Street Photography #4 Buy Books

Buy books, do something different, develop your own style and steal ideas… hopefully this is a post that will point newbies and seasoned Street Photographers to sources of inspiration.

I try to develop my own style but I probably never will. I get bored too easily and always want to try something new. Lately I have been getting back into film. Portra 400ISO and a 50mm lens on my Nikon body = my new best friend. I will get over it soon I am sure, maybe… At the moment though I am obsessed. I want to slow everything down and focus manually, sitting and waiting for photo opportunities to open up. If you sit anywhere long enough you become invisible.

untitled shoot_ChrisPage_059

What has this got to do with my tip? If you buy books you will see that successful photographers don’t follow the rules so often imposed by others – but you know, to hell with what others think. One of my favourite Street Photography books is ‘The World Atlas of Street Photography’, by Jackie Higgins.

Here are some links to artists featured in ‘The World Atlas of Street Photography’. I have tried to choose examples that are very different from the norms of photography. Explore and enjoy.

Yasmine Chatila  “Stolen Moments’

Here Yasmine acts as a voyeur using a telephoto lens. Typical ‘Street’? Not at all. Successful? Oh yes!

Vera Lutter

Photos are taken without a camera. Weird huh – go and find out how. These shots tell a story and are super creative!

 Peter Funch

Street Photography that is 100% posed – intruder, get him out! There are some great examples of non-traditional crops here.

 Philip-Lorca Dicorcia

‘Heads’.  A wonderful and very non-traditional project. This link takes you to the MOMO site, have fun hunting for this project.

Mirko Martin – Los Angeles

Here scenes from movie sets are entwined with real life. We are left not knowing which is which.

 Michael Wolf

So many projects worth looking at.  I like many of his still life shots, scenes from cities that often do not include any people.

 Paul Graham

Pictures bleached to nothing and many other great projects. I think projects may be a way forward for my own photography. Focus on one thing and then try another.

 Oscar Fernando Gomez

Street Photography taken without leaving the car! Interesting views from a Taxi.

Txema Salvans – ‘The Waiting Game’

Demonstrates how patiently hanging around can help you get the shots you want (with a little disguise).

Melanie Manchot

More posed street photography (and lots more). Check out the grainy shots of ‘Fight’. As so often is the case, photos that have a ‘flaw’ can carry the most character.

Jiang Pengyi

Fine art meets cityscape meets street photography. Brilliant. Repeat after me… ‘I must get better with Photoshop’.

Nobuyoshi Araki

Medium format camera on a tripod? This does not sound like Street Photography. However, he is one of the most successful photographers out there. His photography is not always safe for work, describing his camera as a ‘constant erection’.

So there you go – some examples of some very different Street Photography (and more). Click on the links and explore why these photographers are so different. Get inspired and step outside the box. Try something new. Steal ideas and make them your own.

untitled shoot_ChrisPage_075

Unconventional Crops, an idea worth ‘stealing!’ Shot using Portra 400.

Go buy the book, why not get it from a book store? I am over photoblogs making links to Amazon!

In the meantime… i’m slowing down and will try and work more with film.

Keep Clicking, Chris

 

 

Advertisements

Street Photography #3 Work A Scene…

This has to be one of the most important, yet often overlooked areas of Street Photography. You may be nervous when shooting a scene or a person, I know that I am. It is perhaps these nerves that give us a small dose of adrenalin, the ‘hit’ of getting a good shot. Unfortunately this adrenalin rush can push us into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. I do not want to get into a fight when out taking photos, but our urge for flight can be strong. Now is the time to take a breath, assess the scene and work out the angles.

cncreate_chrispage_6640-edit-edit

I hung around and got a dozen photos of this guy.

Read More

Street Photography #2 Have Fun…

This is where it gets strange. I’m writing 10 tips within ten tips – it is all going to get a little Inception influenced. Hold on…. spin that top.

