This happens a lot. You are walking down the street and suddenly, out of the blue, something catches your eye and you just can’t help but to look. Granted that in many cases these neck-twisting impositions involve something bordering on perverted, but this is not what I’m talking about here. No, what I’m referring to are those incredible visual curiosities that break our train of thought, or at the very least stand out from their seemingly mundane surroundings in such a way that it becomes virtually impossible for us to ignore them. In fact, these visual curiosities are what most of us tend to remember about a certain street, or alleyway, or neighborhood. These visual landmarks become the mileposts of our lives, the stuff of memories that place us in a particular place on a particular time. They are life’s double takes, the kind of memorable visual events we don’t have to struggle to remember. In their quiet, detached, and unassuming way, they become the story of our lives–the record of where we were and how far we have come. A mental album of our individual journeys.
Today I thought I’d do a little old-fashioned street photography. If you follow this photographic genre you’d know that this is one area of photography where pixel perfection is not the objective. In fact, too much perfection tends to detract from the photographs depicting everyday life out there on the street. No, this is all about the moment; the living moment, that is. Because of this, the photographs tend to be slightly rustic, if I can use that word to describe them. I think this has to do with the fact that when engaging in street photography you need to get rather close to your subject, and in doing so you tend to take your pictures as quick as possible without attracting too much attention, or risk, for that matter. People stare at you, scream at you not to take their photos even if you have yet to aim your camera at them, and take all sorts of evading action when they even spot you with a camera in their vecinity. I realize that it is not always like this everywhere, but when you walk the streets of Washington, DC, paranoia about being photographed seems to be a somewhat common trait amongst the locals. The thing is, though, that just as we enjoy seeing old, faded photographs of a bygone era in our major cities, so too will the photographs taken by today’s street photographers form the historical record of the lives we are currently living. Future generations will no doubt be as grateful of today’s photographers as we are of those that came before us. And that is pretty cool.