I’m currently taking a street photography course with the legendary John Free. On our photo shoots, John pushes us to break the invisible barrier we have between ourselves and other people. This makes the majority of us students scared and uncomfortable. John schmoozes with strangers like he’s known them for years. Sometimes he asks for permission to take a picture but usually does it blatantly or while pretending that he’s photographing something else.

Most photographers prefer the safety of a landscape or flower. Flowers can’t yell at you or pull a gun on you (and John has certainly has stories about the latter). Yet street photography is extremely important both as art and social commentary. It was difficult at first, but I’ve gotten much better at taking a chance and snapping pictures of strangers that will produce some sort of reaction from the viewer.

Oh, and the course is strictly black and white photographs only. However, I’ve chosen to break that rule here when I felt the photo was more powerful in color. All of these were shot with a fixed 50mm lens. I did not use zoom on any of them.