Photographing Strangers

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Street Photography is an exciting experience and one which can be incredibly rewarding when it leads to encounters with great people. I’m new to this genre of photography, partly because I live in a beachside suburb where not a lot goes on in the street apart from people walking dogs, drinking coffee and collecting mail. (That of course does not include holiday periods and long weekends, when I avoid the streets at all costs since they are overrun by tourists).

I take photos in Melbourne mostly, looking for interesting people doing interesting things, in the way that most of us take photos when holidaying overseas. I am always drawn to people busking. Numerous Lord Mayors over the years have tried to empty the streets of the buskers, but they are colourful and entertaining, and often play great music. I’ve become friends with a man who plays didgeridoo in the city, who is very happy to have his photo taken. Buskers always appreciate a few coins and I have it on good authority that they can make a lot of money in a day, especially if they have a CD to sell.

I also like sitting in one spot and observing as people come and go – more often than not on mobile phones and drinking coffee, chatting, having a meal with friends. Sometimes I take photos surreptitiously but if I want to photograph someone’s face turned towards me, like the photo of the two girls, I ask their permission. I can’t remember anyone ever saying no.

The one thing I never do is take photos of the poor or people begging in the street, just for my benefit.

These are a few photos taken in Melbourne recently.

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