This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in Street Photography Festival as part of Art Basel Miami, a once a year ginormous art fair that gathers artists from all over the world. Although this is my fourth year living in south Florida, I have not really participated in this amazing event until now. I’ve always known about it, but for some reason I did not venture out to explore it. A few months earlier, however, I had signed up for a photography workshop with Harvey Stein, a renowned New York based street photographer who has published several books and whose work is well known in the street photography world. I’d signed up for this particular workshop, because it promised a heavy emphasis on people photography and as you guys already know, I love photographing people and I’m always looking for ways to improve my technique. The workshop was part of the Street Photography Festival and Art Basel Miami.
Looking at his work, Harvey has a very different style of shooting than what I’m used to, but I must say, I am so glad I took his workshop because I really learned a ton this weekend. Mr. Stein is a great teacher and gives you lots of individual space to work with while at the same time providing constructive critique on the final results. For three days each morning, a small group of us gathered in a classroom to go over some techniques on people photography and to discuss philosophy behind portraiture in general. Afternoons were for shooting and the next morning we had a critique session on our seven best images from the day before. It was an intense workshop, but also very gratifying. From the beginning I had decided to get out of my comfort zone and try different techniques of shooting to get my creativity flowing. Sometimes doing things the same way over and over again can really put you in a creative rut and prevent you from reaching your highest potential. This time I committed to doing things differently and uniquely from my usual style. It wasn’t easy, because our natural instinct is to always fall back into what feels comfortable and familiar. However, I gave it my best shot and and I even agreed to using flash! Which I never do…But I ended up having lots of fun with it and will start using it more often, as I’ve found out it can be very rewarding to experiment with all kinds of light.
Unexpectedly on my part, Art Basel turned out to be an amazing experience. We shot lots and lots around Wynwood area, where most walls were covered by some pretty rad graffiti done by artists from all over the country and abroad. It was people watching heaven. Lots of colorful make up and outfits ideas, crazy hairdos and gaudy jewelry and most importantly, lots of very unique personalities strolling down the streets. Everyone who came to Art Basel did so to express themselves creatively and to network in what can sometimes be a pretty exclusive art world. I went there to work, to find the most creative personalities around and to convince them to let me photograph them. Thankfully, the atmosphere was pretty welcoming for this type of endeavor. Most people agreed immediately and some even approached me and my classmates asking to be photographed. So if you are looking to sharpen some of your people photography skills and want to overcome shyness in approaching strangers, I highly recommend visiting Wynwood during Art Basel week. I promise, you will not be disappointed and will leave at least a little bit more confident in photographing complete strangers on the street.
I’m super excited to share some of these images with you. Enjoy a little part of Art Basel Miami as seen through my eyes. As always, let me know what you think and feel free to share my blog with your friends. And don’t forget to visit me on Instagram @megankwasniak where I post most of my work on daily basis.
Till next time friends…
Thanks so much for visiting.