the stove, the horse, and my camera
I love cooking. Not from scratch, but I like discovering recipes and then improvising when I can’t find the exact ingredients or don’t have the exact tools/space. And it generally turns out great.
There’s a Hungarian proverb: “Átesik a ló túlsó oldalára” (“Falls over to the horse’s other side”) which is roughly the equivalent of “throw the baby out with the bath water,” meaning overdoing something to the other extreme. There’s also a saying (I wouldn’t necessarily call it a proverb) stating that a Hungarian horse has no back. Meaning that Hungarians never do things ‘just right’ it’s always falling on either side of the horse. Going too far in either direction.
Add what makes you different.
I love street photography. Not only do I love walking about and finding interesting moments or sights to capture, but I also love it being the gateway to documentary photography and photojournalism. Both of which I’m interested in and would love to practice eventually.
As a writer, I want to attach words to photos. While a picture can say a thousand words, I want to extend the moment frozen in frame with words.
Still, as much as I love street photography, I’m shy and uncomfortable photographing people. I don’t like to use a wide angle lens and get into people’s faces. I’d rather use a longer focal length and stay out of the way. Invisible. An observer, not a participant.
To some extent, I do need to get past this shyness. It limits me as a photographer, but still — it also makes my photography express who I am and how I see the world.
One of the reasons I don’t like photographing people is because of the possibility of altercation. I don’t want them feeling uncomfortable or violated. Especially here in Hungary, where I currently am, where people tend to be… well, let’s call it “grumpy.”
I’m also constantly aware of the legal swamp that is privacy. Because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, but wanting to do it right, I looked up the legal implications for street photography. And well, the Hungarian horse strikes again.
According to my research, taking someone’s photo on the street (with a handful of exceptions that do not alleviate the tightness of the room to move in for a photographer) is subject to permission not only to use the images, but to take them in the first place as well. In most other places, street photography is much more loosely regulated. So, Hungarian horse.
And while this was a disappointing fact to learn, it also opens up the other side: being creative while staying out of the way. Can’t photograph people? Fine, I’ll frame my shots that obscures their faces. Make them unidentifiable makes the shots more about the commentary, the scene and not the subject. Practice writing to extend the scope of the photos.
I have the recipe for street photography, and I’m missing tools and ingredients. So I’ll improvise and make it into something more. Something different. I’ll lean into my preference. Adding what makes me different.
Fingers crossed it’ll turn out great, and I learn a valuable skill, and I don’t burn the meal. And when I’m in a more open environment, I’ll work on the dish properly, getting over my shyness.