Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront

Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront
Street Performer, Old Town Waterfront. Nikon D200, Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF Micro, ISO 100, f/4, 1/250 sec.

I’ve tried making pictures of this particular performer in the past, but had never come up with something that I liked. He twirls a baton and I’ve tried to capture that action. The main problem is that he’s usually standing in front of a bunch of trash cans, so it’s not the most flattering background.

Yesterday, I realized that what interested me most about him was his face, and to a lesser degree, his hat. So I asked him if he wouldn’t mind me coming in close for a portrait. He speaks very little English (as far as I can tell) so there was a bit of pantomiming on my part to get him to understand what I wanted him to do.

I like this shot the best out of any I’ve taken of him so far, but I’d like to try more in the future. He has a great face, and is quite an interesting character.

Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront

Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront
Artist Mark Parmelee, Alexandria Waterfront. Nikon D810, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 64, f/4, 1/1600 sec.

The Old Town Waterfront attracts musicians, artists, and street performers of all types. That’s part of the reason why I keep going there with my camera—you never know what you’re going to get.

As a street photographer, there are times you want to remain innocuous, even invisible. When it comes to artists and performers, I often feel that is the wrong approach. If the tables were turned, I know I’d feel uncomfortable working on my craft if I could feel the presence of a photographer lurking around me. So, as is the case with a lot of my photographs of performers, I introduced myself and asked if he wouldn’t mind me taking a few pictures. Unless the person says no (which is rare), it allows me to feel comfortable to shoot many different angles and moments. It also sets the artist at ease knowing that I’m not a total creeper!

Finally, for me, it’s about creating a connection. You never know where these connections may lead, if only to a pleasant exchange between artists.

Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront

Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront
Yellow & Blue, Alexandria Waterfront. Nikon D810, 50mm f/2 K, ISO 64, f/8, 1/320 sec.

This is why I try to carry a camera with me whenever possible.

Street photography is often frustrating, but at times opportunities just fall right in your lap. I doubt this girl purposefully parked herself right in front of these umbrellas that perfectly matched her skirt, but I am glad she did it! The sky was also a lovely shade of blue, providing a nice color contrast to the scene.