subjects are a great place to start.
 Be Brave..The more you practice being on the street the easier it gets. Just stand your ground. Then take it to the next level, wait for the eye contact and click the shutter.. It’s all about embracing the fear and doing it anyway. After a while you will feel an amazing adrenaline rush that allows you to be more and more brash.  The eye contact in an image really creates such a strong emotional response from viewer.
How do feel about the challenges of being at Street?

Teresa Pilcher

Teresa Pilcher Photography A Blog on Street Photography

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