I Pretended to Be a Pro Street Photographer — Part 1

by Derco Rosal

I must say I looked like a legit photographer when I went to town, so I had no reason to act like I was not. The only thing I was assured of was I had with me a camera…and the urge to take as many pictures as I want.

I have never enrolled in any photography class until now but I had the guts to pretend like I was a street photographer when I needed some shots to be uploaded in my Pindle account, an app like Instagram, but I see it as a platform for photographers around the world.

On the night before I traveled within the town of Marikina, I read some articles about how street photography works and how to operate a DSLR camera, that I borrowed from my sister, since the only thing I knew was how to turn it on and press the shutter button. I was aware that I never really understood the language of street photography in my crash course that night, but I had no plan to cancel my trip. In fact, no one would approach me and ask if I was skilled enough to be walking confidently in the crowd while holding a camera.

Clock Tower Arch, Marikina City. [Image by the author]

I must say I looked like a legit photographer when I went to town, so I had no reason to act like I was not. The only thing I was assured of was I had with me a camera with a fully-barred battery, a free memory card, and the urge to take as many pictures as I want. So there I was, started looking for scenes that would catch my eye. In my mind, I was laughing at myself because I had no idea what I was doing, but I could say I was successful pretending to be a legit street photographer.

Alright, it’s time to show you my shots.

First Shot.

From this shot, I remember one tip from professional street photographers; that is to play with lights. You can also elicit a meaningful message from this shot, especially regarding social issues.

Second Shot.

Here, I think I played pretty well with light as emphasized by the whole row of shade on the vendor’s side, and the shadows of the bikers on the other.

Third Shot.

Everything was moving in this frame. What I like here is that the subjects were moving parallel with their background: the man walking, the jeep, and the motorcycle to the right direction.

Fourth Shot

The little girl from the third shot was chasing a flock of pigeons, and the pigeon I captured here belongs to the flock. I’m not quite sure if this counts as a street photography but I am flattered with this photo because it was shot with the right timing.

Fifth Shot.

The photo speaks for itself.

Sixth Shot.

This title girl was the same one from the fifth shot. They are a community of street vendors who carry on with their lives despite the pandemic.

Seventh Shot.

I took this photo in the public market. I only have one question for the subject of this photo: “How tired was he?”

Eighth Shot.

This last shot is cute as in romantically cute for an old couple.

What did I learn from this experience?

Although this is a street photography, not everything in public allows being photographed. There was a homeless man who came to me and told me, with a suspecting tone and look, that he wanted to see the photos I took, and delete those of him. I honestly tried to take a shot of him singing and waiting for alms but I failed to get one because he kept on hiding and changing locations. When he approached me, I immediately told him that I got no photo of him. I was scared because he was just a meter close to me. He could do anything to harm me. I was ready for a flight like a mouse in the presence of a cat, but what I heard put me back to my composure.

I don’t want to be photographed because a vlogger humiliated me before.

I understood his trauma so I acknowledged what he said by nodding. We exchanged a few words and peacefully parted ways.

Personally, I’m unsure of my shots. I have an idea of how a street photography should look like but I don’t see it when I look at these photographs. However, I am consoled by the fact that I succeeded being in character as a legit street photographer.

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Derco Rosal

Derco Rosal

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Student. Speech Communication (Major). Journalism (Minor). Interests: personal essay, memoir, movie review, poetry, and photography. FILIPINO.