Sociophotography – More than just faces on the street

Arrivals by I Nancy, on Flickr

Although I’ve done my share of landscape and flower photography this past year, capturing images on the street is what makes me happiest. Through the graces of my employer, I’ve had this past week off and have spent most of this time doing, thinking about, reading about, and looking at photography – mostly street photography. It started with a video training with Jay Maisel (from Kelby Training) and have studied works of Elliot Erwitt (his iPad app – highly recommended) and William Eggleston as well as several others. I really resonate with Stephen Shore’s work.

What resonates with me the most is when these photographers do more than just capture visual puns (though Erwitt was pretty good at that) or surprised faces on the street, but rather when they capture something about our culture, something about our society in a meaningful way such as how we live, the things we are doing, and the untold stories. I’d like to create a new word – Sociophotography – or something like that.

In Arrivals, I’ve tried to capture not just the energy of the people arriving at their destination, but also the sociology of travel in this early 21st century. Look at what the travelers are are wearing – brightly colored shirts, tennis shoes, shorts. Everything is so casual and in contrast to what an image might look like it had been taken in 1939 when the station was built. Look at how they carry their items in the ever ubiquitous white plastic bag. How different this might be in another 50 years.

Sure, I too, get enticed by the portrait opportunities of the Chinese man standing looking lost in the atrium, the man color coordinated in red and gray down to every detail leaning up against a green wall,  the man walking determined and shrouded by his hooded sweatshirt, and the nonchalant princess standing under halo lighting. But I’ll also strive for more.

Lost #1 Color Cordinated Shrouded Nonchalant