Recently my friend Jimmy Hahn sent me a link of the new Panasonic Lumix 12.5mm f/12 3D lens for the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras: the GF2, G2 and GH2. When he first posted the link on my Facebook, I was taken back by how odd and funny it looked. Upon closer inspection, I was fascinated to see that not only is it a prime lens, but it is incredibly thin as well.
Everyone out there has a story to tell about how he/she got with street photography. Why not give us some inspiration and write a comment below and share your story! Looking forward in reading all of them! :)
Recently I made a post on my Facebook fan page, asking the community what they wanted me to write about. One of the topics at hand which was popular was the ethics of street photography. I intend this post to showcase some of my thoughts, and also open up for discussion to the rest of the street photography community.
“I have no ethics”
I’d love to start off this article with a quote from Bruce Gilden from this video in which he says, “I have no ethics.” If you see his in-your-face style of shooting in the streets, this quote may not come to any surprise to you. He is famous for getting extremely close to people and taking photos with his wide-angle lens and flash. If you look at his images, he takes an array of photos of people in society from Japanese Yakuza Gangsters to people in Haiti.
Note: Recently I did a blog post on the pros and the cons of rangefinders for street photography. I then came upon an insightful comment from Steve Foon about his experience from switching from using a DSLR to a rangefinder for street photography. Therefore I asked him to do this guest blog post and he graciously accepted! The post you are about to read is incredibly thorough and well-thought out. It is a must-read for anybody considering making the switch from a DSLR to a rangefinder for street photography.
As we roam the Streets to capture images, the tendency to look at the works from people who help create the genre like Bresson, Erwitt, Franks, Weeks, Maier, etc… just seem like the natural thing to do.
One thing kept coming up in terms of camera gear….. Rangefinder cameras.
Allow me to share with you my thoughts on this. Thanks to Eric for letting me share.
Disclaimer – I want to set the record straight that although I am using a rangefinder more and more, I still love what a DSLR can do. Please don’t think that my comments towards rangefinders is a put down on DSLR’s or any other camera format.
This disclaimer comes from a recent posting I made about rangefinders that had some people in the DSLR camp in a rage.
Note: Every week, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature street photographer Derk Zijlker from Amsterdam. Derk has an uncanny ability to create images which juxtapose characters and their stages. If you look at his images, you can almost feel that you are there. Want to hear where he finds inspiration and how he shoots on the street? Read his exclusive interview below and be blown away.
Bruce Gilden is a street photographer that I incredibly admire. Although there is definitely a lot of controversy over his style of street photography (aggressive and in-your-face), there is no doubt that he is one of the best contemporary street photographers alive. He is a part of the street photography agency called Magnum Photos and has been shooting Japan’s Yakuza gangsters, the homeless, prostitutes, as well as ordinary people on the street for decades. His images show the true characters of people–unposed, raw, and gritty. The fact that he also uses a flash when he shoots gives his images a third dimension and is his patented technique.
Recently New York Photographer and Filmmaker Cheryl Dunn has announced her new documentary on New York street photography titled “Everyone Street.” I stumbled upon a short video clip of Bruce Gilden and knew that I had to share it with the rest of you guys. You can see the guy gets a lot of crap on the street for his style of street photography but still treats it like a walk in the park. I think we can all learn a lesson from the guy and have more balls on the streets.
via The New Yorker
Note: Nacho Cordova who recently wrote this blog post about the differences between candid and street photography wrote this nice street photography poem for us all to enjoy. Let him know what you think by leaving him a comment below!
Walking with a Camera
Street photography is
ambulatory and peripatetic,
which is not to say pretty pathetic
though it is that too
when it evokes the
emotion of the dingy streets
it loves to walk,
temporarily and momentarily
chased by shadows
into that alley where
flirting freely with the instantly impermanent
–I wonder if those two will…?
fleetingness of the moment,
which, though recorded,
as all subjects are,
with inimitable singularity, both
always and never
ahead of time,
–Who needs a Leica?
bothered, bewildered and
ironically bemused all at once-
ready to find the urban hope
In the least likely places
–Leap the puddle already!
What better way to allude to
the illusive nature of the
hope that slinks surreptitiously
down the street
with a finger on the shutter?
— Nacho Cordova
Note: Every week, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature street photographer Dominique Jost from Switzerland. I found Dom’s work on Flickr and I was blown away by his vivid and provocative B/W images. His work is very unique as he specializes in street photography with his iPhone. Intrigued enough? Read his exclusive interview below and see his amazing images as well.
Recently one of my readers named Reacher Rau suggested that I write a blog post on the pros and cons of using rangefinders. He told me how he always heard how awesome rangefinders such as Leicas were good for street photography, but never heard a discussion about the pros and the cons. Although I have to disclaim that I am not a rangefinder master, I still have enough experience using them so I feel that I can give a pretty unbiased opinion on both sides of the issue.
I have to say that I am a pretty passionate guy when it comes to street photography. However as I have recently noticed, passion simply isn’t enough when it comes to street photography. There are days that we aren’t going to feel inspired, which makes it really difficult for us to get in the streets and shoot.
Recently on Twitter I asked you guys to share your best street photos with me. Here are all of the best entries that I got which I find quite inspirational. Congratulations to everybody who made the list!
