LEARNING HOW TO DISAPPEAR
While early in my career I was drawn to the natural landscape in black and white, I have swung full circle visually focusing my energy on street photography, the human within the landscape, and artist portraits.
Taking my camera on the street makes my soul smile. I love the quote, “you have to be lost to find the places that can’t be found.” Wandering, looking, and discovering with a camera is one of the most rewarding creative pursuits there is. Going with the agenda to just create with no preconceived requirements, for me, is the essence of street photography. Learning how to disappear has become my new quest.
MOVEMENT AND MOTION
I love movement and motion within the frame. I almost always carry both a 3-stop and a 5-stop neutral density filter to allow slow shutter speeds in full sunlight.
ALWAYS LOOK FOR WHAT IS NOT IN FRONT OF YOU
Don’t forget to look over your shoulder when you are working because it just might just be more interesting than what you are photographing! On one of my first visits to the Louvre, I had a student with me ask if I would take their portrait in front of the Mona Lisa. It was the first Sunday of the month when all National Museums are free and I believe almost everyone visiting Paris had decided to not only go to the Louvre, but also all go at the same time to see the Mona Lisa.
Bob Hughes has a great quote about the painting: “People came not to look at it, but to say that they’d see it,” and all of the individuals in the room were of the latter type. The room was crushed with people and we slowly made our way towards the front viewing railing.
When we finally made it to the front of the gallery I took the student’s portrait with the Mona Lisa over their shoulder. As I turned to escape the mass of people that was making the pilgrimage, I saw the photograph, the room from Mona’s point of view.
WHAT’S IN MY BAG
When shooting on the street I love to put on the miles, and going as light as possible allows me to go longer and photograph more. My current go-to camera for the street is a Sony a6500 at the ready on my BLACKRAPID strap, with the Sony 24mm f1.8.
In my camera bag, I always have a Sony 10-18mm f4, Thinktank camera rain cover and a few extra batteries for a full day of shooting.
If I know I am going to be shooting underground (in the Metro), I also carry a Sigma 16mm f1.4.
Size and weight are the major factor here. I have photographed the streets of Paris for the last 7 years and it is amazing how a camera just a little larger attracts attention and I am no longer able to be invisible and be the fly on the wall. When photographing on the street I always try to see and capture those moments where the camera’s presence hasn’t changed the moment.
Christopher Broughton is a world-traveling photographer focusing on street photography, the human within the landscape, and artist portraits.