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Helping Your Images Find You

When I’m really in the here and now on the street, I can breathe a zone. What I mean is, that there are certain times when I’m working that I can feel things just moving into place. When this happens, I know that an image is at hand. The abused term from Bresson, “The Decisive Moment”‘ will not be used here. That is in fact the definition of what I am writing about but I will just call it the “Zone”.

The Zone

Let’s get into the what the Zone actually is. It is the coming together of the shooter and the subject matter in time and space with a total awareness of the shooter of  being there.  So, one just kinda breathes and is open minded, acutely aware that the image is forming and in a state of preparedness so that when the trigger mechanism is ready, the camera records the image.

Maybe this sounds like baloney to some but the serious shooter may understand without even reading. Does this sound too metaphysical or maybe to intense? Well, it should because it is. If you think this is strong stuff, find some real writings from Minor White. Minor understood life and photography better than anyone before or after him.

Working In The Zone

On the street shooters are looking for what? Most seek a moment of equilibrium with themselves and their subject matter. That’s part of the Zone. What we want to achieve is finding the images that when we view them, they resonate with the life and presence of us when we made the capture. Look, it’s easy to go out and shoot a few hundred shots in a day. It’s cheap and it’s easy to edit. The problem is, that after we do this massive shoot, there aren’t enough images that really mean anything to us. If we even remember a few from the shoot, that’s a good result.

I’m not saying that this massive collection of images on a shoot is bad, I’m just stating that most times it’s unfulfilling. This will cause doubt in the shooters mind. This will create a negative energy about the work the shooter is doing. For elder shooters like myself and a few names that I won’t mention, this is not a major issue. Why? Because we are more confident in what we are doing. True or not, that’s the way it is. We just don’t give a crap, we just work.

For younger shooters, negative energy can be very destructive. So, what is a possible solution? If you focus on what you are looking for, it may just find you. The chances of you being on the street and finding a magic image is very unlikely. The chance of you being in a zone and letting the magic image find you, is very high indeed. If you get into the zone of awareness and your out there looking, more importantly, feeling….the images you want will find their way to you.

Putting It Together

If you’ve read what I wrote on the other pages and post, you have the basic principals to become the best shooter you can be. Forget about being anything more then what you can achieve with your Eye, Heart & Mind.  You are your own shooter, your a street shooter, is there anything else in the world as exciting? Get out there and go to work.


It was January 1st 2009 otherwise called by it’s real name, “MummersDay”. I try to make the parade here in Philly every year but I can’t always do it. This year, I did and was really turned on visually.

The energy of the Mummers, the smells of the beer from the spectators the cold brisk air blowing across my face just made me feel more in tune than usual. I felt happy yet in a very metaphysical state. I was in my zone for such a long period of time that I no longer realized that there was a zone. It was just a time of seeing and being in the here and now with my camera.

Whenever I see the costumes like this, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite shooters, George Krause. His images are etched in my memory banks since I was at his studio in 1971. Anyway, I was in the mode and walking, not strolling. Strolling is for you younger shooters. We elder shooters walk, well we try to anyway. I turned a corner and magic from the highest level of photographic nirvana hit me on the head…..


I still remember and feel every aspect of the time, place and image presented here. That’s what the zone is about.

This is for you George, you’ll never know what you work means to me.


This is my son Paul. I ain’t talking about what he’s doing. The two of us were talking about stuff waiting for a client to arrive. I started to feel a connection to the past that I hadn’t felt in many years. I had not planned on making any photos. I wish I was that good that I could plan my work but I’m not. It finds me and that’s it. So inside I started to feel that familiar feeling of oneness starting to develop….I still was reluctant to make a photo because it was a personal moment for him even tho his dad was right behind him.


Then he said to me, “Dad, why didn’t we have a place like this to grow up on”?     Click!

24 thoughts on “Helping Your Images Find You”

  1. Hi Don, What you and Olivier are both doing is Brilliant! Both sites are true Oasis for Photographers and Creatives! Looking forward to meeting you both!
    Aloha from Hawaii,
    Larry Kenner

    1. Larry, Thanks a million for the support. Maybe you should talk to my wifey…..nah….

  2. Sometimes in the “zone”, one can photograph without looking through the viewfinder. I love those times when camera in hand in an extension of my eye.

    1. That’s exactly why I teach Learning your “Natural Field of View”. Then you can shoot off the eye or screen and be very close to the image recorded. Thanks for stopping by….don’t be a stranger, don

  3. Don. . .Have you or would you ever offer a workshop? I’m local, love what you do and, more important, how you think about what you do, and would sign up in a heartbeat. Just wonderin’?

        1. Mike, I probably will do something but not sure. I’m so caught up in the Inspired Eye magazine, I have little time do do anything else. Maybe we’ll make a small group to keep things more personal and intimate.


        2. Mike, WordPress is screwing my blog up again. I will try to put a group together. I’d like to keep it small 4-7 people to afford individual attention.

          1. Look forward to the information. . .I have a few issues I probably should discuss with you once you have some idea of what you’re going to do. Do you need my email for the announcement?

    1. Hey Alan, how ya doing? Thanks for stopping by. I do agree that walking is better than strolling. Be aware, there’s this Wouter fella in the Nederlands that invented Strolling. He’s really got it down but for me and I see for you, walking is where it’s at.

      Well, unless ya are hanging out but that’s another story…..
      seeya, don

      1. I’m quite alright, Don. I had been messing with the mobile phone and frankly got hooked with the instant results. It’s always with me. I realized I’m shooting where I normally do not shoot. Other than that I’m replacing what I’ve been doing with an analogue point and shoot now. I’m totally new to it so I’d been shooting daily again like when I just started with the GRD. I figured it’s time to at least try.

        1. Alan, it’s good to use the mobile. I use a Iprone 5 and it’s a great camera. There’s a camera app called Pro Camera and it makes it a real camera. So much so that I don’t use it anymore cause it’s addicting and I went for 6 weeks and didn’t use my cameras….
          enjoy, and the film also…. don

  4. It’s amazing how much your thinking matches mine Don. I mean for me street photography really is very much a metaphysical process. And I really like your revisioning of the decisive moment.

    1. Thanks again Paul.If that Bresson fella hears that I revisioned the Decisive Moment, well… it ain’t gonna be a pretty picture.

      1. Pavel, there is safety in numbers. There is safety in the status quo. It’s a boring safety but safe none the less. By working in preset safety zones, one is accepted and it’s good to feel one of the crowd.
        I’d like to see your interview if you could send a link.

  5. I have been meaning to read this page of yours for ages. I finally took the time this morning. I really like your thinking and the fact you share these thoughts with the rest of us. I am sorta a newbie to the street genre. Started shooting more street in the last year and I really like it… I like what I shoot and for me that is what matters.

    1. Sharon, thanks for finding some inspiration in my thoughts. Maybe if you like you could share what you been up to in the , let’s say, last month. Love to see what your seeing.

      1. In the last month I have been practicing street photography. Hitting the streets of London and Windsor as well as other local areas near me. Some successes and failures too. I shoot what catches my eye. As an American living in England I love to play the tourist. I post what shots I like to my blog. I try to get out on the streets once or twice a week. After all practice makes perfect or not.

        1. Death is perfect, anything else doesn’t have to be and it ain’t gonna be either. As far as being a tourist goes, we are all tourist, no one gets a permanent visa.

          Looking forward to your work.

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Street Photography Chronicles by Don Springer