belgradestreets

andy townend captures the life and soul of belgrade, serbia

faces on the street

Months ago, I entered a streetphotography competition.

I didn’t win one of the prizes.

I did receive a voucher to use for the excellent blurb self publishing service.

Most importantly, I received feedback from the judges on each photo submitted. A humbling and important part of moving from taking snapshots to having my images taken seriously.

One piece of feedback I received was:

“It would be nice to see less of people’s backs/hidden faces. This is very common in street photographer’s who are just starting out – but it’s the easy way out. Practice more and more so that you gain confidence in shooting people face-on so you can really capture their character and a glimpse of their personality.”

I accept this as fair criticism.

I do find it challenging to point my camera in the face of unsuspecting members of the public.

I would be very interested to hear your own views on this subject and take any advice that you may want to offer?

So, I thought I would capture a few faces on belgradestreets.

draw me a picture

through curved glass

riding the bus

setting out their stall

standing in line

These images were taken over the last couple of days with my iPhone and the instagram app.

I managed to drop my beloved Nikon D700 on to a stone floor and am waiting for my 50mm lens to be resurrected.

I would appreciate your views and comments.

And thank you to all those who follow for your patience during my long (and very relaxing!) vacation this summer…

18 Responses to “faces on the street”

  1. redpantsandamustache

    Hi Andy! Thanks for sharing this. As you may remember, I recently bought a new camera and while I am still trying to figure out how to use it properly, I am also struggling with taking photos of people on the streets (although this is what I like most). Kind of comforting to see that more experienced photographers also find this challenging 🙂
    I really like your photo “riding the bus”.

  2. iarxiv

    I liked your photos of people’s faces… what I’ve always been afraid of when photographing faces in public whether it is OK to take a snap shot of a person where they are recognisable. I’m admitting to never having researched the laws which govern my rights to take photos in a public space, and their rights to privacy, but I know that in different countries and cultures attitudes can vary wildly. Do I have to ask their permission? Did you? I sometimes worry what the person will say if they see me taking the shot, without being informed about it beforehand (which obviously kills the spontaneity)… cause I’d hate to be confronted by some angry person who could potentially make me delete the shot under duress or just give me a hard time. Not to mention that some people are just plain uncomfortable with being photographed and so me doing it feels like I’m potentially invading their privacy without them even knowing it. I stress that what I’m saying I feel only about photos where people are recognisable. If you can’t tell who’s in the photo, well, then I don’t think it’s a big deal…

    May I ask what you think about this?

  3. mostlymonochrome

    It is difficult to get the faces. I fond a long lens helps.

  4. John Smith

    Very glad that you had a relaxing holiday Andy……. we are all looking forward to seeing some of your holiday snaps…… we don’t mind if you slip them in amongst the Belgrade streets….. so long as you don’t neglect Belgrade.
    Good to see some faces here…. even if one has you hiding behind glass 🙂
    I agree with what your judge had to say, we all find back views less of a worry than confronting someone face to face.

  5. zorana

    great to see fresh posts again! love “riding the bus”. that’s exactly what it looks and feels like!

  6. belgradestreets

    thanks John, I will see if I can find a way to post some of my holiday snaps! am fascinated by the whole issue of street photography and the rights ands wrongs of capturing faces…watch this space…

  7. belgradestreets

    thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated, this is an issue which is making me think, consider the impact of my photos, balance the various issues, maybe the test is “what would I feel if it were me being photographed”…and sometimes it is worth thinking whether taking the image would make a difference, there was a great article recently on the guardian website that described the dilemma facing the photographer capturing images of atrocity – to act or not….

  8. belgradestreets

    thanks Patrick, a very tricky and troubling subject, yet richly rewarding….where to draw the line….the bus was my favourite also…the thing I like about your site is how you combine great photos with wonderful prose, I always enjoy reading your posts, long may they continue!

  9. redpantsandamustache

    Thanks Andy, that is very kind. The next test for me will be to start using the Canon for my photos. As of now, almost all photos have been taken with my phone. I have also avoided taking photos of people’s faces. That will be the subsequent step.

  10. iarxiv

    Thank you for your reply! I think I saw a similar article to the one that you’re describing… My question was related to the slightly less deep issue of people’s privacy on a daily basis in a reality that isn’t as harsh as that of war and disaster. It’s just something I’ll need to think about and research more…

  11. belgradestreets

    Fair point, I think it is a complex issue, I guess I will also need to give it more thought. I think it is a complex and fascinating issue. Thank you again.

  12. zannyro

    I do love these images..and I have to agree…riding the bus…just captures so much..I agree with the judges as far as seeing faces, thereby capturing “character”..but it is SUCH a hard thing to do….I don’t have enough courage most of the time…but I DO think it is a lot easier with a telephoto…It gives you the opportunity to be a little less intrusive.

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