Street Photography, Personal Safety, And Lessons From Bruce Davidson

Berlin, 20012.  Leica M9, 35mm Summilux FLE

It’s not unusual to take a photo of someone on the street and have them immediately glare at the camera, and at you, with menace in their eyes.  And sometimes people act on their impulse to go after the photographer.  Just this week in Washington, D.C., a street photographer was assaulted after taking a picture of a guy running in front of the Verizon Center, which is the most public space in a city of public spaces, the D.C. equivalent of Main Street.

This morning, the prolific street photographer Eric Kim posted a paean to Bruce Davidson, one of the 20th Century’s masters, and it included 15 lessons to be learned from Davidson’s approach to street photography.  It’s really very well done, a distillation of Davidson’s methods that include how to stay safe and get the shot, even when the person sitting across from you on the subway has a scar across his face that looks like it was done with a scythe in a knife fight with Death, and he says, “Take my picture and I’ll smash your camera.”  Davidson got the shot.  Eric Kim tells you how.

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