Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co-founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

by Eric Kim on May 1, 2012

“I believe that, more than ever before, photography is about a community and a culture, rather than the camera.” - Oliver Lang

I had the chance to interview Oliver Lang, one of the founding members of the Mobile Photo Group. Oliver shoots street photography in the sun-drenched streets of Sydney with his iPhone, using the Pro Camera application and capturing phenomenal light and moments in his images. He makes it a point to shoot every single day and even post-processes his images in the iPhone with the Snapseed application.

Make sure to follow him on Twitter @oggsie, on Flickr, and follow him on Instagram @oggsie.

Photographs by Oliver Lang

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

1x1.trans Interview with Oliver Lang, Street Photographer & Co founder of the Mobile Photo Group (MPG)

Links

Make sure to also check out the Mobile Photo Group Blog, where they talk about street photography, mobile devices, Instagram, and much more. You can also see all of the Mobile Photo Group Photographers here.

Do you shoot street photography with an iPhone or mobile device? What do you think is the future of street photography and Instagram? Make sure to leave your thoughts below, and let us know which of Oliver’s photographs are your favorite! 

  • Mike Avina

    These images are amazing.

    • dirtyharrry

      nice work

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JI3P5JHIWGAYWA3PL3Q4JNRN7Y Mike G

    People with i-phones are annoying. They stick there phones in your face. Ever see an i-phone photographer in a museum, they are so rude. You are watching a piece of art and they stick there arms out to take a picture.

    • http://twitter.com/oggsie Oliver Lang

      It’s not about the camera, remember, the person is the photographer. Bullets don’t pull the trigger.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JI3P5JHIWGAYWA3PL3Q4JNRN7Y Mike G

        A camera has a direct effect on your subject and how you relate to your subject. You can’t detach your self from the type of camera/lens that you choose to use or whether you choose film or digital. If you use a view camera vs a 35mm digital camera for your subject, your pictures will be totally different. We as artist can’t deny the tools we use and how they effect what we do.

        • seanmarclee

          and what difference does it really make about the gear? I’ve seen brilliant films shot on video/mini dv and atrocious films with $200 million dollar budgets shot on HD cameras or cinemascope film.

          the point is the heart, not the gear.

          “People with i-phones are annoying. They stick there phones in your face.” really? and what do “street photographers” do?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JI3P5JHIWGAYWA3PL3Q4JNRN7Y Mike G

            My point

          • http://twitter.com/50mm_Streettog DipayanBhattacharjee

            “Street Photographers”..?? Aren’t you generalizing a bit too much..??? Street photographers document life… The distance can be anything from zero to infinity… To each his own… And some combine it all… Sticking the camera on the face is done by people who do “candid street portraiture”… And that too is practiced from various distances by various photographers… Infact, with the ones who are really good at this art, the subject don’t even realize that they have been shot…

        • http://twitter.com/oggsie Oliver Lang

          Your reply is interesting and relevant to this new area of photographic tools, however, your generalization above does nothing for the conversation. It’s good that you clarified your point.

    • steven ichikawa

      people with normal cameras do that too. your point?
      there are no ethics in street photography. the outcome is all that matters.

      • Owell

        “there are no ethics in street photography”
        um, ok, yeah…

  • http://twitter.com/leicaliker leicaliker

    He’s right- not about camera- all about the images. These are beautiful images. Thanks for the interview Eric & Oliver.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Cheers Elizabeth! :)

  • http://twitter.com/oggsie Oliver Lang

    Quick clarification, I shoot with ProCamera, not camera plus.

    Cheers Eric, we’re lucky to have a soul to follow around the world of photography.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Sorry mate fixed that for you. And it’s my pleasure to help you guys spread the love of photography with the rest of the world! :)

      P.S. you’re a good photographer

    • Guest

      In the video you say you zone focus, so one question about procamera: does it set a distance for focus and keep focus on that distance once you’ve locked focus? (the description of the app didn’t make it clear) That would be cool and well worth a new app. At the moment I use camera+ which also lets me set separate focus and exposure points, but the focus will be set for an area of the frame, not a fixed distance, and therefor remains active and refocuses if the camera/subject moves (good, but not always what you want).

