Disregard Critics: Make More Art

1x1.trans Disregard Critics: Make More Art

Garden Grove, Los Angeles 2013

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ― Andy Warhol

As street photographers, I think we are all artists. We craft our version of reality from fragments from everyday life. We don’t just take photos– we make them.

In my art– I am quite insecure at times. I want to make great photographs– images that awe and inspire my audience. Whenever I upload an image that doesn’t get as many “favorites” or “likes” as other images I wonder to myself, “Perhaps that photograph wasn’t any good?”

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Streettogs Academy 1st Assignment “Square” Results and Analysis

1x1.trans Streettogs Academy 1st Assignment Square Results and Analysis

Before we begin, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who participated in the first assignment of Streettogs Academy. We hope you continue to participate in the group and learn a thing or two about street photography I’m trying to see how I can better moderate the group to make it an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone.

So without further adieu, here are some of the best entries and our editor’s choice for our assignment.

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Why Sharpness is Overrated in Street Photography

1x1.trans Why Sharpness is Overrated in Street Photography

Copyright: Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos / SPAIN. Valencia. 1933. Inside the sliding doors of the bullfight arena

Sharpness is over-rated in street photography. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”

I remember when I first saw one of HCB’s exhibitions in person in Paris, I was surprised by how soft most of his shots were. And many of his photos were significantly out of focus (thinking about the famous shot of the man in a bullfighter’s ring in Spain (above).

When I stated street photography, I was obsessed with sharpness. This of course, was due to all the nerds on gear forums who showed corner to corner sharpness tests on brick walls. I was suckered into thinking a sharp photo was a good photo.

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Shooting the Streets of Downtown LA in my Introduction to Street Photography Workshop

I recently edited some behind-the-scenes footage that my friend Todd Hatakeyama shot of my Downtown LA Introduction to Street Photography Workshop. We had a ton of fun sharing our passion for street photography, interacting with people on the streets, and giving honest feedback and critique on each others’ work– and I was amazed by the sense of friendship & community that formed during the workshop.

If you want to build your courage in street photography, be re-inspired, and meet other passionate street photographers– check out my upcoming street photography workshops in Tokyo, Melbourne, Stockholm, London, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, and NYC.

Be Cool: The Photography of DAYV MATTT

1x1.trans Be Cool: The Photography of DAYV MATTT

(A.g.’s note: I’ve been a long time fan and follower of DAYV MATTT on tumblr. He is such a great person to interview and is the type of person who tells it like it is! He Straightforward in his answers and in his photography. This was a really fun interview and I hope all of you enjoy. Cheers! All Photos are owned by Dayv Mattt.)

A.G.:You started out in Toronto Photographing the Jungle/DnB Rave scene right? How did you end up in the streets of Seoul, then in Colombo?

DAYV: Shooting DnB raves was a lot of fun because I didn’t really dance, and it was fun documenting the scene. It was a pretty close knit group back then but as the parties got bigger I attended less and less shows. I never thought those pictures would go anywhere…and for the most part, they haven’t. In 2002 a buddy of mine who was living in Seoul called me up and asked me if I wanted to work with him in Seoul. I said yes, and seven days later I was in Korea. Seoul didn’t really have a music scene I gave a rat’s ass about at the time so I started shooting street photography. It just sort of grew on me. In 2012 I moved to Sri Lanka for reasons I don’t really want to get into, but I will be returning to Seoul, then Gwang-ju, this coming July. I’m pretty stoked to shoot in Gwang-ju, which is around three hours south of Seoul.

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Street Photography Contact Sheets #1: Face Tattoo, Downtown LA 2014

At a recent workshop in Downtown LA, I was shooting with one of the students (Luis) when we come across an interesting character with all these tattoos all over his body. He told us he just got out of jail (a few days ago), and was struggling on the streets. We gave him around 2 bucks, and asked him if it was okay if we took some shots. He had no problem with it– and to pose for the camera.

I asked him somewhere along the line what other tattoos he had, and he got excited and showed us all of his other tattoos all over his body.

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On Going With the Flow in Street Photography

1x1.trans On Going With the Flow in Street Photography

Indianapolis, 2014

I just finished reading a book titled: “Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity”. It was a fascinating read on the paradox of “wu-wei”– which is a concept in Taoism of “action without action”. This means nature accomplishes everything without effort. Similarly, we should be able to accomplish many things in our life without unnecessary effort. In-fact according to wu-wei, most things in life (especially things we love) should be effortless.

Of course you know in my blog, I like to relate everything I read back to street photography. And I think this idea of “wu-wei” in street photography is quite fascinating.

To sum up, in street photography (according to wu-wei), our best shots should come to us naturally– without making any unnecessary effort.

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What Do You Want Out of Street Photography?

1x1.trans What Do You Want Out of Street Photography?

Many of us shoot street photography because it is challenging, fun, and brings us great joy. However one question I find that most people don’t ask themselves (myself included) is what we ultimately want out of photography.

I just finished an intense week-long street photography workshop in Saigon which was absolutely incredible– and one of my students Sascha Jung asked me what I ultimately wanted out of my photography, and whether I wanted to become a great photographer or a great teacher.

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