Over the weekend I attended the Miami Street Photography Festival. I am overjoyed that it was hosted in Miami, that there was great attendance, and an international group of renowned photographers were present to share their knowledge with those in attendance. However, I came away more confused after leaving the festival about what street photography actually is. Especially to those that are held up as the experts of the genre. Additionally, there was a clear under-representation of Black and White photography. in favor of color photography. I would have thought at least it would have been closely equal. Street Photography has always been dominated by the black and white image. Making black and white images is clearly more difficult. As was said by a famous photographer, “Any fool can make a color image!” Besides image color I was even more confused by composition. Many images were obviously staged, and admittedly so. While a street portrait of an individual in a natural pose, as well as candids are called Street Photography, there has always been a recognized line to not purposely pose an individual or create a specific scene. And yet I saw many instances of this. I don’t know if all of these things are a trend or an evolution. Some people argue that we see in color, therefore, images should be in color. I don’t really know. Nor do I know that it actually matters. Like I said, I am confused, but that is not to mean that I will change my style.
I attended a Little Havana walking tour that I used as a photowalk for my group. The tour was led by Miami Historian, Dr. Paul George. It started at the Tower Theater on 8th Street and headed West through many of the first neighborhoods in Miami during the turn of the century. I realized how new Miami is after walking through areas near 15th avenue that were Groves and Pineapple Plantations. West of 27th avenue was considered the Everglades. Imagine that. The area near the Tower Theater is not a new or modern epicenter of Miami activity. Many of Miami's most prominent families lived, worked and played in the area. The most colorful place I encountered was the Ball and Chain. The Ball and Chain was and is a Nightclub across from the Tower Theater that used to be a Gambling Club when Gambling was highly illegal. At first the club had doormen to ensure that only trusted people, and not police could enter. After a time, the "Wild West" attitude of Miami removed the need for doormen at the Ball and Chain and illegal activity brazenly thrived with the knowledge of the authorities. Here are some of my images from the tour. I encourage anyone seeking a more historical perspective to check out Dr. Georges walks.
I've seen many articles on selecting a wedding photographer. They are usually found in bridal magazines or Pinterest and are not written by photographers. That is unless the photographer is looking for work. To be clear and for full disclosure, I am not actively seeking clients. I am in Cape Town until June of 2015 and at this point I am concentrating on personal projects. I may take on weddings again in the future, however, I plan on being very selective on the clients I work with. I will never be a wedding photo factory. I could never do that. I am the type of photographer that desires to establish a relationship with people I photograph. You can't do that shooting a ton of weddings a year. To that end, my number one piece of advice would be my number one piece of advice to be to pay attention to how many weddings a photographer shots per year. I would not select a photographer the shoots fifty weddings a year. It is almost impossible to give personal and unique photography services to each client. High volume photographers are generally, what I call the photo factory and will have a cookie cutter approach to the weddings they shoot. You will pay less for the photo factory, but remember, this may be your once in a lifetime wedding. A good clue that you may have found a great photographer is one that either answers a phone or returns a phone message rather than doing everything by email. The one that wants to speak with you and wants to find out what YOU want is at least starting out in a good direction. So in a nutshell. Step one would be to make a list of ten of your favorite local photographers that shoot twenty or less weddings a year, have a phone contact and return your call in a couple of days with plans to talk about your wedding photography desires.