I have spent the last week editing thousands of dance photos from a recent performance that I shot. I love both dance photography and street photography, but I had an interesting realization this past week about how the two different types of photography affect me.
When I photograph dance performances, I feel a level of excitement and intensity that I don't get with street photography. I am completely awed by the athleticism and the beauty of the dancers, and sometimes I find myself dancing along to the music (which is not good for photographs). But during the editing process, as I'm photoshopping "EXIT" signs out of the background and deleting photos in which some of the dancers are out of sync, I find myself becoming more and more critical. I feel that the dancers are seeking perfection, and so am I. And as I start picking everything apart, I see this critical spirit seep into my real life.
Street photography, on the other hand, makes me more accepting. When I am shooting street photographs, I find myself interested in people who are different from me. I find myself paying attention to people's expressions. I find my heart changing as I talk to a real person. As I go through the rest of my day, I remember their words and tone of voice. And as I edit their photograph, I try to highlight their uniqueness and story. I feel empathy for who they are.
I love dance photography for all of its art and beauty and elegance. But I have a soft spot for street photography, because I see what type of person it is helping me to become.
How does street photography make you feel?
Meredith M Howard is a photographer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She was inspired to start THE STREETS magazine after many conversations with strangers in downtown Atlanta.