I often find myself wandering around with a camera, searching out the unexpected, the odd little moments of everyday life. While in the fast flowing stream that is street photography there are invariably photos that I ‘miss’ for a variety of reasons. Seeing something taking shape, or about to happen, but having no chance of getting there in time. Not having my camera to hand, but somewhere in my bag, a personal speciality. Or, simply not being quick enough to react. Street photographers will always miss shots, you just can’t be successful 100% of the time, and this used to really get me down. For some reason even if I’d got a few good shots the one I’d think about, analyse, fret about and sometimes agonise over would be the one I had missed, or had shot but hadn’t captured to my liking. It reminded me of the reaction of a top flight football manager that I’d heard about. His team had won 4-1, but he kept his team behind to analyse the one conceded goal. I don’t get quite so disappointed now as I realise that themes and situations repeat, maybe not in the same way, but they do repeat. I usually write about my photography, but almost never about the shots I like, just about ‘the ones that got away’. In this way I write it out of my system. Earlier this year I missed three in quick succession and I’ve included a basic description of the scene I missed with a photo of the place taken some months later.
There’s a great book, ‘Photographs Not Taken’ edited by Will Steacy, which is a collection of short essays by a wide range of photographers about why they decided not to take a particular photo. Not quite the same as missing a photo, but with the same result, no photo.
© Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann