One time, I listened to my favorite photographer, Tim Coulson, talk about taking fewer pictures of his family, and aiming to shoot just a few and knowing when enough is enough, and putting down his camera and living in the moment with them. That stuck with me and this last week in New York I’ve been putting it to practice. I’ve shot just 200 frames, including my phone images. A lot of the images are alex and the kids wandering new york, on the subway, where ever. The rest is street photography.
I’m not always entirely sure what it is that I love about street photography. Intellectually, it tends to stretch me as a person, and as a Christian. I want to answer all the questions we have, but I just end up with more questions. I think art, especially, doesn’t need to answer questions. It’s fine to answer them, and let the questions you wrestle with increase your faith in knowing that only Jesus knows and that it’s ok to not know and spend a lifetime asking. On a lesser, perhaps more accessible level, I just love seeing faces, passing conversations with people, documenting people doing what they do.
One the other hand, I think that I love people as fellow image bearers of a Holy God. They’re doing what he put them here for, regardless of whether or not they’d agree that God has a purpose for them, or even exists. But there’s faces of people, of places God brought into being, ways of life that aren’t mine, but that I enter into briefly, and then leave again. Photographing them allows me to experience them only peripherally, I don’t fully enter into the lives of the people who fall into my frames. But I see them- their faces, their lives cross paths with mine for the briefest of moments. That’s always significant to me. I think it’s the connection I love. Briefly brushing past someone with an “excuse me” in Russian, English, or Spanish. Maybe commiserating on how crowded the B train from Brighton Beach is. I don’t know. I think I just want people to feel less alone and that I see them. Being seen and known. is at the end, what we all want on some level, isn’t it?