When I came out of my apartment building at lunch-time today, I heard the sound of a violin nearby; it turned out to be a violinist playing near the entrance to the T-Mobile store on the corner. What I found most interesting was the older fellow, standing out of sight around the corner, quietly listening to some very nice music. I too listened for a while, before heading south on Broadway...
Note: this photo was published in a December 8, 2008 blog posting entitled "5 Habits That Help Cultivate Greatness." It was also published in a January 5, 2009 article on a T-Mobile website entitled "Get Your Tmobile Employer Discount."
Note: the violinist's name is David Adamczyk, and he describes himself as a violinist, composer, and instructor. If you'd like to contact him, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is part of an evolving photo-project, which has continued throughout the summer of 2008, and into the autumn: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
I don't like to intrude on people's privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they're still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what's right in front of me.
I've also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting -- literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I've learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture ... after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it's pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.
For the most part, I've deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don't want to be photographed, and I don't want to feel like I'm taking advantage of them. I'm still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We'll see how it goes ...
The only other thing I've noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, far more people who are not so interesting. They're probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I've photographed ... but there was just nothing memorable about them.