A.g.’s note: We previously had the chance to feature That’s life street photography collective members Dimitris Makrygiannakis and Kaushal Parikh. Dimitris treated us with his Transformative Experience of shooting street photography abroad and an interview Eric had with him about Surrealism and Symbolism while Kaushal shared his thoughts on how he is Conquering the streets of Mumbai. They are back this time telling us stories behind some of their favorite the street shots. They also have a series of upcoming workshops. Details of it are at the bottom of the post.
A.g.’s Note: Chris Stoltz shares to us one of his favorite photographers he got the privilege of shooting with, the L.A. based Sye Williams. Sye shares some of his inspirations, personal work, Photography Origins, and nuggets of wisdom. All of the photos are the respected copyright of Sye Williams. Here’s Chris with the interview:
Chris: Sye might be my new favorite photographer. I met him recently on a video shoot while working as a grip. He showed up because he was friends with the rest of the crew, arriving via skateboard. I hit it off with him immediately because he had a Leica M8 dangling over his shoulder. I asked him about his recent purchase and, in-between grabbing lights and helping with the video, he told me how his career in photography started.
While in NYC, I visited the ICP bookstore and picked up “Ping Pong Conversations: Alec Soth with Francesco Zanot”
a lovely photobook/series of interview questions. I found it to have lots of great wisdom regarding photographing strangers, editing, and projects.
I copied my favorite excerpts which I found was particularly helpful, especially to those of you who want to be more serious about your photography and projects. Read more to learn from him!
You are 18 years old. You just got a point and shoot digital camera from Mom as a high school graduation present. You are super excited, as you never had a camera before. A lot of exciting things will happen in your life surrounding photography. I wanted to write this letter to you and give you some advice I wish I knew. This is coming from your 26-year-old-self.
I think one of the most difficult things as a photographer is to stay inspired. How do we stay inspired to shoot everyday– when the boredom and monotony of everyday life sets in?
I recently read some advice by author Ray Bradbury for aspiring writers:
“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
I think the same applies for street photography. To change the numbers a bit– I think it is impossible to take 100,000 bad street photographs in a row. I think it was Henri Cartier-Bresson who said, “Your first 1,000 photos are your worst.” I think in the digital age, it is more like “Your first 100,000 photos are your worst”.
Assuming you shot 100 photos a day, that would be 36,500 a year. So at that rate, you can reach the 100,000 street photos mark in 3 years. If you’re more prolific and shoot more– you can reach that 100,000 mark much quicker.
I think it is impossible to take 100,000 bad street photographs in a row.
If it weren’t for my blog I wouldn’t be anybody. I have my blog and the street photography community to thank for my “success” in life.
I’m lucky to be born in a age where one can easily build an online presence with a blog and social media. And of course, I have to greatly thank you, my dear reader, and the street photography for supporting my blog and the beautiful genre of street photography.
One of the best pieces of advice I got on writing is the importance of writing without editing. Which means, turn off the inner-censor in your mind and write freely.
What or who is the “inner censor”? Well, the inner-censor is the little voice in your head which tells you “Oh don’t do that, that’s stupid. That sounds stupid. That looks stupid.” It is that inner-voice that prevents you from writing in a stream-of-consciousness flow.
I have often read that life is a journey, not a destination. Meaning that we all have goals in life. But the happiest moments aren’t when we reach our goals. Rather, life is a “beautiful struggle” in which we are happiest when we are pursuing our goals. When we are pursuing our happiness.
I have often found the same is true with street photography. I am always motivated by my photography through the projects I am working on. I used to think that once I had my project completed and published– it would bring me great joy.
I have learned a few things about shooting street photography on film from my own experiences (and the advice of others). If you want to read the full list of things I learned shooting film– read more!