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Capturing Play and The Power of Practice
Images from the Street Photography Picture Vault
It’s time for another peek at the picture vault!
These images revolve around the theme of play focusing on carefree and spontaneous moments. Most of these photos were taken during Sunday Street SF, a multi-date event that temporarily transforms city streets into car-free zones to promote physical activities and community engagement. It could be overwhelming due to the large crowds. But, to keep myself focused, I mainly search for something compositionally interesting. Then, I patiently observe as the scene unfolds and wait for the perfect timing to tell the story. I make it sound so simple but it is a challenging feat. In all honesty, street photography often involves more failures than successes for me. Nevertheless, those rare moments of magic make it all worthwhile.
It seems counter-intuitive to do something like street photography when such an endeavor has a higher failure rate than success. So, what gives?
I’m a firm believer in the power of practice. That’s the only way I know how to master a skill. With that, comes plenty of failures. At first, I felt discouraged for days coming home empty-handed after a few hours of walking and taking pictures. But, stumbling across this quote by photographer Alex Webb consoled me:
Luck – or perhaps serendipity–plays a big role… But you never know what is going to happen. And what is most exciting is when the utterly unexpected happens, and you manage to be there at the right place at the right time – and push the shutter at the right moment. Most of the time it doesn’t work out that way. This kind of photography is 99.9% about failure. — Alex Webb
Practice builds resilience. It teaches me to persevere until those magic moments happen. Sometimes, I capture images that are considered “almost there, but not quite.” Those are frustrating especially when I’ve set myself to a high bar when it comes to visual aesthetics. So, the only way to reach it is to keep pushing through.
Practice deepens my appreciation for the process particularly refining my eye for graphic composition. I think that is the essence of why I enjoy street photography. It doesn’t matter whether I have a DSLR, point-and-shoot, or iPhone camera, the process of seeing remains the same—and it’s a lasting investment.
On a spiritual level, street photography always brought me to the present moment. When I used to have challenging days working at my hotel job, the stress eased up once I had my camera slung around my neck as I walked the city streets. My attention was solely focused on what was in front of me so there was no room to ruminate on my difficult day.
Consistency stands as a cornerstone in achieving my goals. Rather than adhering to strict routines, I build a cadence that fits my life— a more gentle way of approaching consistency without beating myself up. The synergy of practice and consistency yields incremental improvements, and every step forward matters.
Your turn, dear ones. Share your thoughts on any of the photographs. Let me know if you have a few favorites. Or, if you would like to comment about street photography, failure, or the power of practice, I’d love to hear them. Let’s meet in the comments section below.
See you all next Sunday!
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