Street photography: a 24-hour challenge

Posted by in Creativity

Photography is a form of art I have always enjoyed. I never considered myself as anything close to a pro, but, over the past 10 years or so, I have enjoyed snapping a shot or two here and there. Mostly landscape photography like with this 7-day B&W challenge I joined a few months ago. It never occurred to me that, one day, I’ll test the waters of street photography.

What is street photography anyway?

Street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.
~Wikipedia

This category in the art of photography was born with photo reporters such as Robert Capa or Henri-Cartier Bresson. Jean-Jacques is the one that initiated me, a while back. It was his jam, his M.O., his life mission. He made me fall in love with the work of Steve McCurry, whom combines it brilliantly with a passion for travel.

However, I had never tried for myself, held back by fear, probably, but also because that type of interaction with strangers was completely out of my comfort zone.

The 24 hour project

In 2012, two photographers: Renzo Grande and  Sam Smotherman had a crazy idea: what if we documented humanity worldwide during 24 hours? The 24 hour project was born and year after year, professional and aspiring street photographers joined forces, from 0:00 am on a Friday night, until 11:59 pm the next day, to publish one image per hour. As a testimony of our time, participants are documenting humanity.

On one single day we get to see the world from a different point of view, humanity documented by local photographers.

This year, the project went live on April 7th and I was one of the participants of the Lyon, France team, put together by my friend and talented photographer: Jérémie Gisserot. There were six of us, going up and down the streets of our beloved city. This year, there was a theme to the project: documenting the lives of women. Turns out there were five women out of six participants here in Lyon and it felt incredible to witness their creativity and power.

La team #Lyon #24hourproject #24hr18 #24h18_lyon

A post shared by Jeremie Gisserot (@jeremie_gisserot) on

We didn’t sleep, all-in-all for over 40 hours. We took 43,422 steps over the course of the 24 hours. That’s 28 km. Combined, we published 150 images on Instagram, under the hashtag #24hr18_lyon. My 12:49 pm picture ended-up being picked-up by the organization team and totalled over 900 likes. Talk about a self-esteem boost for the girl whom was completely new to street photography.

I don’t know if I can express how amazing of a human experience it was. It allowed me to meet the incredible people my teammates were, it pushed me way out of my comfort zone in an art that I’m still very far from mastering (if you look closely, most of my shots are fuzzy… something to work on for the next opus), and it allowed me to see my city and its inhabitants under a completely new point of view while being of service to others. And this in itself was priceless.

When was the last time you pushed yourself creatively out of your comfort zone?