  • Find people who are looking chilled and relaxed. Point your camera at them and wait for them to get annoyed, then take the photo. Collect these photos and publish them in B+W, add lots of grain. Complain to the world that everyone looks angry nowadays, lament the days of film and smoke an unfiltered Gitane.
  • Be unethical, the world has enough ethics. If anyone complains inform them that as far as you are concerned Bruce Gilden is unethical and he got a gig working for Magnum.

untitled-shoot_chrispage_9899-edit-2

  • Write a blog post that includes a claim that Bruce Gilden is unethical in the hope he will read it and get into a debate with you. If this does not work make a fake profile for Bruce Gilden and have a debate with yourself. I will do this – watch this space..
  • Dress in black so you look inconspicuous, then on the way out of the house unthinkingly grab the ridiculous looking hat you purchased in Khao San Road one night. Spend the day wondering why you are only getting photos of people looking at you strangely.
  • Take photos whilst out drinking with your mates. IMPORTANT – do not publish these until you have viewed them the next day.

    untitled-shoot_chrispage_9438-2

    Beer and Photography – a great mix.

  • Go to a second hand camera shop and ask for the price of every single Leica in the shop. Decide on the one you want to purchase and them find out that adding a lens will double the cost.
  • Pop to the camera mall to purchase a lens cap. Accidentally buy a new camera or an expensive lens using money put aside for the next holiday. Wait till you get home and share your purchase with your significant other, laugh along when she (or he) finally see the funny side!
  • If your job involves using a computer, learn that editing photos and working basically look like the same thing.
  • Write a blog post that makes the claim of providing 10 tips, then only write 9. Watch as the world pours scorn on how you are misleading your readers.

TGI Friday and happy clicking people, Chris

Street Photography #1 Shoot Events.

OK, for my next 10 blog posts I am going to publish 10 tips. This will keep me active and hopefully give a little bit back to our beautiful community of Street Photographers. These posts will, as ever, contain my usual rants and raves and go on and off subject. I make no apologies…

I have recently been asked to photo a couple of events, and here I am particularly referring to a friend’s gig in a nearby water town, just outside of Shanghai. Like many photographers, I can be quite introvert. My general style of photography means I spend a lot of time by myself.

Photographing at a social event interrupted the framework of shooting alone. Interruptions are a good thing as they force us to operate outside of our comfort zone. Here’s the thing, people like being photographed and are interested in what you are doing. Photography becomes something that connects people to each other. This is what I like.

pagespics-1-of-1

I went to shoot a band, but is this Street Photography? I don’t think so, still it was wonderful to be in such a small intimate venue where I could get this close to the singer. What do you think?

 

Anyway – how can photographing an event make you a better street photographer? The event itself may not be Street. I shot a band, but I do not consider the shots to be Street Photography. To get Street Photos, you need to turn around, mingle and shoot people you don’t know, candid where possible. Now that is Street!

pagespics-1-of-1-4

Currently my favourite ever photo, but this is something I change my mind about three times before breakfast.

pagespics-1-of-1-2

Red lipstick and a cigarette will always makes a strong portrait. This shot was taken at the bar. People dress to impress when they go out – take advantage of this.

pagespics-1-of-1-3

I often search for smokers to shoot.

 

Enjoy the photos and feel free to leave a comment.

Keep Clicking – Chris

Publishing a book using Blurb

A Review

I am now a published author. Cue fireworks, dizzyingly high sales, early retirement and a stream of holidays in exotic places. Maybe. This is partly a review of Blurb, partly my thoughts on putting together a book and partly a blatant sales pitch.

Blurb allows you to create your own photo book. Creating a photo book is not new in itself, loads of companies do it. What makes ‘Blurb’ stand out is that you can publish your book and get an ISBN and everything. Cool. If you have read enough and already want to purchase a copy click on the link below.

http://www.blurb.com/b/7665137-street-photography-shanghai

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 14.52.51.png

To use Blurb you have to download their software, it’s free so no worries there. It offers a variety of paper types, layouts, sizes and covers. It allows you to enter text and pictures. Technically it is not the easiest tool to use, but that means you have more options. I had no problem and am not the most able tech guru.

