Member Post: ‘The Democratic Eye: Street Photography and Weddings’ by Wayne La
It’s great to have a guest article by TiR member Wayne La on the site today, all about the links he finds between street photography and wedding photography. Really useful tips and insights into the many different elements of street photography, and what they’ve taught him in terms of wedding coverage too…thanks so much, Wayne!
Street photography is my palette cleanser from the richness of weddings. I loved the endless possibility that the street gave me, but they were hidden and only revealed themselves with intent observation. You know: finding art in the ordinary; magic in the mundane – that sort of thing. The things I looked for in street, I began to look for in weddings: The witty juxtapositions, the display of human comedy and tragedy; visual puns; the patience, the waiting for elements to come together to lift an ordinary moment into something awesome, or not.
Public places are full of fascinating contradictions when it comes to photography. You get scenes that are still, yet dynamic; Spaces teeming with people, but lifeless in energy. Those descriptions sounds familiar to a wedding photographer whose job is to extract the maximum potential out of every scene. Street photography allows me to hone my craft in my own time, my own dime, and on my own terms.
The process teaches decisiveness and patience. Instead of thinking about the next shot, I became mindful of what was in front of me. Street photography is about awareness of space, that even though nothing is happening, something could happen. It’s about the arranging of compositional elements of events that are yet to happen – maybe a burst of light that produces contrast, sharp geometry and deepening of colour for a scene rich in graphical elements; or movement from a passer-by to add tension and focus to a static scene; or gesture to signify humour, intimacy, conversation, connection.
The most valuable lesson it teaches me is to shoot without wedding blinkers on. Yes, we love those big moments on a wedding day: Those epic embraces, show stopping tears, and grand swooshes of the wedding dress – but for me, a luxurious tapestry that is a wedding day requires taking care of the loose threads too. As the legendary street photographer, Garry Winogrand succinctly puts it: “All things are photographable”.
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