Do You Need An Underwater Camera To Do Street Photography In Venice?

Singapore 2014 165I’m almost tempted to stop this column at that question as it is such a groaner. It’s bad, isn’t it? Well, you have my gondolences…

The real question ought to have been ” Do You Need To Take Street Pictures At All? ” I confess I am not at all certain that anyone ever does. Oh, I’ll amend that to say that the staff photographers for the Leica Fotographie International publications do need to fill a certain quota each year. One they have gotten enough of street shots in Wetzlar and Bogota they are free to go to a seashore or riverside and find dark people in the mid-day sun. A little careful exposure and they can be made to look ever so black. Always a good one that. I believe it is called the Leni Shot…

But street pictures in the rest of the world? If you need a picture of Red Square or the Nürnberg Christmas markets or Wall Street or Hong Kong you can call up tens of thousands of them ready-made on the net. Likewise drunken beggars, Italian families fighting, or a long tele-shot down a New York sidewalk at lunch hour. You don’t need to do what has been done to death.

If you are in a place that has never seen a lens you might be onto a good thing. But remember that many of these places are unrecorded because they are cascadingly boring or such hideous shit holes that no-one ever wants to admit to having been there nor wants to be reminded of it ever again. I can point out a few of these locations on the overland route to Victoria from Western Australia if you feel the need for despair.

I often wonder what anyone does with their street pictures once they have returned from getting them. I don’t mean how do they convert them or store them or fry them on Instagram – I mean what the pictures say to them or others in years to come. The ones I shoot are forgettable as soon as they are safely onto the memory card – the card that remembers. It is a paradox.

And really if one dok will do, who needs a pair?



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