Free Sample Chapters: “Learn From the Masters of Street Photography”

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I am currently working on a new book: “Learn From the Masters of Street Photography”, which is a distillation of all of the lessons that I’ve learned from the masters of street photography.

You can get a free sneak peak by downloading the PDF of the sample chapters here.

If you want to learn more, read all of the in-depth articles from the “Learn From the Masters” series on the blog here.

2 thoughts on “Free Sample Chapters: “Learn From the Masters of Street Photography””

  1. Thanks for the sample of your upcoming book! Just arrived in a new city and am feeling inspired to put into practice some of your teachings. Any idea when you’ll be publishing?

  2. I’ll comment on topics in separate comment blocks.

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    Topic: Get Closer

    “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” – Robert Capa

    What Capa literally said is probably not what he meant. What he said is logically equivalent to “If you’re close enough, then your photographs are good enough” (reverse the original implicaton while taking out the “not”s to get an equivalent implication). But it’s improbable that he meant that getting close in itself makes a photograph good.

    What he likely meant is: If your photographs are not good enough, then you might not have been close enough. Or: As you tend to get closer, you tend to get better photographs.

    “It isn’t enough to use a telephoto or zoom lens to get “close” to your subject. That is fake intimacy. By using a telephoto lens, you are treating your subjects like zoo animals, and your photography is a safari hunt.” [Eric Kim]

    (1) Zoom lenses are also in wide angle. So, for this subject, it’s better to refer simply to telephoto.

    (2) Using telephoto lenses is not necessarily meant to convey, truly or falsely, “intimacy”. Sometimes intimacy may be an important quality, but not always. Sometimes distance – physical or emotional – may contribute to a photograph. And it is not always the case that a telephoto shot lacks intimacy. Sometimes a telephoto shot can feel very intimate. Different photographers have different ways of taking pictures and of imparting different emotions. There does not need to be a sweeping generalization that photographers working street scenes should eschew telephoto lenses.

    (3) The bit about “zoos” and “safaris” is empty moralizing, as if to shame people for using a certain kind of photographic equipment. Leave this bit for talking about the guy who killed Cecil the lion.

    (4) I do agree that one should keep in mind that often it’s a good idea to get closer. But sometimes, it’s better to step back and get a more inclusive picture. It depends on the scene and the photographer’s objectives.

    “I generally recommend using a 35mm lens (full-frame equivalent) for most photographers (Alex Webb, Constantine Manos, and Anders Petersen shoot with this focal length).” [Eric Kim]

    The reason for using a lens is that it suits the photographer, no matter what lens other photographers use. Anyway, certain other photographers have made good work using telephoto.

    “The human eye sees the world in around a 40mm field-of-view” [Eric Kim]

    Would you please cite the scientific basis for that claim?

    “I always have my camera […] set at f/8, ISO 1600” [Eric Kim]

    Different photographers have different looks they wish for their pictures, but at least for purpose of discussion, let’s start with the reasonable assumption that one wishes for the greatest clarity and detail of description:

    Digital: In ordinary sunlight, for an ordinary exposure, using the sunny 16 rule (which is usually correct for digital) your formula entails a shutter speed of 1/6400. For the purpose of arresting motion (even close up), such a fast shutter speed is wasted, while depth of field (aperture) and image quality (ISO) are sacrificed.

    Tri-X: In ordinary sunlight, an exposure one stop more than the sunny 16 rule (with, say, 20% less development) is optimal, so your formula would entail a shutter speed of 1/3200 (if that’s even available on the camera). But, for film, when you’re shooting at ISO 1600 in daylight, you’re probably pushing development, so the shutter speed is around 1/1600 (1/1000?). You shoot Tri-X (or whatever it is) at ISO 1600 because you like the graininess from pushing. That is your personal choice, but I don’t see a reason it should be recommended as a general approach.

    I agree that it is good to have some default settings when one needs to shoot quickly. But at other times, it behooves a photographer to know how to quickly adjust among shutter, aperture, and ISO, for the combination that is optimal for the subject, including accounting for the best apertures for both center sharpness and for corner sharpness, taking into account depth of field, for the particular lens.

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