Monday, March 2, 2009

There’s that crazy lady with the camera . . .

In the last week or so I’ve discovered that my biggest challenge with this blog will be the role of street photographer. I’m disappointed with myself for being a bit gun-shy in this area. I spent a year in art school as a photo design major and fantasized a lot about working on city streets, documenting precise moments in the lives of everyday people doing the ordinary – sipping coffee, kissing a loved one good-bye, secretly applying lipstick in the reflection of a store window. Now, here is my chance, and I’m foot dragging.

Friday, Bob had a meeting so I was on my own at lunch. I strolled downtown Flag with my Blackberry looking for the moment, the bike, and the would-be fashion icon. And, as I walked out of Late for the Train with my cafĂ© Americano, there they all were across the street. The inspiration was about my age (mid-40’s) wearing Audrey Hepburn-chic casual slacks and a tee walking a Trek 7300 down the sidewalk. Damn! I almost bought that bike in the Valley last spring . And I’d love to know where she got those slacks. Quick, where is my Blackberry? Do I have enough storage capacity for another shot? Where is that camera icon? You! You at the bench! Hold my coffee!

How do I plan for the in-the-moment shot? How I sprint across the street and accost a complete stranger with a request to photograph her and her bike for the purpose of plastering it over cyberspace without looking like a crazy lady? Oddly enough, I initiate conversations with strangers all the time. If we had both been locking up our bikes in front of Mountain Sports I could have struck up a conversation and got my photo in nothing flat. Proximity must be the key. I guess it’s a skill I’ll have to master.

Today, with Bob by my side, I got a shot of Gladiator-Boy. We saw him on a red scooter while on our lunchtime stroll. Slow on the draw, my Blackberry was not ready when we first saw him motoring through the alley clad in a red cape and Roman helmet but we saw him again on the way back to City Hall, and Bob reminded me “It’s now or never”. My subject was more than happy to cooperat and his companions seemed impressed with his new found celebrity. A star and a street photographer are both born.

Yeah, I know, he's not on a bicycle.

3 comments:

letsgorideabike said...

Good question - I have the same problem! I think we can get by more easily without being "weirdos" since we're women. Nothing worse than a man slinking around photographing women :) I look forward to seeing more of your pictures!

-Dottie

She Rides a Bike said...

It's been a slow fashion season here. I don't know if it the recession or what but lately the streets are a bit dead. Usually the college students are out in full force downtown. I hope the coming warmer weather will put our more fashion conscious riders out on the street.

Chiara Kael said...

i can understand the shutterbug issue... there is something sexier about a person riding that standing posing with their bike does not capture. However stopping and talking to another commuter is always easy, as you have one thing in common... your bike!...if you stop them, ask to photograph them riding away.. its when they are most natural...