During the summer of 1975 I found myself in one of my favourite cities, Paris, France. I had just exited the Metro station in Pigalle, one of the seedier parts of Paris and mentally prepared myself for the long climb ahead through the narrow streets and lanes to Mont Mâtre and Sâcre Coeur, when a commotion a short distance away caught my attention. There was screaming, a scuffle ensued and in the end a perfectly good SLR camera lay smashed on the pavement. While the owner of said camera, a Spanish speaking woman, lamented the demise of her expensive camera a pinstripe suited, reddish faced, blond haired figure emerged from one of the cafes at the corner, quickly surveyed the scene and flicked his wrist. The other combatant, a rather attractive, short skirted young "lady" in heels, her hair now in disarray and a run in one of her stockings, nodded at him discretely and disappeared around the corner, not to be seen again while Mr. Pinstripes returned to his seat at the cafe. A gendarme arrived shortly thereafter and spoke to the Spanish speaker. Of course there was the language barrier and i could hear this phrase several times: "but Madame, where is the woman who smashed your camera. If you can't point her out to me I cannot make an arrest". There was not to be resolution of the conflict and the gendarme left as fast as he appeared. This was almost like a scene out of "Irma La Douce" starring Shirley McLean and Jack Lemmon with the exception that this had just been the real thing and, unlike the movie, was not funny at all. And what had led up to the altercation? The victim had, in order to get a photo of a real "working girl", shoved her camera right in front of her face. Lesson number one: DO NOT BE INTRUSIVE when doing street photography. Choose the right lens for the "job", be it a super telephoto or a super wide angle lens.
For lesson number two I have to go back even further. One of the women I went to college with at the time got an F on one of her assignments because all the people in her photos were posing for her. What was her assignment? Candid photos of people around the city.
Lesson number three happened to me just a few short months ago. I sat in a tour bus in Panama City and a torrential downpour had just stopped when the bus came to a halt in front of a building. This was one of the poorer parts of town but let me describe to you the scene. Across from me there was a large shuttered window with some of the shutters open and others shut. In one of the windows the lady of the house was leaning out of the window while the rest of the rather large family was gathered around the dining table. Just below the window two men who had gotten caught in the tropical downpour had stripped off their shirts and were wringing them out. The water was just pouring from the shirts. I did not own the right lens then to take the shot and so i didn't. Suffice to say that I now own an ultra wide angle lens.
While I mostly photograph wildlife, street photography is one of the things I also enjoy. I hope you will enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
A walking tour around Cartagena's old city
Photos from around the city
A short walking tour through the city
Diary of a visit
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