The challenge I had was creative, not technical. My passion has led me to critically think about how to frame a picture, but how to frame four pictures on a page? That was something else. Once again I found myself looking for consistency, although I still opted for both colour and black and white shots. If you do try and publish a book (go for it) be prepared to re-edit photos to ensure the colour grading is consistent. The artistic challenge is to look at what photos go together and how they go together, to ask, ‘how will the viewer’s eyes move across the page?’.

On another note, delivery is swift and the print quality is excellent. On a slight negative the final price seems a little high. I am sure that Blurb makes more money per sale than I will ($5BTW)! While I suspect sales of this book will not lead to early retirement of being able to give up the day job, putting it together was a wonderful experience for a photographer. Give it a go (and buy the book!).

Have fun and keep clicking, Chris

 

 

The Arcanum Sphere II

For those of you who have not heard of The Arcanum, it is a photography-based learning pathway, designed by Trey Ratcliff, an inspirational photographer; see his work at stuckincustoms.com.

At the Arcanum, Masters select Students, and I have spent the last four months working with Wes Hardaker of capturedonearth.com. He is an awesome photographer and a great teacher. The focus of my studies have been on minimisation, and I posted my initial thoughts here.

I learned how to strip down a photo and select the subject. Simplification led to the inclusion of additional elements.

pagespics-1-of-1-7

The wall, posts and writing were already there. I sat and waited for different kids to walk in and out of the shot. Who knows what this boy was thinking?

I do not think that photography is something we ever master 100%, there are always ways to improve. I think my Arcanum experience has helped to create some images that are pretty special. As always, let me know what you think. Go check out the Arcanum, you may get closer to photography Nirvana!

Here are some of my favourite photos that I took for my final critique. Enjoy. Thanks to everyone who has helped me on my learning pathway (including the FAACers!).

Feel free to comment – communication means a lot and is really appreciated!

Keep clicking, Chris.

pagespics-1-of-1-2

Steam Buns being cooked close to Nanjing East Road, Shanghai

pagespics-1-of-1-3

Lady laughing at a neighbour from the doorstep of her house.

pagespics-1-of-1-4

Little boy lost. There is an alternative shot of this boy somewhere here!

pagespics-1-of-1-8

I’ve posted this shot before, but it is one of my favourite ever shots.

If you made it this far – well done. I hope to entering sphere 3 soon. Watch this space…

Escaping the Comfort Zone

I feel like a slightly schizophrenic photographer. I seek consistency, yet wonder how wise this is. Each weekend I hunt the streets equipped with a Nikon D7100 and 35mm lens, or my trusty Ricoh Gr; I know my way around these cameras. Returning home my shots are loaded into Lightroom and the same process is followed: dump the rubbish, apply lens correction, desaturate my shots (just a little) and add a little ‘S’ curve. BOOM – consistency.

Recently I was challenged to go out and shoot street with the widest lens I own, a 10-20mm (DX crop). This was clearly a stupid task as nobody shoots street with a lens this wide. My camera was heavy and candid shots near impossible. Who is going to ignore a lens that large?

pagespics-1-of-1-10

Despite it’s size I still managed some candid shots.

I stuck with my WA lens for a week, roaming the streets and cursing my Arcanum photography Master for creating such a stupid challenge. However, on uploading my shots something strange had happened. My keep rate had increased. The second ‘surprise’ was the variety of shots I captured. While I had aimed at shooting street and succeeding in capturing some candid portraits, I also had some alternative shots. Shanghai has both ancient and modern architecture which I have ignored for too long in my quest for ‘people shots.’

pagespics-1-of-1

Not street, but with my WA lens I grabbed a shot that I am proud of.

So why was this successful? I was forced to think outside the box. To find workarounds and to explore a different style of photography. Will I stick to such a wide lens for Street Photography? Hell no, the weight alone puts me off that idea. I will, however, start using it more for architecture and travel photography. There is a huge push for simplifying your gear down to one camera and one focal length. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. We are creatives and there are some excellent tools for making great images. Let’s see what these tools can do for us!

Without further ado – here are some pics from my Wide Angle Challenge. Enjoy.

pagespics-1-of-1-6pagespics-1-of-1-9pagespics-1-of-1-13perks-1-of-1-2

Keep clicking, Chris

%d bloggers like this: