Crowded streets, steel structures, heavy traffic, billboards, graffiti, industrial sites aren’t exactly what many photographers are looking for when they want to create their works of art. I was guilty of the same practice in the early stages of my career but many things changed. Today there is no shortage of beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife photos, incredible macro shots, and yes even stunning urban photography. 2008 was about the time the photo industry started to see some dramatic changes in photography pricing. As a professional who depended on selling photography to survive I had to regroup and refocus my efforts in areas outside the nature and outdoor genre, which were very generous to me. I was forced, along with thousands of others, to make major adjustments to our long term business plan. In my case it was finding a niche where my talents fit and where a market existed that would pay for that talent.
Change meant learning. In my case it was about learning to see in a new environment. It was a slow start but as with any endeavor worth pursuing, persistence and patience paid off. Architecture and the Urban environment is where I rebounded my career and found art and creativity is some unusual places. The urban environment is a great place to learn or build on the art of seeing. There are so many distractions in the urban environment that a lackadaisical observer is likely to pass up opportunity where the vigilant observer finds gold.
Regardless of your subject interest, I encourage photographers to spend time on a busy city street and learn to see your surroundings. Watch people activity, follow the lines and shapes that surround you, feel the energy and explore every possibility. You’ll be amazed at what you find. The skill of observing and seeing in this environment will carry with you where ever you go. You’re sure to improve on your photography.
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