There are certain things that happen annually that with time become markers of where in the year we are (other than for instance Midsummer, which funnily enough is in the middle of…yep…summer). One of these is the Malmö Festival which happens in August, just before the kids go back to school for the fall semester. So in a way it marks the end of summer for us here in the southernmost part of Sweden. It certainly feels that way today as I write this, with rain outside the window and temperatures that barely reach 20 degrees Celsius!
Anywho…I’ve been to just about every one of the Malmö Festivals held so far (it’s been on since 1985) so of course I’d go to this one as well, if only to shoot some photos. For a street photography person that kind of packed event can be a gold mine!
It can even be a bit too much of a good thing! I was there on the Saturday (the event is held Friday through Friday) and the streets were so packed with people I found it tricky to isolate subjects, especially when I shot analog! A few days later I went back to the festival to shoot some digital instead and the crowds were much less dense, which was a good thing since I shot it with a fixed focus lens (my zoom lens is still on loan to my dad).
I’ve converted these shots to black and white since I am mostly a black and white shooter these days with my analog stuff, so I tend to think in black and white imagery. Also, removing colors from them make them a bit less chaotic, given the multitude of colors in clothing, decorations and rides.
One thing that’s tricky for a street photographer, and especially a middle-aged male one (like myself) is to take pictures that include kids. While the overwhelming majority of us have no nefarious motives to shoot these pictures there’s always that asshole that sours it for the rest of us, making it far too easy for parents to suspect us of being major creeps.
Personally I tend to be cautious to the point of not taking many such pictures. Sometimes though I do…like at festivals when there’s an amusement park area, because there are so many smiles on kids’ faces it feels contagious just to walk around there!
Of course, if a parent approaches me and asks me to delete any picture of their kid, I’ll comply. While technically I am allowed to shoot the picture since we’re in a public place, it’s not worth the anger and frustration. Plus, it won’t sour things for the next photographer who might take a picture of that child. In short…follow the wise words of the actor and writer Wil Wheaton: “Don’t be a dick!”.
With that said…here are a few pics from the festival with children in them.
(And for the record I’ve yet to experience a parent asking me to remove a picture. Perhaps I am being overcautious in my photography…aw well.)