24 Hours in the Life Of…
… your city, your town, or even your village. We don’t all live in naturally photogenic places such as London, Paris, or New York, where great street photo opportunities fall at our feet, but we must never let this hold us back. In fact, it can be all too easy to overlook the potential of what we see every day of our lives and we shouldn’t simply assume that “nothing interesting ever happens here:’
In this narrative-based assignment, tell the story of where you live through its 24-hour life cycle, building up a picture of daily life, as seen through a street photographer’s eyes. Don’t worry-you’re not expected to shoot for 24 hours continuously-this can be spread over several weeks or months but it should capture life around the clock.
You’ll get more out of this assignment if you plan it thoroughly in advance. Draw up a comprehensive shot list, taking into account locations, people, times of day, and possible weather conditions. Opposite are a few ideas to get you started.
- The start to the working day: the milkman making the 5am delivery, street life as the sun comes up, commuting stress, people on public transport.
- Feeding time: people having breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks; people eating and drinking on the streets; the take-away culture.
- The retail world: stores, storekeepers, customers, signs in store windows.
- The “officials”: police officers, firefighters, parking wardens-all the people who help keep your town running.
- Relaxation: afternoon nappers, after-work drinkers, sunbathers, strollers.
- The night-time economy: clubbers, the 2am cab rank, pictures shot through bar windows, fights, the night bus.
- The dark side: most places have their “underbelly,” which can include social issues such as drug use and poverty; shot sensitively, this disturbing slice of life can add depth to an assignment such as this.
View the images
- Shoot candid, unposed images rather than setting up shots-this will give a more “real life” feel to your results.
- Use either black and white or color, but don’t mix the two.
- Use a small camera to avoid looking like a photographer on a mission! Imagine you are a veteran photojournalist and all you have is one camera and one lens.
- You’ll probably stand out more in a small town, but if someone asks you what you’re up to, explain the assignment to them-most people are interested in this sort of thing and will often offer helpful suggestions.