The concept of street photography has intrigued me… but it hasn’t been something that I’d really explored before – or really understood…

…and then Orms decided to host a photo walk along with Fujifilm and Gus Waschefort
…and you gotta love it when your clients know how much you like photography… that they book you on a photo walk [that they are doing] on street photography [how cool are my clients!!!!].
Gus Waschefort [a official fujifilm x photographer/representative and human activist/war photographer] opened our minds to the concept of street photography… from what street photography is, where it began, and what makes a great street photo… and I’d like to share some of my learnings with you here

WARNING:

Some enlightening street photography info coming up [so keep reading for some of the cool photography nuggets I picked up during the session]… or scroll through for some of the [less pretty more arty] pictures I took whilst on my walk!

What is street photography?

Whilst Street Photography is still something that needs defining [and questions have been raised as to how much it should be defined], the 3 main aspects of street photography are:
1. Subject matter includes a human being element [real or represented]
2. It’s taken in a public space
3. Photographed in a candid / unposed fashion
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What have the “fore-fathers” of street photography said about it?

Eugene Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson – are known as the fathers of street photography… documenting life in the early 1900’s, and evolving the concept of street photography in their wake.
Henri Cartier-Bresson summed street photography up by saying:
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.”
and
“the difference between a good picture and a mediocre picture, is a question of millimetres.”
or as Gilden says:
“If you can smell the street by looking at the photograph, its a street photograph”
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Thoughts on Contemporary Street photography…

  • Whilst Street photography is still predominantly black and white… the concept of colour is now incorporated.
  • Whilst people make use of their large DSLR’s for street photography, the smaller camera’s and phone camera’s help you capture someone unaware.
  • Whether you use Cartier’s inconspicuous approach, or Brenin’s in your face approach… there are many ways of capturing life around you.
  • There are usually 2 or 3 elements / focus areas in a street photograph… Whether it’s the patterns on a building, or how the people are interacting with the space.

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Some of the main aspects I wanted to focus on:

  • Playing with a different lens (a 35mm vs my usual 50mm) – and different camera (the Fujifilm x-m1) I knew that I was going to be working out of my comfort zone – and really think about the photo I was capturing (vs capturing what I’m instinctively drawn to)… YAY for exploring the edge a little
  • working the different vantage points – thinking about the lines & shapes I was capturing – because the mm difference is critical
  • Thinking about the broader main subject, as well as the other elements that make up my image (macro and micro composition)
  • Working more with the shapes and the human element – and capturing both.
  • … and trying to capture that event – even though I was working with a camera I didn’t know!

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So with a different camera in hand [I played with the fujifilm x-M1]… and armed with this new knowledge… we went exploring the streets of Cape Town.
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Want to see more pics – take a look at the gallery above 😉

What about you?

Have you tried street photography yet? Why not share links to the work you’re doing in that space!