September 23, 2011
Kansas City Street Photography
Yesterday turned out to be a big street photography day for me. I got some shots in Kansas City, attended a talk by a street/documentary photographer and asked my first stranger if I could take his picture.
I was up in Kansas City a few days ago for a meeting. I took a little time before and after to make some photos, but I stopped early because I didn’t want to get stuck in rush hour traffic back to Lawrence. I ended up regretting that decision because the light was so beautiful. Fortunately, there were clear skies again today so I decided to head back up to Kansas City to try my luck again.
I arrived downtown near 5pm and the light was just starting to get good. My goal was to be less shy with my shooting. I still get fairly anxious when pointing my camera at strangers and it’s something I’m working to get past. I also don’t want to have to rely on hip shooting either. A camera with live view and a tilt-able screen might help but I don’t have one of those yet.
I managed to hold my ground and not shy away too much. I also stopped moving occasionally and hung out around places with good lighting. Unfortunately, the foot traffic in Kansas City is pretty weak after 5pm. Even though I found a few places with some excellent lighting, my opportunities to use them were rare. However, I did still manage to grab a few good shots and the experience was useful to scout locations and lighting that might be good in the future. The buildings themselves were pretty fun to shoot as well.
I envy those street photographers that shoot in places like New York and London. I’d love to just get lost in the flow of the bustling crowds. In the barren streets of Kansas and Missouri a photographer stands out a lot more.
The rest of the images of the day are at the bottom of the post. All images, save one, were taken with my Sony a850 and my Minolta 35mm f/1.4 lens.
Talking to Strangers
The last time I visited Kansas City to take photos, I ran into a guy who asked me about the pictures I was taking. He was on his way to the movie theater. He had previously lived in New York and remarked how impressed he had been with some of the beautiful Kansas City buildings. Coincidentally, I ran into him again yesterday. He was coming from the same theater. We chatted briefly, and I got up the courage to ask him if I could take his photo. It’s a pretty cheezy straight-on image, but I was so pleased with getting the courage to ask if I could take his picture, I wasn’t concerned if it was a great portrait.
A talk with Gary Mark Smith and Sarah Stern
Before I left for the day, I looked up some information on a street photography exhibition I heard about on campus. Gary Mark Smith, of StreetPhoto.com, a KU alum, recently had a collection of photos acquired by the University of Kansas. I heard his photos were on display at the journalism building and wanted to get more information. Fortunately, I also saw that he and his colleague from a recent trip to Brazil were going to be giving a presentation at 7pm. It sounded to me like a wonderful way to end a day of street shooting so I made my way to campus for the talk.
Gary and Sarah took a trip to Rocinha, one of the favelas surrounding Rio De Janeiro Brazil and brought a videographer with them. They stayed in the favela for three weeks, making friends and taking photographs. Their videographer took pictures as well. They talked about how favelas are typically treated in the media. They didn’t want to perpetuate images of gangs and violence, but rather show images of people living their daily lives. The photos are going to be released in a book along with a documentary about the trip at the beginning of next year. The trailer is embedded below. I look forward to seeing it. Thanks for the talk Gary and Sarah.
Now I’m going to get back to editing. I woke up very early this morning and took the opportunity to get some picture of the sunrise over the Bowerock Damn. Stay tuned.