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A Start in Street Scapes

I know it has been a moment since I've posted anything here. I've been busy creating, recovering from some mystery bunch of minor ailments, and being present with people as much as I can. Mostly, resting. I've been incredibly tired for the last few months. I'm hoping that will change soon. For now, enjoy a slow but hopefully steady stream of content coming back your way.

Street photography has been a challenge for me. I dated a guy during grad school who was very into his social media presence (I know, I know. I knew then, too, give me grace to grow...) and taking photos downtown was something we started doing together. You don't need to talk to me long for me to admit that portraiture is not my forte. Abstract is great for me when it comes to photography. I love landscape, too. Still life? You got it. Light on land and manipulated surfaces is my bread and butter. But street photography? People? I find myself increasingly frustrated with my inability to capture brilliant moments.

A few months ago, I went off with a friend to explore the Bishop Arts district on a bright sunny day. We grabbed a coffee (I may or may not have followed it up with a drink), walked around, talked, and window-shopped the lively neighborhood. After she had to depart for the evening, I went to my car, grabbed my camera, and spent time trying to take some pictures.

A triptych of buildings on the way into the city to warm up. Architecture and landscapes are my comfort zone, people are not. Left: the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Middle: I don't know? But it felt like a bright blue picture. Right: Also, admittedly, don't know. But it looked nice.

Tunnels are one of my favorite liminal spaces to experience, because it happens within the known comfort of your car. Why not take a picture of the geometric perspective as shown through the lights and lanes? Make it film noir? Capture a moment not meant to be significant. It reminds me of the moving walkway at the National Gallery of Art, entitled "Multiverse" by Leo Villareal.

Moving onto the real challenge of the day: the photos taken walking on the streets to capture life happening and see culture as it was being created and enjoyed.

This is the first of three bar shots taken during the day. Parker Barrow's is known visually for this striking black and white tile. Unfortunately, that meant that I'd struggle to capture the interior without the bright light overexposing the tiles in the window-sill. But I love that you can see the tiles repeating themselves in a little hint at the top of the composition. The contrast of the tiles keeps my eyes bouncing between it and the diagonal of lighting fixtures that draws me into that rich wall paper. Overall, this maybe is not a huge success as a human-story, but we see people, so it is progress. I'm not unhappy with it, but there is much room for improvement.

This one is an interesting capture. The Paradiso is one of my favorite places—the open courtyard, the food, the drinks, and interior decorating are all so dreamy to me. The Passionate Feels remains one of my favorite drinks, and I got to share it on an exceptional date. What I found intriguing about the Paradiso on this day was the sentiment expressed by people present. As with most any quality, boutique, Instagrammable-place, the downside is the need for Instagram exposure. On this day, the Paradiso was closed for an exclusive influencer/blogger event. Not minding being unwelcome, I still wanted to take some pictures as inconspicuously as possible. But what I noticed was—by very nature of the group of people attending the event—most were on their phone. The subject of this picture is sitting alone at first glance, looking unhappy. The person across the table from her is so distanced that it hardly looks like an intimate or significant conversation, and to my viewer of this photograph, we don't even notice her at first (the red behind the palm is the dress of the apparent conversational partner). The person next to her is on her phone. How are we meant to consume spaces built for consumption? What does the process look like for content-creators to be requested to make content when creativity itself requires different tools, time, and inspiration from one to the next? Or is this commentary on the commodification of content creation? What was content prior to pop-arts product placement? Where would Campbell's be today?

On the flip side of consumption: waiting in line, wearing gradually neutral shirts, a single phone in hand. Perhaps pie is the greatest answer to all of our divisive digital problems.

The second of our bar shots! This is from the outdoor bar at Whitehall Exchange. It is SO dark, absolutely, but the girl's body language is beautiful to me. Her hair, scrunchy, tank, etc, all capture the light against the dark and cool escape from the hot July of Dallas.

Taking a quick departure from people to get back to a comfort zone: textures and plants! I needed to build some courage to continue. I'm not sharing every photo I took, naturally, and there are a few where I just didn't have the settings right prior to taking the photos. I get really stressed taking what I feel are "creeper shots" of people on the streets, so I needed to take some non-people photos in between to stay photography-warm.

Market stalls! Table sales! The exchange between individual consumers and small creators.

A relieving-artchitecture photograph looking at the brick, glass, tile, stone, and wood near Dude, Sweet Chocolate. (Pro-tip: their Break Up Potion has been a favorite of mine for years. Bourbon chocolate sauce? Sign me up to have a sundae drizzled in this stuff. Or on my affogato. Or with my regular morning espresso.... maybe...)

Ok, another voyeuristic window shot here, but we can see people digging through records! Not sure how to keep it bright inside and behind the window while keeping a low ISO and shutter speed. But this is what growing and learning is for, right?

Some stores just have beautiful displays.

And sometimes, you take advantage of those displays to capture yourself capturing other things as a means of self-preservation.

Street installations have a special place in my heart. I wonder what they must be like to experience as a young child?

Closing out the series here with the doorway of Reveler's Hall, complete with a brilliant bit of live music. I think this isn't framed as well compositionally as some of the other open-door shots taken on this day, but I'm not disappointed with how the entire evening produced this set of photos.

Overall, my goal was to get into capturing stories of humans doing their things in the Bishop Arts district. While I am no Cartier-Bresson, I got to grow in my confidence of getting to shoot people in the moment. The more I practice and the more I get comfy, the better I'll get at boldly capturing beautiful decisive moments before me. I think next, I'll do some research on the decisive moment and look into more of Cartier Bresson's life and works.


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