Photography and Words by Alex Schmidt
Skateboarding and Street Photography. What do they have in common? Is it art? Self expression? A sport? Well, if you’re looking at either as a competitive interest, then stop reading now.
To me, it’s all about being inspired by your surroundings and using tools such as a skateboard or a camera to convey your thought process. Street photography and skateboarding have one main thing in common, they both take place on the streets. This write up isn’t supposed to be about skateboarding at all, but it’s hard to separate skateboarding with the city of Los Angeles. Skateboarding has taught me to really appreciate the city I am in, the people that populate it, and the buildings that cover the area. Anyone who skateboards can understand that you never have a daily routine set out, and you have no real agenda. Majority of the time, you plan to meet somewhere specific, and then you just see where the day takes you.
Shooting street photos, it’s almost the exact same story. You have a general idea of what part of the city looks interesting to photograph that might inspire you as a starting point, but no one can really say where it’s going to end up taking you. Lately I’ve been finding myself roaming around the streets of Downtown Los Angeles.
Depending on what time of day you’re down there, the lighting is unbeatable as it reflects off historical buildings, and you’re surrounded by families having lunch, tourists walking around with huge beach hats, and homeless people asking you for money. It’s safe to say that there’s a real city vibe going on down there. There’s a specific street I love walking around with my camera that goes by Broadway. This street to me is almost the soul of DTLA. Anyone from anywhere can take a walk down that street and get a real good taste of what Los Angeles is all about.
Why not try to show that to people through photographs? The honest and dishonest community, the surroundings of a certain city through images of a 35mm camera. It’s fascinating, really. It’s all a waiting game – shooting street photos takes time and will definitely teach you a thing or two about patience. Wait for the right moment to try to capture something pure – a gesture or an image that will tell a story and trigger a certain thought. These types of photographs have introduced beauty to me in an unfamiliar way that I’ll be forever grateful for. Sometimes I feel silly trying to explain what a photo I take might mean or why I took it, because usually at the end of the day I hope my photographs can speak for themselves and that I don’t get sued or jumped for having my camera in stranger’s faces.