In these regards, I want to discuss this topic specifically on how to be focused in Street Photography genre.
The Purpose of Photography
Therefore, for us to “communicate” with our audience, we must know what type of “language” that they are expecting from us. And the main “language” in photography is “emotion”.
Robert Plutchik's theory says that the eight basic emotions are:
- Fear → feeling of being afraid
- Anger → feeling angry. A stronger word for anger is rage
- Sadness → feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief (a stronger feeling, for example when someone has died)
- Joy → feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness
- Disgust → feeling something is wrong or nasty
- Surprise → being unprepared for something
- Trust → a positive emotion; admiration is stronger; acceptance is weaker.
- Anticipation → in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen.
The more emotional the shot is, the more it appeals to our senses, and the greater the connection we can convey to our audience.
To successfully project the emotions of our images to the audience, there is another thinking process that every photographer must do → finding the right background that fits the emotion.
Think about the background – Every time before pressing that shutter button
By the way, the word "photography" itself comes from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos) means drawing, and γραφή (graphé) means light, together, it means "drawing with light". Therefore, a background in an image is very crucial in any situation.
- Look for a simple background – Too many objects in the background will hinder the audience from the main subject.
- If you can’t find any good background from an eye-level view, sit down to find a different perspective.
- Sometime a clearer or a simple background can be the blue sky up above. And sometime a road sign down below your feet can be used as well. Use your imagination when composing the shot.
- Don’t just shoot and leave – if you find a great subject to shoot, walk and shoot around the subject. You might find the best background that fits the emotion when you see your shots later.
- Follow the lights and shadows – sometime the shape of a shadows can contribute to emphasis your main subject as well.
Learning through experience
Henry Cartier-Bresson in 1976 wrote this about the joy of photography:
“To take photographs is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeting reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”