      • Guest

        Little update. It turns out I can lock the focus for specific distance in camera+ too.. it’s just a bit fiddly. Well the video made me look for it so I finally figured out how to do it ;)

  • http://twitter.com/twocutedogs twocutedogs

    I like your work Oliver, but I still don’t understand why anyone would want to shoot with an iPhone. Maybe you have explained it in the video, but my broadband speed here is too slow to watch it!

  • Hao Ran Lai

    Are you going to do a post on “shooting on the street with white T-shirt”?

  • AlexCoghe

    Great to see the first “Alex Coghe Street Photography Contest” winner (and also the winning photograph) also here.

    • http://twitter.com/oggsie Oliver Lang

      Thanks Alex! The bag is really useful for traveling around NYC. Awesome prize!

      • AlexCoghe

        Happy to read this, Oliver. Just seen your image, i thought that could be the winner.

  • spaceman_spiff

    I totally love your work Oliver. Really dig the deep shadows and “light pockets”. It kind of makes me wonder if they would be even more awesome if you used a “real” camera :).

  • Waltershin

    So when you have an awesome photo and want to make a large print, how does it look from such a small sensor in the iphone? Whats the shutter lag like because instagrams lag is horrible. Nice photos though.

    • http://erickimphotography.com/blog Eric Kim

      Large prints on the iPhone look pretty good. Saw them in a gallery, and couldn’t tell the diff between a DSLR and iPhone. And there is no shutter lag on the pro camera app for the iphone!

    • Erik

      My experience (iPhone 4) is that there isn’t much shutterlag, but that the focus can be slow and dimwitted . Apps that locks focus on a distance (zone focus) helps, and as it is a 3.8mm lens (30mm eqv. in 35mm) you have plenty of depth of field to your advantage here.

  • Gu Esst

    I love the second picture the most. She’s so beautiful, the glare from the sun, the sweat on her face, her lips… I think I’m in love.

  • Cyberprimate

    I like the picture with the umbrella. Plus the one with the red leather bag. There’s something Saul Leiter-ish about them.

  • http://kaushalpar.wordpress.com/ Kaushal Parikh

    Been a while since I really liked a body of work. The colours, light/shadows, composition and content…love these images

  • cnphoto

    I love iPhone & mobile street photographers who take exceptional images (with Olli being one of the best I’ve seen, regardless of what gear was or was not used).

    To my mind, the best photography & photographers make us question ourselves, & Oliver makes me question the gear I use & my own persistence in the gear I use to photograph as well as my own photographs – IMO for photography gear is far more irrelevant than most photographers are comfortable to admit.

    Keep chasing the good light man.

  • Sthemeze

    Didn’t listen to the interview yet.
    The series makes sense. There’s a unity that gives strength to each since IMHO and response to them individually, none dominates the others. We can feel a momentum.
    I sense them more like moments in-between with a sure graphic sense that justify the takes.
    Be interesting to see if my position towards the group images changes 2,3 days from now.

    Cheers.

  • http://about.me/algrega Alessandro Greganti

    Beautiful interview with one of the (mobile) photographers I admire the most and about the more consistent collective of mobile photographers I can see on the web. However, in my honest opinion, let me say that instagram has nothing to do with mobile photography, to me is just another sharing platform and it’s far from defining this way of taking pictures. Great blog, keep up the good work Erick!

  • Guest

    The photos are nice so who gives a care with what they were shot on…

  • http://twitter.com/Gazonthestreet Gazonthestreet

    Some really great images here Oliver, favourites are the umbrella and the first three! I’ve tried using my iPhone 4 occasionally for street photography but the shutter lag is horrendous. Is the 4s that much better?

  • http://www.personalcanvasprints.co.uk/ canvas prints

    really love your work, think you have a new fan.

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