Whenever I get together with a few people in Vancouver, who want to shoot street scenes, I always try to point out to them that by all means they should shoot whatever their mind’s eye tells them to, fine.
But I always try and emphasise that whatever they shoot, they should attempt to make sure that there is some kind of meaning in that shot.
The shot should tell a story (remember ” a picture is worth a 1000 words”?).
And if you look at the top street shoot professionals, say Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, Henri Cartier Bresson, Brassai and others, their photos always have something to say….there is a story in them, or some sort of statement that the viewer can go away with.
To illustrate this point, take a look at this photo that I cut out of a newspaper recently. It’s a street shot taken in Chicago sometime in the 1930s. Nothing special about that. But look closely…look at almost any corner of the shot and you can something happening…people talking, people walking, some standing, looking, etc etc.
Still not clear enough? Ok; read on…
Now look what happens if I take that same photo above, and cut out parts of it. Each part becomes a story, or a possible story, in itself:
See what I mean? Even though each little cut-out was a part of that bigger shot, taken on their own, these little cut-outs from the main shot tell a story themselves, a possible story.
That has always been my maxim….to try and take shots which have something going on in them, so much, that if you wanted, you could chop the shots up into pieces, and still come away with lots of little stories to tell from the remnants!