For me, street photography means seeing ordinary things as unusual. Yes, I can’t find better words to describe it. Certainly, photography is also a journey; new discoveries, surprises and movement, photography is full of mistakes and terrible shots but it is also the best shots in life! Photography is an experience that each of us abnormal eccentrics are looking for with a camera in our hands, just like drug addicts searching for their dose.
The camera makes us go ahead, run, find points of shooting, buy tickets for trains and aeroplanes, sit or stand, and in some cases lie or even crawl. The camera is the thing that tweaks our asses even when it lies on a dusty shelf. Even at this moment, it does it.
Living everyday life, we forget how beautiful, how unimaginably and cleverly assembled the world around us. The things we’re used to are insanely beautiful when they happen. But when we observe them every day, we go blind, we stop seeing. And when we are blind, we cease to rejoice. When we are blind we cannot see all those little details that are meant to make our life beautiful.
On Earth, there are hundreds of places I visited just because a camera led me there. Hundreds of places that I would never have discovered if it were not for this wonderful mechanism. A great variety of events happened in my life that would never have happened without this instrument, people I would never have met, thoughts and deeds that would never have happened if it were not for my camera.
But no, this is not at all an ode to the camera, not a praise of the subject (although the camera as an object of worship deserves no less praise than the female breast), it’s more like a rumour about what each of us thinks about.
Why am I doing this? Why precisely here and just like that? Who needs it and is it necessary at all? We all think about it while simultaneously pressing the shutter button. But not these questions attract me so much and they do not excite my consciousness, they do not force me to take a camera in my hands and go to the other end of the street, city, country, Earth. There is something much more impressive and fascinating in all this action, and yes, this is something directly connected with the camera, which is probably why we started with it.
You know, when I discovered for myself the magical property of a camera, it all made about the same impression as the moment when I first saw how on an empty, absolutely virginal sheet of paper soaked by my father in a dark bathroom, slowly but inexorably and swiftly an image appeared. I remember very well that moment, it was like a dream or a deep knockout, so many thoughts passed through my head that it is impossible to describe it. It was pure magic, absolute and perfect. Hocus pocus that was right in front of my nose. The magic with a delayed effect, because many years later, when I mastered the craft of film development, when the whole wonderful mechanism of interaction between light and photosensitive material was firmly in my head, I saw it all over again, and believe me, the sensations that I then experienced I will never forget. It was then that I understood what I was doing, who I was and what photography is. Magic is my craft.
After some more time, I shot a lot, shot everything that I wanted and the way I wanted. I was having fun and getting high on every frame without realizing why I am so happy about it.
But one evening was destined to completely change my view and understanding of photography as a whole. I will remember that evening forever.
On that day, I just wandered senselessly through the streets of my native Moscow, I was not looking for anything specific, I was not waiting for the Decisive Moment, I was just taking pictures. This, if I may say so, natural flow carried me through the streets and forced me to press the shutter button repeatedly. So I spent a few hours without thinking, just doing what I love to do.
In the evening of the same day, I decided to see what I filmed. Not expecting to see anything out of the ordinary, I put the USB flash drive into my laptop and opened the Lightroom. Leafing through frame by frame, I got to the point when I suddenly saw a picture of my porch in front of my eyes. Direct perspective, the door is barely opened, and from the darkness of the entrance, a stroller is being shown which is carried by the old man. The old endures the young, the past pushes the future forward, opening the iron doors of the present to it. And then it dawned on me, it was as if I got a sledgehammer on the bare. I know this porch perfectly. I have seen it millions of times, from different angles, at different times of day, under different circumstances and in different situations. It was always just a porch. No more and no less. But now, right now, when I looked at this picture and saw this particular moment, this extravaganza of the stopped time, the triumph of the present which has already become past but doomed to eternal existence, at that moment the entrance was a magnificent creation of God, an object of art, the embodiment of everything beautiful on Earth. Yes, not only on Earth, in the whole Universe. I suddenly understood why I was taking photos. I understood why I like it that way. And I understood the meaning of the existence of photography as a whole.
A human being is bored with everything that is near him for a long time. We get tired of things, of people, events and places. We even get tired of ourselves and what seemed to us beautiful and super extraordinary yesterday, today is nothing more than just a part of our everyday life. This is probably our thing and nothing can be done about it.
But that evening I discovered a means capable of returning a sense of beauty, a feeling of happiness from every moment in time. It was a photograph of my porch, with a shabby metal door, a dirty lawn and broken asphalt in front of the entrance. This Decisive Moment, when the grandfather opened the door and pushed the carriage forward, it was this moment that made everything around me radiant, brilliant, perfect. From that very evening, I learned to see a photo differently. I began to understand its essence and rejoice in everything around me, even when I do not have a camera in my hands.
Remember, photography is a great tool, use it correctly as a powerful magical tool. And great shots to you all!