Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

The People You See on the Streets of Chicago

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There’s a genre known as street photography and I’ve long admired those who know how to make it work.

I’ve done some dabbling in street photography, but it has always been a byproduct of being somewhere for another reason and merely taking advantage of an opportunity.

Some of those opportunities have come while walking around in downtown Chicago. I primarily am looking to photographs buildings and urban landscapes, but here and there I’ve made a street photograph.

Street photographers need a photojournalist’s mentality, meaning they have to do what some people might see as imposing on others.

Not wanting to come off as “imposing on others” has held me back from being a street photographer. All but one of the images that you see here was made with a telephoto lens to increase the possibility that the person I was photographing would not know what I was doing.

Street musicians are, perhaps, the easiest subjects to find when making street photographs. They always seem to be out playing on the streets no matter what time of the day it is if they expect a large crowd of people to be around.

Then there are the homeless and the panhandlers, who also are ubiquitous on city streets. Not all of the former are the latter or vice versa. I’m always wary of them knowing that I’m photographing them because they might not respond well to that.

The photograph of the police with a vehicle pulled over was something I just happened upon.

It struck me that the motorist must think it bad enough that he got pulled over by the cops, but by cops on bicycles? Yes, it happens. I snapped a couple images and kept on walking.

And that is the story behind all of these images. I saw a moment, got the image and kept on going toward my destination.


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