After shooting snapshots for approximately three years, I’ve developed a taste for street photography. I love to take pictures of people on the streets, malls, fairs, and what have you. Not only people are the subject of my Birthday Camera, so are buildings, cups, flowers, dishes, spoons, and just about anything that captures my attention. Through photography, I’ve finally learned to look and see the world around me. It took me 62 years to discover this fascinating world.
When I was working, I had a tunnel vision focused exclusively on my job. Everything else was invisible. Numbers and text on a white sheet of paper was all I cared for; and of course, endless meetings without purpose and the nagging phone calls that never seemed to stop. In hindsight, it was a boring lifestyle. Now that I’m retired and having adopted photography as a hobby, I know that my reality of full of odors, patterns, children, colors, textures, and other characteristics worthwhile concentrating on.
Researching for my blog has also helped me a lot to understand my country. I’ve learned more in three years, the time I have as a retiree, than in 62 years frozen inside an office. Wikipedia is now my constant companion, as well as an English thesaurus. Both have served me well in polishing up Lingua Franca.
Going back to the subject of street photography, let me say that this genre is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets. signs, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings.
Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment. This is what fascinates me, capturing history in the making.
Most kinds of portable camera are used for street photography, for example rangefinders, digital and 35mm SLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones. It’s amazing the amount of pictures being taken around the world with the Apple iPhone. And the quality of these pictures is beyond belief.
After stumbling into a Web site about Vivian Maier, a nanny turned photographer, I knew this is what I wanted to do. Her pictures are my inspiration when I go out to the streets of Panama City in search of subjects to photograph. I stare at her pictures, almost on a daily basis, like a ritual. I wish I could be like her; that is one of my dreams before I go upstairs. Vivian Maier is considered by her peers, as one of the finest street photographers of the mid-twentieth century.
Below is a picture I shot of a street clown who was having fun making balloon toys for small kids at a Chinese fair at a mall in Panama City. A little boy wearing a colorful dragon mask made with balloons stands beside him adding charm to the scene. It’s an example of how I interpret the technique known as street photography. You will see more pictures of this genre in the upcoming days. It properly depicts Panama City as it really is.