Street Photography in SLC


Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining the Photowalking Utah group on another monthly event. This time weather permitted us to get back in the outdoors and conduct what was mostly a walk.

The concept of this Photowalk was to board the TRAX rail and ride across town, getting off at each stop to take photos of whatever catches your eye until the next train comes along. We boarded on the East side of town, rode straight to the west side as our first stop, then worked our way back West towards our cars. The weather was a bit nippy with some wind, but much better than the forecast snow which thankfully held off until that night.

I have to say this event was one of my favorite thus far. I have enjoyed each of them thus far, but street photography is an art that I enjoy and would like to do more often. Downtown districts seem to lend the best opportunity for photos, both from the architecture and from the people you encounter. Salt Lake City may not be Times Square or SOHO, but much to the disbelief of many outsiders it does have some fun diversity to capture.

Each stop did have some varied buildings, signs and other things to capture, and a good time seemed to be had by all. I enjoyed more of the group interaction as we followed whatever caught our eye yet seemed to end up in pods of similar interest. About halfway through a few of us were seemingly more focused on capturing images of interesting people, and it reminded me what I find as two different approaches to photographing people in this way. First, you can stand back and try to capture them surreptitiously whether with a long lens or shooting from the hip. The other is to approach the individual directly and ask permission.

Without Talking                             Engaged

Because I am not a social person by nature, I like to force myself to get involved with the subject of my photo if the situation allows it. At one of the stops there were a number of (my assumption of course, but fairly self-evident) homeless people in the area, several of which I decided to talk to and photograph. There were others on the walk that were doing this as well, but most didn’t until they saw how we were willing to solicit permission. This is the beauty of group events like this; we see new ways of doing things and break ourselves out of our comfort zone to try them. Incidentally, the “Crazy Tat” as I titled it on Flickr was not homeless, rather someone waiting for the next train along with us; he was just too interesting looking to pass up.

A benefit we as photographers gain by engaging people is meeting new and diverse people. Morgan was more than happy to allow the gaggle of us to capture his character on our sensors, and shared with us some stories along the way. Though he didn’t ask for donations, several gave him some money as thanks for indulging us. Some others were a bit more pressing for a pay for play, but that was ok too.

You can view my growing flickr set from this excursion, and I plan to share a few more images in subsequent posts. I took some video, as well as Rich who manned the camera for a bit. I have yet to look at the footage, but I plan to put out a little video of this event as well. I hope you take some time to explore this fun style of photography, for the enjoyment and challenge of it.