Conflict, colours and meeting more strangers on the streets of Calgary

Nighty nine percent of the time, street photography is a fun past-time and generally devoid of any problems, other than the odd person who refuses to allow me to take their portrait. When people say no, I simply thank them for their time and move on, there’s always another opportunity around the next corner. Sometimes however, on occasion, someone will become hostile or demand that I delete a photo. Occasionally, I come across a know-all legal expert who informs that I’m breaking the law and can’t just take photos in public. This of course is totally untrue, in Canada, no one has the expectation of privacy in a public space. This week I had a person who became agitated and gave me the speech about privacy and how I can’t just take his photo in public blah blah blah… In the next breath he’s telling me he’s going to call the police and report me. With this, I showed him a printed copy of “Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms” as well as a copy of “A Photographers Rights” that I always carry with me, as well as providing him with the number of the local Police. Before he called however, I mentioned that perhaps he should reconsider calling the Police since he was trying to sell copies of well known brands of perfume out of an old bag. Maybe the Police would be more interested in what he was doing rather than me. This seemed to do the trick and he quickly backed down, packed up his bag and made a quick exit. Sometimes, the streets of Calgary can be a very entertaining place to hang out on.

Perfume for sale
Maybe the Police would be more interested in the Perfume you have for sale!

The use of colours in street photography

One thing I love shooting on the streets of Calgary are photographs that feature strong colours, light and shadows or a combination of both. This week with the sun shinning and temperatures approaching 30c, we have been blessed with loads of stunning light patterns, pockets of light and awesome shadows. When you are lucky enough to add in a splash of colour to the mix, you can capture some stunning images. Below, are just a few that I’ve managed to capture this week.

Meeting strangers on the streets of Calgary

As anyone who follows me on social media knows, I love meeting and photographing strangers. I think so far, in the last 12 months or so, I’ve taken portraits of nearly 1000 strangers. Many of these strangers tell me fascinating stories or things about themselves that to this day, still surprise me. This week was no different, and I was lucky enough to meet more interesting people on “The streets of Calgary”……..

Stranger portrait - John the letter writer
Stranger portrait – John the letter writer

First up was John who was sitting on the floor outside a local hotel, notebook and pen in hand, scribbling away, and for the most part totally unaware of my presence. He finally looked up and asked me why I was taking his photo and I explained who I was and why I wanted his portrait. John went on to explain that he was writing letters to his girlfriend who was stuck in Belize (Belize is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America). I asked why he didn’t just email her? “because I’m an old fashioned sort of guy and besides I don’t have an email address or use the internet much” be told me. It’s certainly rare these days to come across people who prefer to use “snail mail” or don’t use modern technology. John looked more than happy, despite his seemingly unorthodox method of sitting on the sidewalk, belongings spread around him and lost in his own world.

Lime Green
A Lime Green dress perfectly coordinated with this ladies chosen method of transport

Next up was this lady who was perfectly coordinated, dressed in a bright green dress that perfectly complimented the Lime scooter she was riding when she pulled up outside this well known donut shop. Luckily for me, she was happy to have her portrait taken and the ghostly design on the bright purple bag perfectly completed the shot. She did however, ask me not to publish her name.

Pants for sale
I’m always being offered stuff for sale and this week was no different – Pants for sale

Following on from the earlier altercation with the guy selling perfume on the street corner, this guy thought I might be interested in the pants he was trying to sell. Luckily for me they were way too small or I might have been tempted, (not) as $5 seemed a bargain!

Stranger Portrait - Natalie
Natalie was sitting on the kerb behind an apartment building

One of the places I like to explore, are the countless back alleys that run behind most of the buildings in downtown Calgary. More often than not, the most interesting thing I come across is graffiti on walls or old classic cars tucked behind the building out of sight of the main roads. On this occasion I came across Natalie, who was sitting on the kerbside checking messages on her iPhone. With a light breeze blowing her hair, she made a perfect model for a portrait and thankfully she was happy to pose for a few shots. This one came out beautifully and seemed to capture her bubbly personality perfectly. We swapped social media details and before I’d even got back out onto the main sidewalk, she’d emailed me asking for a copies of the photos. I was more than happy to send them to her later that evening.

A few more photos strangers I met this week