Friday, February 07, 2014

Street Scenes: A Photo Challenge



Donna's Photo Challenge this month was to get out there and take photos of street scenes. I tried. I really did. This week, though, there weren't many people out on the streets in my area. It was too cold. 

This was a hard challenge for an introvert like me. As I walked, I pretended to photograph scenery with my camera, slowly panning it around and stopping as if I were taking a photo of some tree, but really I was looking for human victims subjects. One person who saw me with my camera promptly hid behind a telephone pole, ostensibly looking at her cell phone, but I saw her watching me. She moved away when the camera moved. Utterly demoralized, I quit looking for people.

Then, at the shopping mall, I saw this gentleman marching along at a good clip (remember, it was cold) and thought I'd snap him from the back. He couldn't duck behind a tree if he couldn't see me, thought I. So I clicked. Now, I wonder where he was and where he is headed. To meet friends for coffee at Starbucks? To go to Canadian Tire for some auto parts? To the drug store to fill a prescription for his ailing wife? The possibilities are mind boggling. I quit looking for people again. 
  

Instead, I went back into my archives (2009) for a few photos from Bratislava (Slovakia). I had my point and shoot Olympus at this juncture. I really do need to return to Europe with a better camera, don't you think? (are you listening, sweet husband?)

Our local guide told us that after the fall of communism, civic pride was restored and people began fixing up their homes and businesses again. The yellow building on the right has been repaired. However, the city decided that some buildings should remain in disrepair as a reminder of how things had been for many years. A visual cautionary warning. On the street.

On another note, the colour of the repaired building is known as Empress Yellow, named after the Empress Maria Theresa because it was her favourite colour. (She was the mother of Marie Antoinette.)
 



These two photos qualify as street scenes, don't you think? As I prepared this post, questions came to mind, such as, "Why do I think photos of manhole covers in Bratislava are so interesting?" "Why have I none of my own city's manhole covers?" These are questions to ponder in the dark of night when I cannot sleep. Or not.

What IS interesting, however, is the little brass crown. They mark the "Coronation Road" which 19 Austro-Hungarian emperors followed en route to being crowned in the Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral. 

Click on over to Donna's Personal Photography Challenge blog and discover links to people who really did follow the rules and succeeded. 

32 comments:

Cristal @ Dapple Design said...

Oh my, it would be demoralizing to have someone hide from you. I like your old man, though. Good composition for an oh-quick-take-the-picture moment.

Vee said...

The red hooded postal carrier was wary, which is why I was certain to photo her from the back. I do not like strangers taking my photo either so I get it. What am I talking about? I don't like any photos of me anywhere. Ugh.

Now the man scurrying...very interesting subject and your commentary tells me you are a story teller and could tell a very good one. It would be interesting to know the truth.

Can you imagine going to all the effort to update a home and have to look out on the one beside it? Strange philosophy that. We could all live in a pile of ruins if that were the case everywhere all over the world.Gosh, Lorrie. My knickers are really in a knot. Did you see what I told Donna? Good heavens! I need a chill pill. Must be the cold.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

I love your 'man on a mission' in his little blue hat - Yes I too wonder where he was going and why on a cold February day!
Those magnificent old buildings in Bratislava define their old communist regime - a telling reminder not to let it happen again. I hope they repair the slate roof before the whole building crumbles....
Well Lorrie, how alike we are... I've taken photos of grates and things on the road - especially in Europe they're much more interesting than our roads here!!

I'm still chuckling about your victims!!! I'm the same and pretend to photograph everything else before I hone in on my victims! Especially as I've only got the one camera...a very ordinary 'point and shoot', I don't relish the thought of someone chasing me, grabbing my camera and reporting me to the police for harrassment!

marigold jam said...

That photo of the houses in Bratislava is brilliant - contrast between the two homes so stark. Love the manhole covers tpp but the first photo is full of possibilites as you make up a story about the man isn't it?

Pamela Gordon said...

I like your choices Lorrie. The man in the parking lot is bent on his destination to get out of the cold. I also am wary of taking pics of people face on. Although apparently, it's not illegal. (read that somewhere recently) The Empress yellow house is really attractive. What a shame it's attached to the crumbling one beside it. I think your photos of the manhole covers remind us to look down too. I took a photo of a street grate in NYC and the subway underneath just for fun. I have heard that European grates are quite decorative. I'll have to look down more when I'm in Canadian cities and see what I can see. Good post!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I like the lone fellow scurrying along, it must be cold with his collar turned up. I think the manhole covers you shared are wonderful - whey can't they make ours here something worthwhile to look at? Can you imagine a tourist bending over to photograph one of ours? ;-)

Donna said...

Thank you for getting outside of your comfort zone and giving this theme a whirl! Yep, I had the same queasy feeling trying to photograph people on the streets. It's really hard to get away with it with a big camera lens too. You did a terrific job with the older man walking down the brick sidewalk, hurrying to do his errand. The composition commands attention and emphasizes the subject. See, you could weave a whole story about where he was going?! The contrast of buildings is quite fascinating, and I suspected the reason behind it before I even read your words. How awful to have to look out at a dilapidated building as a reminder. I really think that some politicians have mush for brains. And as one who also likes to photograph manhole covers, I understand the fascination completely, LOL! They are really works of art, like this one with a castle-type relief.

Let out a sigh of relief, this challenge is over and you did a splendid job! The next one will be much easier, I promise.

My Little Home and Garden said...

