When most people go on vacation, they take pictures of their friends and family. Beautiful vistas. Old buildings. I like all that stuff as much as the next guy, but for some reason when I get out my camera, I take pictures of strangers. Strangers don't pose. They do funny things without realizing they're being watched. And when you get the pictures back, they're never around to complain about how they look.
During a semester abroad in Ireland, I began spending free afternoons on the streets, camera in hand, taking pictures of people I didn't know. (I tried to be as discreet as possible, eventually developing a from-the-hip technique where I could shoot without looking through the viewfinder; since I was never beaten or chased, I have to assume it worked.) Eventually I realized that there was a whole movement devoted to doing what I was doing, called street photography, and that I probably wasn't some voyeuristic maniac after all (or at least, not the socially unacceptable kind). Below: kid in a piazza, Florence.
Since then, I've stopped hitting the streets with my camera (L.A. isn't a walking town, they keep telling me) but have fallen in love with the great street photographers: Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Elliot Erwitt, and many more. In this series of blogs, I want to post and talk about my favorites, but I figured the best way to start was to post some of my own first (may as well put 'em to use; they're just moldering away in my Flickr account), which also saves me the embarrassment of trying to follow Arbus or Winogrand! So here goes. (To see larger versions of these, by the way, just click on them.)
A chapel in Normandie: