Building a Visual Language: The Cinematic Street Photographs of Mike Aviña

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Mike Avina Street Photography

Eric’s Note: This week I am pleased to share the work of Mike Aviña, a street photographer based in Northern California. His images have a strong film noir style, and exuberant swagger. Check out his thoughts about his work and images below.

Mike: I like taking pictures, obviously. I think it is rooted in some sort of drive to capture and freeze reality and hold on to a piece of time—probably ultimately not a healthy instinct but if it is channeled well maybe I can make some strong images. These thin little slices of time we get in pictures are difficult but the shots that work are sort of like gasoline on the fire. I can’t really explain it more than that.

Mike Avina Street Photography

The hardest thing is balancing the one or two kinds of riffs I really like (environmental and street portraits) with the slow process of building a full visual language sufficient for long term projects and coherent photo essays. I constantly work at both; expanding my tool kit and sharpening the one or two kinds of approaches I really like. I engage people a lot and talk to them—but I also shoot more candid photos. It’s important to be able to do both but the distinction isn’t that interesting to me. Unless you are hiding in the bushes or using a spy camera I think there is an element of performance for almost all street photos. I wouldn’t go so far as staging images, but the cinematic quality of the street interests me.

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Mike Avina Street Photography

Slideshow

Below is a video slideshow of shots captured on BART and other mass transit in Northern California in 2010 and 2011.

Links

Follow Mike by checking out some of his links and features below:

Which of Mike’s photos speak out to you the most? Let us know which ones are your favorite by leaving a comment below!

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