I can understand your reluctance to photograph people on the street and can imagine the woman feeling the need to avoid your camera, not knowing you or the purpose you had for taking the shot. I remember hearing a New York blogger being interviewed on CBC radio. He took a photo of a different person everyday, but he always asked permission to post it and had a little chat with the person to find out something interesting about them.

As for being an introvert, I definitely fall into that category.

Karen

Mary said...

Well dear, I loved them all and your accompanying narrative was wonderful. They are really interesting and varied subjects.
It is sometimes difficult to get strangers to pose on the street - especially here in the USA I find - however in other countries people are often so happy to be asked for their picture to be taken. The Russian woman I took at a carnival insisted that she go get her hat first, then smoothed down her wrinkled dress, and posed as if she was a movie star, haha!

Great job - congratulations!
Love, Mary

Linda Jo said...

Love all your photos! I know you probably use a great camera........ but I've been known to take clandestine photos with my iphone. Just turn it to silent and no one knows! People are on their phones all the time........ they don't notice you!

Marilyn said...

I love your street scenes. I also have a difficult time taking pictures of people along the way.
If I take them they are from behind. Yes, I agree another trip is in order.

Cheryl said...

Oh, I can feel your angst as you tried to photograph people unawares. Ack! I did something similar this week as part of Kati's photo-a-day challenge. Day 3...photograph a stranger. What?!!

That said, you did a superb job with your photo of the man on the sidewalk! You couldn't have a more perfect set up for such a scene.

Art and Sand said...

What a fun photo challenge.

I ran the yearbook at my school for 15 years and it was amazing how difficult it was to get pictures of all the kids. There were those who would photo bomb every picture if they could. But, so many would cover their faces or run.

When we lived in Jamaica we were told to never take a photo without asking because people were superstitious about their image being "caught" and used for bad Obeah.

I love the story you wove about the gentleman walking away from you. I love to people watch and weave stories.

And yes, I definitely think a trip to Europe with a better camera is imperative.

Jeanne said...

I too am uncomfortable taking photos of strangers. Stand to reason, but that first shot is a classic!!

ellen b. said...

Love these street scenes, Lorrie!!

Mrs.Rabe said...

I really like all of these photos, Lorrie!

Deanna

EG CameraGirl said...

I understand totally about feeling self-conscious taking photos of people on streets. I'm going to work on that one this year. :))

Christa atCedarmereFarm said...

I love taking pictures of people on the street (not every one, but a few I have come across). I feel the camera somehow connects me with the person. There was one recently I thought would be a great photo. An older lady, very well dressed, was taking a nap (or just resting) in a folding chair, with a hat over her head and face, in the sun, in a church garden. My family thought I was weird for wanting to take a her picture so I didn't. I hope to see her again in the spring and maybe I can ask her permission (after the wakes up).

Blackberry Lane said...

I enjoyed your photos. I am very hesitant to take photos when others are watching.

Wishing you a very nice weekend.

Jill said...

This is fun! I've wanted to shoot street scenes for so long but I would feel the same way you do!!! And, I'm from a small town so chances are they may know me, or not, or just see me again later and remember me as the one with the camera! It's too bad too because there actually is much to shoot in our little town although it is in great disrepair. As for the city, I rarely get there and never with time. This weekend we are going...

podso said...

I really like the manhole and would have photographed it also. I do find I have more photos of the back of people rather than the front because I'm like you, kind of nervous about taking pictures of people. But if it's a very crowded city it works a bit better. The nice thing about a point and shoot as you can almost put it waist level and just see what you get and no one notices you taking the pic!

kyllimarjaana said...

Interesting pictures !

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I guess it's a good challenge when it makes you think and ponder! I love the man hole cover....I've never even noticed one before but I'm wondering what others look like now. Very good photos for this month! Well done!

materfamilias said...

I like that top photo and I share your shyness and stealth approach. Thanks for digging into the files for those lovely shots of much further East in Europe than I've ever been. Have you ever seen the fabulous manhole covers that Susan Point designed, winners of a City of Vancouver contest for their storm sewers a few years ago. They're Coast Salish in inspiration, worth walking around Vancouver with your head down . . . here's a link I found: http://ironcladart.ca/competition/examples.php

Patrica said...

Love the juxtaposition of the two houses it really tells a story. I completely understand the fascination with manhole covers, why not? Some folks like fruit labels, one of my friends collects photos of the stickers on apples. To each their own I say. Your old man on a mission is great, he really is marching purposefully to his destination.

Jojo said...

You are too funny describing your attempts to capture photos with people. I don't consider myself an introvert but sometimes when trying to take photos where people are present, my insecurities as a photographer come into play. My camera is a small digital and I'm intimidated by photographers with expensive cameras and lenses. Maybe if I get a nicer camera and learn how to use it, I'll gain some confidence.

Your photo featuring a renovated beauty shining next to the structure in need of repair is beautiful

Ida said...

I've never done "street" photography either. Well people dressed up at Halloween but they don't seem to mind that. I like the shot of the man walking down the street very much. I also liked the shot of the 2 buildings. What a contrast between them.

Leanne said...

I think you have done brilliantly with your street photo.

Donna said...

Thank you SO much for this little bit of history! Never knew about the crowns!
And the buildings.....Goodness!!
hughugs

Sheila said...

Lovely photos!

Barbara said...

It looks cold with that watery sun. I too find it hard to take photos outside with people in. I always try to make it look like I have seen some interesting object. People differ greatly in their reactions to seeing one with camera.

Mascha said...

Beautiful photos! Most I like that with the old and the restaurated house.
Greetings from Germany :-)