For today’s compositional lesson I want to introduce the idea of incorporating self-portraits into your street photography.
While self-portraits don’t fit into the textbook definition of “composition” per se– I still feel that they are an interesting compositional technique we can add to our toolkit to make more interesting images.
Eric’s Note: OBSERVE is a new international photography collective focused primarily on the practice of candid street photography. I have sent questionnaires to all 13 of the members, and will feature their responses and images on the blog for the next upcoming weeks. This week’s feature is Danielle Houghton, based in Dublin, Ireland.
Danielle: Picking up a camera in my teens I found myself automatically taking pictures of strangers without really knowing why. After a long break, I now find myself doing the same but this time with a name and understanding of my folly. I like to appreciate the odd in the mundane and find that suburban life can be nicely quirky. In Dublin I often shoot by the coast, in parks or even from the car window. While visually pleasing settings are very important to me the real beauty of photography stems from the uniqueness of people and those moments that cannot be repeated.
I can’t remember the exact moment that I discovered the work of Saul Leiter. I think I remember seeing some link on the internet about the discovery of one of the earliest “pioneers” in color street photography. But upon hearing this, I didn’t dig into it too deeply.
About a year ago when I was in Marseille, I re-discovered Saul’s work through a good friend of mine, Yves Vernin. When I left Marseille back to America, he gave me a beautiful Saul Leiter book. When I flipped through the pages, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful colors, reflections, and abstractions of Leiter. It was unlike any street photography I had seen before. It was much more romantic, poetic, and full of expression.
I then started to research more on Saul Leiter and have not only appreciated his images, but his philosophy of life. At his late eighties, he is very down-to-earth, and has no interest in legacy or fame. He lived a simple life and even now with his sudden rise in fame, his ego hasn’t inflated one bit.
In anticipation for the DVD release of his film “In No Great Hurry” I wanted to write this article about lessons in street photography (and life) I have learned from Saul Leiter.
All photographs in this article are copyrighted by their respective photographers.
For today’s compositional lesson I want to talk about perspective.
Google defines “perspective” as the following:
The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
In street photography utilizing unique perspectives or vantage points make images have different impressions and feelings. I often find that street photographers don’t utilize interesting perspectives enough– most photos are just from eye-to-eye level.
To make more edgy and interesting photos, try embracing more unique perspectives (shooting from a really low angle, or getting on top of a roof and shooting from a high vantage point).
I wanted to show some great examples of how some master street photographers used low and high perspectives to make more interesting photographs.
Eric’s Note: This article is written by Mehdi Bouqua, a street photographer based in LA. He shares his experiences shooting with an iPhone– and the importance of documenting life. Mehdi shares more of his thoughts and images below:
Mehdi: Today’s society is definitely over equipped/ flooded with many different types and genres of technological gadgets for all sort of necessities. Photography has become an essential tool of proof and evidence, showing, duplicating a moment and emotion by capturing the exact frame, reflecting it, and documenting it all at once.
All photos included in this article are copyrighted by their respective photographers.
For today’s street photography lesson, I want to talk about framing. Framing itself is a pretty basic compositional technique, something I am sure we all learned when we first started. But let us delve deeper into framing. Let us see examples from the masters– and how they framed their images to retain focus, energy, and depth in their images.
Eric’s Note: This is a full transcript of an interview I did with Jack Simon, a talented street photographer and practicing psychiatrist (over 45 years). I interviewed him at his home, and got to know more about his philosophies and ways of working in the streets. Jack is also member of international candid collective Burn My Eye and based in the Bay Area, California.