by Sequoyah Wildwyn-Dechter
If you are a photographer, or enjoy photography, and haven’t gone on a photowalk before, you are missing out. I have been a photographer for three years now, and I just recently went on my first photowalk here in Atlanta. It was part of a global photowalk hosted by 500px and Red Bull, and it was an eye opening experience.
Not knowing what to expect, I decided to arrive early. If you’re like me, and typically enjoy shooting alone or in small groups, joining a giant group of photographers may seem daunting. When the group started to gather at the meeting spot, it was intimidating, because there were about 50 of them, and I was one of the youngest. However, there was no need to be nervous. Once the group started along the route set by our host, Atlanta local photographer Lauren Holley, it was all smooth sailing from then on.
It was interesting to try something new. I normally shoot landscapes and adventure lifestyle photographs, so trying out street photography was different. It was also difficult because I usually shoot with no people around, and no people in my frame, unless I plan it. With a group of 50 plus photographers milling about in the streets, you don’t have much control over how the shot turns out. Over time I learned that street photography isn’t about control, that it’s about capturing moments, expressions, moods. It’s how I like to shoot, but the setting was different.
During the first half of the walk, I didn’t talk to many people, preferring to observe. I tend to do that in new photographic situations. If you jump to the head of the pack, you may miss some of the finer moments that photography offers; a laugh, a flower lit perfectly by a streetlamp, or a gang of bikers zooming up and down the street, popping wheelies and burning rubber. This was probably the most memorable part of the photowalk, because how often does that happen? Maybe a lot in the city, but for a mountain born kid like me, it was shocking. I actually missed several good photos because I was just staring at them. It just goes to show that anything can happen on a photowalk. Apparently even the locals thought it was cool, because we all discussed it for the rest of the walk, and I met some new friends because of those bikers.
Going on this photowalk was definitely not what I expected, but definitely something I would like to try again. If anyone else would like to try this awesome experience, find a local photo walk near you. Most big cities will have them, and Atlanta has a group that meets up about once a month, called “Atlanta Urban Photo Walkers,” which is run by the host of my photowalk, Lauren Holley. You can find out when they meet by searching for them on meetup.com. So if you’re a photographer, or not, get out there and join thousands of other people who enjoy your passion and join a photowalk near you. You never know what you’ll see.