The reason why I wrote this one was because I could not close my eyes at all and it has been almost 23 hours since I woke up....and simply because my buddy - Ian Ahmad of NSTP became quite upset with an article on a street photographer boy.
So, street photography suddenly became a hot topic (again) due to that article. This is really going out of control but anyway who cares....arts is freedom of expression - oh yeah boy, the thing that is not free would be the legal fee you may have to bear due to your artsy-fartsy mentality. The big bang of the whole fiasco was a couple of years back, when a dude openly claimed he was the founder of the country's street photography. Yowzer!!! How bold!! As like many other professional shooters and some well established lecturers on photography and related arts, I don't even care how much "MisterFounder" has already bagged in because as far as reality is concerned, they are open to many harms and what they don't know is they are making a mess to the public and the society!! ...and it is getting worse!!!
What is street photography? I am not going to write it all here, you can Google it and do your own research. What more important apart from knowing what it is all about, is to understand the boundaries and legalities, to respect the community, the subject you are capturing. To be a responsible photographer. In some outings (and forums) I have even shared about the subject, the key aspects and approach to make it easy and comprehensive for starters to try it out. Those who can still recall the outing with Che' Ahmad Azhar - one of the actual street outing done with many professionals including those from Reuters, EPA, AFP, NST, BH etc etc...CHAP AYAM (hahaa!!!) and of course yours truly's CHAPTERSimages - participants were informed on the do's and don'ts, the boundaries, how to plan the shooting path and sketch, "offensive vs defensive" approach....and many more....and it was all for the love of sharing knowledge - nobody made huge moolahs from it and everybody learned new "valid" stuff.
...but couple of months later, massive groupies were born, hooked a DSLR on their neck, went out to the streets, thought that they are doing something great that nobody has done before and started to became bigheaded to arrogantly declare - HEYYY!! WE ARE IT.
...much to the amusement of those who has been doing street photography for a couple of decades, of course!!
Mark this and never forget this at all - it is not at all about "busuk hati" or "dengki" on the "suck-cess-fool-ness" of that founder - that is his rezeki, berkat, halal or not, it is not for us to comment, just be it - what the real players are really concerned about is the sense of responsibilities, the ethics, the dangers they are exposed to...and they just take things lightly, ignoring some inputs by those who has faced some troubles while doing similar stuff for real....
You can do your own search to read the article and a learned reader would easily detect the inconsistency of statement and the vagueness of knowledge of this (*cough)street (*cough) shooter. For instance:
+ In a composition, the key ingredients are - the main subject, the background/foreground, the supporting elements. Of course it has to be connected. If it doesn't, maybe you went to the wrong "sifu" lah!!! How do you shoot "kata-kata"? You might be able to shoot "verbs" if you are trained as a photojournalist....understand what is a "verb"?
+ If you were not trained to anticipate the moment.....you better call your sifu and ask for refund!!! It's like you reading a whole novel but what you understood is just the picture on the front page.....
+ Being ethical by smiling? Ethics is not just about smiling!!! It comes prior and past the shots done. Wait till one day a guy slaps your forehead for doing your street-arts stuff...then you try smiling at him, see how it goes.
You don't know you are putting yourself in a very dangerous position and all that - just for fun?
Daymm....I can really understand how tragic it was for Ian Ahmad (NSTP) and some other photojournalists and lecturers to read this!!!
I would encourage the newbies, starters, beginners to really do a thorough search on the subject that you want to learn and try. Find the person who has the real experience and knowledge, a qualified professional is a human being, it would not cost you RM300 per session of teh tarik or YM chat!!!
Acid test - so, you are a street photographer...pop quiz!!!
What is iN-PUBLiC?
Who is Henri Cartier-Bresson?
Name one of the widely exhibited work series by Trent Parke?
If you cannot answer those, you should realize that you are just wasting your time, dude.
Be a responsible photographer. Stop making a fool of yourself.
Slogans on those shirts that go like:
"Photography is not a crime"
"I am a photographer, not a terrorist"
"Shoot without fear"
- you wanna know what these words really mean?
To a burglar:
"HEY LOOK I HAVE A BIG-ARSE CAMERA, COME AND ROB ME PLEASE!"
To any educated human:
"I AM HERE TO ANNOY YOU AND TRY HARD TO LOOK COOL LIKE A REAL PRO AS I DO IT. DON'T BOTHER TO TELL ME OFF BECAUSE I DON'T READ THE LAW"
The burglar easily identify his target.
The educated human starts to get conscious - lost of natural beings of potential subjects - and those who are really annoyed may just move away from the area - no subject to shoot.
Get it? NO?
Ok simple as this - you don't show your equipments in public. You don't tell people you are carrying stuff in that Crumpler of yours. It is dangerous.....and after you scoop your shot and you use it for other than the allowed arena by law, you will find your self in trouble.
Real street shooters around the world don't go out on the street like a porn-star dickhead. What more in a mob sporting glamor t-shirts.....and loads of equipments!! Some pro street shooter use single body & lens. Even point & shoot camera, with certain capabilities/functions..because (here's another free lesson for you) the presence of a huge DSLR (and a freaking idiot who's smiling and try to look cool behind it!) would just destroy the natural beings of the subjects.
Street photography is NOT 200% ABOUT YOU!!
IT IS ABOUT YOU BEING RESPONSIBLE AND RETURNING SOMETHING BACK TO THE SUBJECTS AND UNDERSTAND THEIR RIGHTS - and yours! YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE TO THE SUBJECTS, TO YOUR OWN SAFETY.
Be aware of glamor-groupies and the glamor-hogs in FB or anywhere. It is ok to join them if you are just determined to do something in your free your time, spend some money and all, nothing wrong with that, it's your life BUT PLEASE try to be safe at all time and most importantly BE RESPONSIBLE TO YOUR SUBJECTS...and what you do with what you have scooped.
...as for those who really want to do it serious rather than s to quick stardom, find a true professional who knows the subject and have years of experience and track record. Real professionals are always willing to share knowledge and open up opportunities for those you dare enough to approach and show your works to them. That's how I started my journey and I still have frequent discussions my mentors.
I wrote this because I could not stand anymore listening to my friends story about their family members being followed/ harassed by these bunch of people. So, if you don't like what I wrote, it's ok. I don't like your attitude in the first place anyway but I am just going to be polite and say - thank you very much, for wasting your time!! :o)
...but stop and think:
If one day you found a photo of your wife/fiance/girlfriend/YOUR MOM??...in a certain position that "revealed her assets and whatever" being caught by some street photographers and posted up/ viewed and shared by many....then you might know how damaging it has been all these while...and what are you doing about it now?
Hey...have a look around, who knows maybe there's a shot of you squatting and having a fag? Seriously....scout around.
So, next time when you see a bunch of people with DSLRS focusing on you, you should know your rights....already.