I read a lot of blog posts. Recently I read a blog on the virtues of photographing people from the back. How it is still street photography. Excuse me for saying this, but I always felt that photographing people from behind is not facing up to your fear of confronting your subject face to face. It pointed out how some of the great photographers have done this. Sure, it happens, but I think not for the reasons that they cited. While there are times I do photograph from behind, it is usually a response to something that photographing from the front wouldn’t add to the emotional or compositional context.
What is the worst that could happen? I’ve been hit on the leg once by an elderly woman with her cane. Usually I work fast enough that the person sometimes doesn’t know what happened. Sometimes my presence there in front of them forces them to gaze straight at me. I want to look people in the eyes and feel what they feel. This blog post said that this was wrong, that this is not the essence of street photography. Your presence should be not known. I feel sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends upon the situation.
Robert Frank once said, ” …Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference.” Photographing people from behind because you have fear is ” a matter of indifference”. Take a stand.
Life is not about hiding or living in fear. Face the everyday. Don’t be forceful with confrontation, but don’t run from it. You might be pleasantly surprised.