I’m here in Barcelona teaching street photography to 9 students from South Essex College. I teach street photography a lot to all age groups and abilities in the UK and various cities across Europe and I’ve noticed that what people have problems with or struggle with are the same things and keep appearing time after time and they are mainly caused by “self projection”.

What I mean by that is how we project our own thoughts and feelings onto other people. This in not good when it comes to street photography and for that matter life in general. It seems that fear and self projection stops us from moving forward and missing opportunities that don’t come along too often.

Let me explain, one of the students was getting into a bit of a kerfuffle and getting frustrated about photographing people on the streets so I asked why they found it hard to point a camera at someone they had never met before. The reply was, as always, “people don’t like it”, my next question was, “why do you think that?” The reply “because they don’t”. “do you like it?” I asked “no” was the answer.. and there it is.

We all do it, self project that is, nothing wrong with it, but it does hold us back as a street photographer. I’m not advocating that we all go and rock up in someone’s face and aggressively point and shoot the camera, no, we should all be courteous, respectful and compassionate but don’t put your thoughts and feelings onto others and assume they feel the same, just ask the question or gesture with a smile, you might be pleasantly surprised.  

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