Zack and Old Dogs
A photographer most of you know and if you don’t shame on you, is Zack Arias out of Atlanta. Zack was in New York recently and gave himself an assignment to shoot 10 portraits of 10 strangers in 10 hours. For some of us this is not hard, for others this is a complete nightmare.
There are two reasons why I am blogging about this. First, is many of you who read this blog want to shoot photos on the street and this means taking pictures of complete strangers. So this is a topic you are interested in. I get quite a few emails asking me what it takes to shoot good street portraits. I have gotten to the point where now all I do is point people to a few past post I did on the subject HERE, HERE and HERE. At one time I thought I might write an ebook of the subject. But the fact of the matter is there is just not enough to write about. It really boils down to getting up the nerve and going up to someone and asking them to let you snap a few shots of them. Sure, you have to watch your lighting, how you frame your subject, composition etc.. But the bulk of it is nerves. Just as Zack say’s “there are times you have to get over your anxiety about talking to strangers and pursue what it is you want to do.” In other words, just do it.
The other point I want to bring out is Zack, a pro, a seasoned working photographer still gives himself assignments. Why does he do this? He wants to stay fresh and maintain his creative edge. If we keep to what we know we do not grow. We remain stagnate and definable. Gavin Gough likes to say to me, “That is a very Brandon-esque shot.” I cringe! I hate hearing those words. Yes, many of us have a style. But for some reason I don’t like being defined by my style. I feel boxed in. One way to combat that is to keep pushing the bound and trying new things. Old dogs can learn new tricks. But, without a master, you have to be a self directed old dog.
I know several top shooters and all of them do this. They all give themselves assignments. If you stop growing, check your pulse. Ruff!