How close is “close enough”

close together in the shadow

close together in the shadow

Looking at different sites of street photography you often can read a quote from Robert Capa who said something along this line:

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough."
                                                                                - Robert Capa

Reading more you will learn that if there is anything you can do to improve your photography instantly, it's getting close, and even closer.

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take one

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take one

There is something magical in the images when you see your subject up close and personal. This approach in photography can be a very rewarding form of expression. 

Shapes, textures, and colors come to life, but it can be tricky as well. 

Looking and destructing images from famous street photographers made me realize that a lot of the masters are not that close to the people they photograph. There are certainly some exceptions like Bruce Gilden, but the bulk does not overuse this closeness.  Many use wide angle lenses to tell a story around the characters. Some even used telephoto lenses like Saul Leiter. 

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take two

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take two

The preferred citation of all advocates of Robert Cappa who want to be adventurous in pushing the camera directly in your face. But Capa was not talking about getting about daring close but instead of going close enough. In my opinion, you have to think. What you want to incorporate or omit from your image. 

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take three

Lovebirds at Marine Drive getting close take three

You have to make sure that you are “close enough” to eliminate any unwanted external elements that diminish the intensity and purity of what you are trying to convey. Following this line of thought, getting too close is as well a no brainer because you would crop out essential parts needed in the image. 

coming close together

coming close together