If I had to sum up South Beach in one word I think that word would be diverse… Miami, like many other vacation destinations, is a melting pot of many different people from all over the world. In terms of a diverse amount of people, New York City is the closest comparison I can draw to Miami (though NYC has a far more dense population, in numbers not mental capacity).
Much like New York City, people do pretty much whatever they want. While that might not be the recipe for a great family vacation it certainly bodes well for good Street Photography. Though the diversity was impressive, what pleasantly surprised me even more was the number of “interesting” subjects. I know interesting is subjective but, for me, an interesting subject is a person that falls outside of the “normal” (another subjective term) box we put ourselves in. For instance, someone wearing a cape as they walk down the street would qualify as interesting in my book… (top image).
Small side note to the fine folks who manage South Beach… Your beach is dirtier than the inside of a wastebasket from one of those “hourly rate” motels, you should be ashamed. So gross. Had to side step a used condom on the beach within 5 minutes of walking on it. That can’t be good for the birds.
Unfortunately, I only had a cumulative of about 3 hours of photography time while in Miami, I got the 24 hour flu at about 10 p.m. the evening we arrived. Fortunately, there really is an overwhelming amount of Street Photography opportunities around every corner.
The man in the image above was making grasshoppers out of reeds and was very polite. I asked if it would be alright to take his photograph and he obliged (I left him a few dollars as well). We had a short conversation and I took a few more photographs before moving on. The point is, I took over 100 photographs of strangers in a short period of time and had exactly 0 confrontations. If you’re on the fence about Street Photography because of a fear of confrontation I would recommend you check out Miami, I think because of the huge amount of tourists with cameras most people just expect to be caught in a photograph or two.
If you’re the type of Street Photographer that likes to set up and wait for your subjects to walk into an interesting scene then you’ll likely love South Beach. There are so many interesting people you won’t have to wait long until that “decisive moment” happens.
If you’re looking for someplace warm to practice Street Photography during the winter months I’d highly recommend South Beach. If you’re looking for a beautiful beach to bury your little toes in then I’d keep driving about two more hours and hit up Marco Beach, the actual beach in Miami is disgusting.
When I review photographs from a recent outing I always take notes on how I could have improved each shot. Even if I know I’ll never return to a particular place and shoot a specific subject (often happens in Street Photography because you may never see your subject again) I still evaluate what I would have liked to do differently so that if I’m ever in a similar situation I can be prepared to take the best photograph I’m capable of. The photograph above, of the scooter, could have been really cool had I gotten closer to either the hub cap on the back wheel with the palm tree reflections or the back of one of the shiny mirrors. Next time!
What warm weather destination do you think is best for Street Photography in the winter months? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below or on the Facebook Page.