After touring Eastern Europe by train in the summer of 2017 and visiting four countries on this tour, my plans for the summer of 2019 were limited to one country, Poland. The focus this time was on visiting a few cities only, but staying longer in each. Eventually, I visited three cities in western Poland: Poznan, Gdansk and Wroclaw.
Of course, photography was a main part of the trip. Usually, this involves the field of travel photography, which in my case is a mix of street, architecture and landscape. My above mentioned summer trip of 2017 was the first that included portrait/model photography, which was also a part of this trip.
However, I have been thinking about adding more fields of photography into the trip. I have been interested in the genre of reportage/editorial, which to me simply means talking to (interesting) people and taking their portrait. To me, the poplular genre of street photography where it is all about taking people's pictures without them noticing and/or their consent is not appealing.
You can read and watch a lot online about how to get a stranger's portrait, which I did to some extent. I came to the conclusion that for me, the best approach is to talk to the people and simply ask them if you could take a picture of them. Show them that you've got nothing to hide, let them have a look at the picture (if you shoot digital) and offer to email it to them.
I had positive experiences with this method. All the pictures (except for the last one) in this post were taken with people's consent. Not all of the pictures here might look like it, but some people preferred to continue working while being photograped. Only twice I was denied, the first time was due to an empty battery the moment I wanted to take the shot. The second time was by an elderly lady who stood outside her flower shop, located in a very nice building in Gdansk.
I did not embark on the trip with the intention to take as many pictures of people as possible, which would have put me under a lot of pressure, which is not a good plan for your holidays. Mostly, I was predominantly interested in talking to the people. As I realised, this is the better approach because it is easier for you to ask for a photo during or at the end of the conversation on the one hand, and harder for them to reject on the other.
I guess you have realised by now that all the people in the pictures so far are employees of the service sector, who you get into talking to you (almost) automatically. However, I figured this as an easy way to start this enterprise and it also does not make these people and the pictures less interesting in my opinion.
Eventually, I met a fellow tourist when I returned to Gdansk from my day trip to Sopot. I chose to visit "drukarnia CAFÉ" again (see above) and started a conversation with Ola. Initially, I had not in mind to do this for a picture, I only cared for some company. It turned out the way I described earlier, but even in a more interesting way: at some point, I asked if I could take her picture, which she refused. Nevertheless, we kept on talking. Finally, she agreed to have her picture taken without me asking again.
I hope no one takes offence in my last picture. I think it is lovely. If you recognize yourself and want it removed, simply send me a message.
I enjoyed this new genre of photography as it comes natural to the way I travel. So it will be on my itinerary for future trips. Let's see what happens.