Heights, needles, riding a bike in NYC – all of these are silly irrational fears of mine, but none my fears are more ridiculous than my fear of street photography. What am I afraid of, you ask? Good question. I’m not afraid of doing engagement sessions or wedding portraits around the city. I direct those bad boys all over the place and don’t care who in the city hears me, sees me or trips over me. So whats the problem with street photography? It could be that I’m taken for a tourist and an impatient New Yorker shoves me aside or it could be that I look like a weirdo crouching on the street by myself with my camera pointed at what may appear to others a piece of trash. It could be that I will suck at street photography and find out I’m a one-trick photographer who can only capture people and weddings, or it could be, you know, that my camera will spontaneously learn to talk and loudspeaker to all of New York City and every hipster with a camera taking photos of a warehouse door, that I suck at photography. You know, that kind of stuff. Therefore, taking my camera around with me and shooting on the street is something I just don’t do.
Imagine this if you will: I’m walking down the street when I see an army of birds, standing in their long row at attention, the image and the story catches my eye. An army of the dumbest bird in the world, standing at almost perfect attention. I’m with another photographer, my dear friend Amy Rizzuto, who would totally understand me stopping to take a picture, and yet I still walk by. “That’d be a cool picture” I say to her as we cross the street, feeling the pressure of the blinking, white, walky-man (as I secretly call it) sign to keep moving. Never mind that I have my 5D Mark II on my hip, ready for action, as were just coming from the PDN photo plus expo.
“Do you want to stop?” She asks.
“Nah that’s okay,” I reply. “We’ll miss the light. ”
“Come ON!” she says tugging me to the island in the middle of the street.
Thank you Amy you fearless woman you. Photographing pigeons on NYC streets isn’t as scary as I thought.