What is Street Photography?

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.

Bruce Gilden

Number 1. You have to have a person in a photo to make it a street photograph.

I often post my pictures on the google+ site Street Photographers. It is a great site, but insists that there must be a strong human element in the shot. However, I think there are many elements that fall into the area of ‘street’.

street-photography-1-of-1-8Nothing says ‘street’ more than a row of parked-up bicycles.

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Ten Shots to Shoot…

…or the importance of a shot list.

One thing that can have a positive impact on your street photography is a shot list. Know what you are looking for. Here are 10 things I keep on my list.

  1. Wrinkly faces and plain backgrounds
  2. Prostitutes
  3. Angry animals (but they have to be looking at the camera!)
  4. Street food stalls
  5. Small bits of people in negative space
  6. Bikes and people on them (preferably overloaded)
  7. People passing me, shot at a slow shutter speed
  8. Smokers
  9. Alleyways ending and people passing.
  10. Shadows and reflections

Here are some examples. Have fun and keep clicking!

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Use negative space to make an impact.

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Be careful shooting operations which are obviously dodgy. Be very discrete!

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Make sure animals look at the camera for maximum effect.

The Shanghai Photography Exhibition

robert-capa-spectators-at-longchamp-racecourse-parisPhotograph by Robert Capa, Spectators at Longchamp Racecourse.

This photo was used for the promotional material for the exhibition. Robert Capa was one of the founding members of Magnum Photography.

Three Photographers I learnt from at the Shanghai Photography Exhibition

This weekend Shanghai hosted the World Photography Exhibition. This was a wonderful place for inspiration with lots of idea’s to borrow and steal. There were also a wonderful array of photos to purchase, if you happen to be extremely rich! Read More

The Arcanum and Minimisation!

What is the Arcanum and what is Minimisation?

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Good questions, I am glad you asked!

The Arcanum is a learning pathway created by Trey Ratcliff, go look at his website ‘Stuck in Customs‘. First off, you have to apply to join and be ‘selected’ by a master who will help you on your way to photographic nirvarna. For the first ‘sphere’ this is actually quite easy.

Spheres, yes, you get placed in a sphere (not literally). Once cocooned inside this photographic bubble you find yourself with likeminded photographers undertaking challenges and critiques. Challenges can be official and part of your journey, but also set by the ‘Master’ of your cohort. Don’t expect 100’s of +Likes, this ain’t that kind of game.

As you progress through the challenges you must get your photo’s critiqued by your ‘Master’, who will decide if you can progress. In reality this is not as tough as it sounds, as, the photos you submit will already have been grilled by other cohort members!

At the end of sphere 1, you go back to waiting for another master. Here it gets a little more specialised. I have now joined ‘sphere 2’, a cohort led by Wes Hardaker, check out his fabulous website ‘capturedonearth‘. In this cohort I will be  increasing my focus through ‘minimilisation techniques’.

Earlier this week I set out with minimilsation in mind. Here are a couple of ‘keepers’. It will be interesting to see where this new Arcanum Sphere takes me….

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Manilla Slums and Ethics. Ten things to think about…

In street photography there is a tradition of taking pictures of poverty, this stems from the very beginnings with the work of Henry Cartier-Bresson and Dorothea Lange. Recently I had a break in the Philippines. My first thoughts were to head for the slums of Manilla to take some shots. I did find myself wondering why I was there, after all, I was close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

This raised a the question, why do I go and photograph areas of poverty? Here are ten issues to think about…. click to read more! Read More

Street v’s Travel Photography

It has been a while since my last post as I have been fortunate enough to be taking a month out in sunny Thailand. When not relaxing by the pool and catching up on my reading (last book, A Decent Ride, Irvine Welsh) I have been out shooting using the fantastic Ricoh Grii.

Anyway, I started to wonder if what I was shooting was street photography or travel photography. Still not sure (or even wonder if it matters), but, it is harder! Here are some key points relating to the differences I have noticed:

  1. Location. Lots of the locations are obviously very touristy (I am a tourist, after all), therefore the shots don’t have the ‘grit’ of a street shot. What do I mean by ‘grit’? Here, I would refer to Bruce Gilden’s quote, ‘if you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph…’.    He knows what he is talking about, check out his website http://www.brucegilden.com/
  2. People. Shooting in Shanghai I have learnt to read people quite well. I know when to take a photo and when not to. In a new place the people are different, it takes time to work out how to go about taking a shot – particularly when taking street portraits. However, you can still spot the shots that are NOT safe to take. If you point a camera at someone and you get obvious aggression, put it away!
  3. Time. Good photography takes time, and this often mean time spent alone (I can’t spend time taking street photography when I am with my family, it gets in the way of the photography ‘flow’.) Do I want to spend my time chasing down alleyways and on the side of a street, or do I just want to chill by the pool?

Anyway – as always let me know your thoughts. Keep clicking and stay happy. Right – I’m off to the pool!

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Alleyways and Street Vendors

The Importance of a great shot list…

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Making a shot list is a good way to ensure you get more from a photo shoot. It helps give your work a theme and people begin to expect certain things from your photos.

Here is a list I keep in my head when I go out shooting. Read More

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