Dick Sanders – Street Portraits

28.05.2011 in09:07 in People, Portraits -->


Making street portraits is the most challenging work I do. At times it is boring, tiring, and frustrating. At other times it is intriguing, thrilling, and even dangerous. I made most of the photographs here in the greater Los Angeles area, but I have also worked in other cities and towns. Typically, I roam the streets, looking for interesting subjects. The difficulty is in approaching the subjects, to whom I am a complete stranger. I simply ask if I can make a portrait. Some reject my request outright and can even be hostile or anxious to get away from me. The majority are at least skeptical and ask “what for?” Some will pose only if I pay them a few dollars. Usually, I make just 3 or 4 frames, since most subjects will give me just a minute or two. I ask that they be serious and look into the lens. Eye contact is important because, later, viewers will make eye contact, too, and this personal, even intimate, aspect of the experience can be very powerful. My objective is to present the human drama, to show something meaningful and universal. I do not attempt to contextualize my subjects. The encounters are too brief for that. One frozen second cannot possibly tell the story of a person’s life. And therefore, I do not view this work as documentary, but rather as a kind of literary photo fiction.