Street Buskers in New Orleans

Like many of you, I avoid people in my travel photography. I am always waiting for them to get out of the way. But, after reading the eBook “Rabari: Encounters with the Nomadic Tribe” by Mitchell Kanashkevich, I have been trying to include more people since they add so much context and sense of place.

It’s not that easy though. It just seems awkward to put a camera right in someone’s face. So I started with street buskers on my recent visit to New Orleans. After all, if they are doing something out in public in order to get paid and I pay them, then I shouldn’t feel awkward, right?

New Orleans, Louisiana

Please click the images to view larger versions.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Ok, I know it’s a bit of a cop-out, but I have to start somewhere.

Do you avoid people in your travel photography?

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    • says

      Hi Len, thank you very much. That first one was funny, I don’t know how the the guy stood there in that position frozen like a statue. I have seen live statues before, but never in a position like that. He was talking to me without moving his mouth too! He said it wasn’t really that hard to stand like that.

    • says

      Thanks Mark! I almost didn’t photograph that woman, I thought the image would look silly, but then at the last minute I went back for her. I really like how that one turned out too.

  1. Laurie Alexander says

    Hi Anne…I have a difficult time approaching people to be in a photograph…my own discomfort. I love your idea of the street folk as an entry way into moving past that discomfort…this is a win/win, especially with people who most likely, have seen lots of life or are not afraid of it, which is reflected in their eyes. Love it, thanks!

    • says

      Hi Laurie, thank you very much, I’m glad you found the post helpful. I used to do the telephoto lens thing, but those photos never come out as good as the ones where you make a connection with people. Thank you very much for your visit and comments.

    • says

      Hi Sid (I just noticed now that your url says sid-thewanderer, so I guess people call you Sid?) Thank you very much for all your supportive comments, I really appreciate them and it means a lot to me that you find them inspiring.

    • says

      Hi Dina, there were lots of buskers in New Orleans so I guess they do show a side of the city. I only wish I was brave enough to approach some of the colourful people who were not buskers! I can imagine so many great portraits that could have been made, but I was not brave enough to make them. I’m working on it! Thank you very much for your comments.

  2. says

    Very nice! Including people really does make pictures much more visually interesting, and with these it creates a great sense of place. And I agree with Mark – the third one is awesome.

    Another good way to find people who actively want their pictures taken is at protests; the people there are trying to get publicity for a cause, so 99% of the time they eagerly want a camera trained on them (though I still always ask).
    Marc Perkins recently posted..Sad shelter pictures: cats behind barsMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you very much Edith. One of these days I will actually talk to and photograph a stranger! But I think that is really the trouble, you have to get to know people and make a connection before you can make a good image of them.

  3. says

    What a great trio! I thought that guy was caught mid-stride. I didn’t realize he was rooted to the spot! LOL! I too avoid folk in my images – I generally find them an intrusion. Not here though – they make the picture. Feel proud!
    LensScaper recently posted..Tree GhostsMy Profile

  4. says

    Hi Anne. I somehow missed this day. These are fantastic shots. I’ve encountered a few people that could not be eliminated from a shot and found that just conversing with them and letting them know what i’m doing tends to break the ice. Seems that most people like to have their pics taken. Besides, I’m not at all good at covert operations. :)
    Mark Neal recently posted..HDR – On the Water – A Visual CacophonyMy Profile

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