There a quite a few street gurus out there. Photographers who make a living off their blogs by posting reviews, a lot of advice, and sometimes some very definitive statements about the genre of street photography. They often make statements and long winded posts on how to stay motivated, what makes a good street photograph (complete with compositional diagrams), the best books to look at, what makes this or that camera the best camera for street photography, etc., etc., etc….. Oh, and yes, don’t forget to take my workshop please. I’ll show you all the ins and outs of shooting on the street. I would very much like to know how these guys got their street cred?
I can’t fault them for trying to making a living off what they do and love. Sometimes I wish I could, but, I cannot be like them.
While one might be able to show others technique, there are elements of being a street photographer, let alone, a photographer that one cannot teach. I think the best path to being a photographer or just someone who wants to express themselves by any other means – music, writing, sports, painting, etc., is to look, listen, read, those people who are doing something that is closely aligned to how you feel about expressing yourself through your chosen medium.
I am not against workshops, school, or apprenticeships. Somewhere, somehow, we must learn the technicalities of handling the tools of our chosen medium. To make better images? Go to museums, buy books, study photo/art history, but most of all …. shoot. Photograph every day. Photograph through whatever you are feeling. Carry your camera everywhere. Too big? Get a small pocketable camera or photograph with your phone. There are no excuses. Even if you don’t, the idea is planted in your mind. It’s always there. Inspiration is everywhere as well. In a book, in a song, in a pile of trash, in the sandwich you’re eating, wherever.
I always hated the statement, “I don’t know what to do because everything has already been done.” Nothing has been done until you yourself experience it. All through “Laurence of Arabia”, Peter O’Toole keeps hearing, “Everything is written.” and keeps quiet in response. Laurence, Peter O’Toole, finally gets to a place within himself and when he hears that statement again, responds, “Nothing is written.”
Sooner or later you will stop emulating those that you admire and your own voice will appear. You will, through hard work, recognize it. It will demand your response. It will be yours then and yours only.