How you can get the best pictures during your photography adventures and still feel good about them?
With "engaged" I mean to be fully alert,100% committed to getting a potentially great shot, and open for some opportunism and willingness to communicate with the people around you or scenes you like to capture up close.
Sounds like a lot of work? Actually, it is!
Sure this does not apply to photographers using a 200mm or 300mm lens, you know the one you bought for shooting wildlife in Tanzania.
There are no limits to what you can or should do or use but let's stick to the street photography that we love because we get close to the local culture or just learn to communicate with people around you.
Sometimes just an acknowledgment and smile is enough to open the start of a mini portrait session. Adapt to the situation by reading the reactions and body language.
Show some genuine interest in what people are doing and get involved.
Walk on when you and your camera are rejected and there is no good feeling or feedback.
There is a saying "choose your fights carefully"
Share your first images if possible by showing the shot you did. When you end up using a lot of time perhaps give some donation for the pleasure. Or if possible come back next time with a print.
With "being lucky" I consider the fact that most street moments only happen once and you have to be very alert and engaged with the location and your camera choice of lens and settings to "get lucky", otherwise, you are thinking about all kinds of reasons not to take the picture and miss the typical moment.
It is impossible to stay in that observer zone, of course, all the time, but keep in mind what you are there for, taking pictures, work hard and take your time to look around and be a casual bystander or just relax and wait for that indescribable feeling of inspiration and curiosity to reappear.
Yes, its hard work and a lot of fun when things come your way but you got to be ready and open to see the opportunity and be ready to step in to make it into an image.
This is all very subjective and personal. It won't work for everybody and rightfully so. Photography is and can be a projection of your own personality and vision so if it feels awkward this could be a good sign and get you out of your comfort zone.
Streetphotography can work in many different ways, as long as you are enjoying this genre.
Notice that a lot of photographers like landscape photography for obvious reasons. Quietness, solitude, fresh air, and a basically static subject matter.
Street photography is all about trying to capture dynamics, involvement with people, capturing the special moment, trying, failing, getting dirty and "being lucky".
It can take you into that zone of full alertness and being in the moment.
Nothing beats that feeling of finding a golden picture and telling a good story.
|Shoot it or not?|
A naked boy with a stray dog on the main boulevard in Phnom Penh.
There is a huge contrast between the clean hard surface and the naked boy on his knees helping his dog with an issue in his pawn.
|A confronting moment with dire poverty and neglect.|
I think it's important to show this kind of reality in Cambodia.
Only a stone throw away from the big NGO's like Oxfam-Novib and Unicef and other help organizations.
This is the result of billions of those dollars of aid funding for children in Cambodia?
Incapable of lifting the poorest people in Phnom Penh out of poverty right in front of their doorstep.
This girl and her parents living in the slums, her situation is not improving at all and the aid projects are passing her by.
I worked as a photographer for some of the major NGO's here in Cambodia and know the drill of their policy's and self-preservation of writing slick-looking brochures and alarming reports in luxury glass towers overlooking Phnom Penh skyline.
It's beyond me why she has to live like this in 2020.
Read more: https://michaelklinkhamer.blogspot.com/2019/11/when-will-poverty-in-slums-of-phnom.html
Same story here but this girl is living in a fishing village and her parents are from the Cham minorities who are basically living like nomads on the big rivers and lake in Cambodia.
I like this picture for many reasons, the angle, her expression, and the boats as leading lines with the dark sky above.
What will her future be like?
For this portrait, there was a short acknowledgment and unspoken understanding.
The face of the man attracted me and also the even background gives it a strong sense of focus on him.
What is the message?
Start taking or making pictures with your heart and soul and be yourself.
© all images by Michael Klinkhamer.
Morning in Phnom Penh near a very busy market and road. During the busy early morning, Brightly dressed monks go around the town to gather alms for the temple.
I especially love the intimate moments of people worshipping their religion right there in the middle of a busy street corner or at the storefront.
Traditional image with the older generation of Cambodians wearing sarongs and donating money to receive a prayer and blessing. ©MK.
I noticed these boys with their parents at the national museum in Phnom Penh on a Sunday afternoon.
I knew this picture could work out as a timeless image of youth and conditioning and conservative Cambodia.
All I had to do is ask permission from the parents in a casual manner and get on their level, so on my knees and take a few shots.
Important was pre-visualization and interaction. This means that you can see an image coming and then look at what's possible and be ready in your set up and lens choice.
This man is a Cyclo rider and waits for customers at the local market to deliver them with their groceries back home. I was attracted to his face, hat and watch. We exchanged a quick eye contact before I took the portrait.
Probably one of the hardest jobs to do in the heat, pushing the old rickshaw through the streets of Phnom Penh.
Character face of a long life in Cambodia.