Streets Near and Far
I find street photography a moody business at the best of times and no more so than when I’m travelling. Earlier this year I had great fun catching up with friends and family on a brief visit to Sydney, Australia. Two sentences instantly setting the scene of street photography dilemma for me – spending precious time catching up with loved ones which pulled at the urge to take time out and go shoot. But shoot what? And shoot how?
Brief forays on my own, and some in company, were exercises in sheer flat lining. Absolutely nothing to get excited about at all. I was getting an ok picture diary of time and place but really it was just people in funny t-shirts walking along the beach, or licking ice-creams, or playing volley-ball on the sand. I took a few shots of the Harbour Bridge, absolutely none of which would make anyone gasp with that feeling of “OMG this is the first time I’ve ever seen the bridge looking like that!” There are plenty of awesome scenic Sydney shots online, you know that, you just don’t need a piddling middle of the road one from me. Promise!
So with heavy feet and time dragging me back to where I needed to be I began to accept that a level of street shooting excitement was not going to get anywhere beyond a just this side of dead pulse. It was the travel, I was tired. It was the heat, I was tired. It was being busy, I was tired. I can’t do this anymore, I was tired. Plus, who said I could do it in the first place? You need an excuse for anything let me know, I have plenty.
Then I found the kids, just around the corner before quits. Hoping my camera wasn’t feeling as slow as I was I began to take a few tentative shots. The kids, absolutely God Bless them, hammed it up just a little before totally ignoring me. Not only was I not a problem, I just wasn’t there as far as they were concerned. This was like plugging me into an outlet or better still coming at me with a big fat pair of de-fib paddles. Talk about re-charge even though you’d never know it to look at me. Discretion after all is the better part of so much in life.
The funny thing is, I would never have been allowed to have this much fun as a young girl at their age, well not in a bikini and not with boys unless they were all good Catholic kids but then good Catholic kids knew better than to even try this. They knew they’d get caught, not even being naughty but sort of worse, being . . . cheap. I hate myself for even saying this here but it was a word that rang loud through my fear and loathing of childhood into adolescence.
This is way off the mark of where I thought I was going with this but see what photos can do to a person. Well perhaps not the photos themselves but the demons that drive a poor sausage to take the photos they do, and to get a kick out of doing so.
So thank you kids. It was great to see you all having fun in the sun and the water together, flying through the air absolutely unabashed and having the summer time of your lives. May you all live long, healthy, productive lives in love and friendships forever. Forever young!
Huge thank you!
Such fun moments, Patti. Great post. I simply love Sydney.
Thank you Jane! I’ve seen your shots of Sydney . . . so fabulous!
Thanks, Patti. Loved when we lived there for a few months. Would be nice to escape….
Outstanding images and story Patti 😀 Isn’t it great when you can just disappear into a crowd and snap images. BTW I might need some spare excuses so I can use them when I need to. I’ll get back to you for them 😀
I just like disappearing full stop Joe, crowd or no crowd but it’s getting into that space. You know what I mean! As for the excuses, you know where to come and there’ll be a bonus IPA in it for you!
I loved the photos, but not as much as reading the story behind it. It really gave the photos a different meaning once I’d read it… Thanks a lot Patti, it’s been a while since I read something from you!
That’s so great to know, thank you Fabrizio and I look forward to catching up with what you have been up to!
Ditto! I love the way your images have captured the candour and exuberance of their youth. I know this little strip of boardwalk/beach and have never been privy to such a show as this one. It is obvious that you have the skill to ‘set the scene’ in order for them to strut their stuff. Some perfect tans in equally perfect weather!
Hey Zita if you see them please say hello from me. Love what you say about the candour and exuberance, they have it in spades don’t they!
Yes, they all look like good catholic kids to me, Patti. Nothing like the exuberance of youth to add the years. Doing those backflips. I remember them well. Is it Manly or Cronulla beach?
You mean this is what good Catholic kids look like these days? Maybe they did back in my day but I was never to know – that way was ruin and a rotten marriage was the best you could hope for! For the record this is Manly.
When you are young enough nothing better than a jump into the water to cool down during summer days! good joyful mood in your pictures Patti, well done!
Summer bliss indeed Robert, thank you so much!
Enjoyed this set and the write up!! On occasion if you approach shooting freinds and family as a candid street shots you can get some fun and interesting results..
Oh Pat, Pat, Pat . . . .Thank you and absolutely agree with you about the approach. I enjoy shooting F & F’s, not so sure how happy they are about it, but sometimes you just want to take the camera out for a long solo walk and if you do get something well that’s a bonus. Catch up with yu soon I hope!
I appreciate your letting us in to some of what goes on behind the scenes – of your eyes, that is. Love the back flip photos – your last paragraph says it all. But of course it can be complicated, too, for them as much as it was for you. Summer’s a time for forgetting the complexities of life, at least in brief moments like these. (I hear you about travel tiring you out – at some point, you just have to allow yourself to have no expectations, right? If you can.)
A huge yes to low/no expectations for sure, it can only get better from there. Or not! I love your understanding of their complications which very much goes with the teenage territory of life intensity but then what would we know? Hope you’re enjoying your summer travels and new exploring.
What you captured here, Patti, is really the pure joy. That’s getting transported by your images. …and thank you for sharing your thoughts. ..and it’s good that you captured that.
So happy you enjoyed thank you Markus!
Thank you for your inspiring and open words, Patti. Hope to see more of your works.
I love looking at your shots, and always have enjoyed the back stories. You write so beautifully. xx
Hugest thank you dear Gaynor 😘😍😘
Patti, I felt certain that you knew these girls before reading your narrative. What an interesting perspective. Images and travel definitely have a way of grinding you back into the child you once were. It’s funny how a word like “cheap” can still resonate so many years later. I hope the family connections were good ones. Terrific shots!
Such a lovely comment, thank you so much Alys for your kind thoughts here. Family time was great fun. I spend so much of my time here in NYC on my own so there is always that re-adjustment to make when it comes to travel and street shooting!
That certainly makes sense. Are you on the street with your camera every day, Patti? Do you keep a schedule?
Patti, I’m so glad you got your plug in, your recharge, your defibrillation. It feels so good to have that energy back.
Your photos are great!
The smile on that boy!
The back flips of those girls!
The toes on the edge of that pylon (or whatever you call that).
Just great shooting, my friend!
So great to have you here feeling the fun, thank you so much dear Laurie!
Pure joy ☀️😎 happy summer Patti! Smiles Hedy 😀
Wishing you summer smiles also Hedy, thank you!
So live and fun 🙂
Thank you Joshi!
I do miss the seashore. Left Miami after 60 years to inland Greensboro, NC. It’s not 12 minutes to Miami Beach anymore.
That’s a big move after so long in one place. Hope it’s all working out for you Carl.
Bless those kids. All kids. 🙂
(PS. How long’s the flight to Down under? I have been thinking of going, but the mere thought of the hours…)
From Mexico to Sydney it’s . . . . . 21 hours! That’s going via LAX. Yes it is such a long flight, I don’t do it often enough to ever get used to it but when I do I find a strong dose of denial helps. Good luck with your decision!
Daughter # 2 has gone to Indonesia for an indeterminate time to clear her head. (Looks like it is working) 30 hours flight… OMG
I imagine you have family in Australia?
Oh, and bless the times when joyful girls in bikini can jump off a bridge in splashes of laughter.
Nice backflip shots!
Hi Patti. No news in almost a year. Miss your blog. Hope all is well?