Street photography is centered around capturing candid moments and encounters, painting the seemingly unremarkable scenes that we see on a day-to-day basis with fascinating tales. However, great street photography has more than meets the eye. To exquisitely frame the instant that harmonises both familiarity and intrigue is a highly rewarding task.
Having strolled the streets of Hong Kong for more than 14 years, Ronson Chan reveals that the core of this genre of photography is recording snippets of daily life that are both exhilarating and cheerful.
To achieve this goal, Ronson underlines two main principles he adopts.
Firstly, having spontaneity and readiness are crucial. “Always put your camera on hand. You don’t know what will happen in the next second, so you have to be ready to press your shutter button at any moment.” One should always be observing and predicting potential shots.
On the same note, Ronson stresses the importance of speed when it comes to street photography. “Try to take photos fast. Every movement and moment may disappear quickly, so take the photo as quickly as you can.” Don’t miss out on those opportunities where frames lineup immaculately; every second matters.
Second, get absorbed into the environment and atmosphere. “Just be a normal pedestrian, don’t be shy on the street.” Instead of taking from an outsider's perspective, immersing yourself into the neighborhood or street as a participant lends a more involved and homely feel to both your experience and your photography. While famous locations are already well explored and photographed, Ronson points out that you can “try to find another angle or point of view to take the photograph, letting audiences experience an unexpected and fresh perspective.”
To better acclimate with those surroundings, Ronson suggests wandering around the city without a camera first. “It’s a good practice for beginners to observe the subject’s movement.” Once you grasp the flow of the people and environment, those alluring photographs are just waiting to be snapped.
When looking out for subjects, Ronson shared that astounding images are normal objects and happenings framed to tell a special story. “I always look for some local items like neon signs, taxis and elderly people that may catch my eye.” With that, he also minimises his interactions with the subjects, wanting to capture the most candid moments that best display the characteristics of the scene.
In Ronson’s eyes, street photography is about bringing out unique aspects of locations. “I hope to promote the city with my photos, attracting more people to travel and go sightseeing. I’d also like to make travellers reminisce about their memories of those cities.” Stirring up feelings of longing with his craft, Ronson understands that street photography is less about being fancy and more about highlighting distinctive features that make the city stand out.
So keep an eye out for distinctive spectacles and show the world snippets of your city life. Those everyday moments housing peculiar sights might just accentuate the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Ronson is a street photographer based in Hong Kong with over 14 years under his belt capturing the magical and candid life moments of alleyways and pavements. With a focus on making memorable shots, his photography encompasses the natural feel that presents stills that exude familiarity.