Curiosity by Juwan Dickerson
If you haven’t heard of Scott Schuman or his street fashion blog, “The Satorialist,” I highly recommend you to check it out. Essentially what Scott does is roam the streets of New York City and take photos of interesting people that he meets, with an emphasis on their fashion. If anything, Scott Schuman is less a fashion photographer and more of a street photographer with an eye for fashion.
In this beautiful and 7-minute mini-documentary, Scott gives an overview of what goes through his mind when shooting on his streets as well as why he does it. As you can see he (like many of us) hasn’t had any formal training in photography, but truly has a strong passion to go out and capture what fascinates him. He is quite methodical with his work and commited as well (he has run his blog for over five years, taking photos and updating them nearly everyday).
I think we can all draw inspiration from Scott and strive to capture the beauty of everyday life. If you look through his photos, he doesn’t necessarily take photos of people who only wear high-end clothes such as Prada or Gucci–rather the ordinary everyday people on the streets who are able to put together bits and pieces to create their own unique style. In this image you can see that he has even taken an image of a construction worker’s boots. How much raw and urban can you get?
What is your take on Scott Schuman and his blog? How can you take inspiration of his his style of photography? Share your thoughts with us and leave us a comment below!
Legandary fashion photographer Helmut Newton once said, “The first 10,000 shots are the worst.” When it comes to street photography in the digital age, I would say your first 100,000 shots are your worst.
Recently word of the phenomenal discovery of street photographer Vivian Maier has been hitting the web like wildfire. A fellow Chicago street photographer by the name of John Maloof found Vivian’s negatives in 2007 while at a furniture and antique auction house. After scanning and looking through her collection of 30-40,000 negatives, he soon realized that she had a tremendous gift for street photography. Not only that, but he realized that he also had a huge responsibility to share her work with the rest of the world.
Note: This is a guest post from Nathaniel I. Córdova, a rhetoric and media studies professor from Willamette University. I hope you enjoy this great article that he generously offered to share with you guys!
This is a handout originally developed for my students at Willamette University. As such it was designed to be generic and introductory, more an opportunity to clarify and simplify than to provide depth about a subject. Some caveats: I’m a firm believer that rigidly held category schemes can get in the way of creativity and the photographic imagination. The following is written in order to encourage you to think more about these issues. Updated: December 2010.
A quick glance through various photography forums often reveals a category of “candid” images of people walking, pretty women, people in festivals, etc. The overall impetus for such “candid” photography seems to be the casual snap of something the photographer found intriguing at the moment, or the adventure of shooting in public. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that (although some images tend toward the voyeuristic), and many of those images can be quite compelling. Unfortunately, some posters in those forums tend to conflate such “candid” photography with Street photography, eliding any difference between the two practices.
Hi everyone, my name is Michael, I am a street photographer, I shoot with an iPhone.
The iPhone offers me three things that a big camera doesn’t – it is discreet, it is always with me and it is easy to use.
I have been using the iPhone since I moved to Melbourne, Australia in February this year. The iPhone lets me concentrate on scene and structure instead of dials and lenses. I feel more connected to the process because there is no glass in the way.
Eric has asked me to share some hints to help make the most of the iPhone when shooting the street. So here we go.
Note: This post was originally written by Ahg, who is a young and talented street photographer from the Philippines. He originally wrote this post on his Tumblr, and he was generous enough to let me host it on my blog. I made a few edits here and there, but mostly it is untouched. I hope you guys enjoy it and please leave a comment below and let us know what you think :)
*Author’s note: The following are my reflections and realizations as to why I enjoy street photography. These are from the 2 years of experience I had with film photography and my undying passion for the street because there is perhaps no other genre of photography that captivated me and made me grow as a photographer. I am writing this as a reminder of why I do street and to urge others to give street photography a try.
Note: Every Wednesday, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature street photographer Gavin Zeno Watson from Glasgow. I first stumbled upon Zeno’s work randomly on Flickr, when he commented on some of my images. I was taken aback by his provocative b/w imagery, and the strong eye he has for geometric shapes and lines. Check out his interview and leave a comment to show him some love below!
1. How did you get started in street photography?
I always see people, situations and scenes as a photo in my minds eye, so it was only logical that should capture what I saw. The photo’s captured in Street Photography tend to be more unique and almost impossible for someone else to re-create, making street photos that little bit special.
I would say that I’m a pretty mellow and easy-going guy. However as a street photographer, there are some things that really bug me or really annoy me. Hope you have a good laugh and can relate to these 5 things that piss me off as a street photographer.
If you guys have been noticing, I have been experimenting with many different types of cameras including disposable cameras, my Contax IIIa Film Rangefinder, as well as my camera-phone. After doing this for the last month or so, I have re-kindled my love for shooting in the streets.
I just finished a book by Paul Arden titled “It’s Not How Good You Are, it’s How Good You Want to Be” and got blown away by one of his chapters on finding inspiration. Paul Arden worked as an advertiser for several decades, and he wrote that one way that he got re-inspired in making advertising campaigns was by using “new tools.” He clamored that how everybody in the advertising world only used felt-tipped pens to make advertising campaign layouts, which often lead to the same boring ideas. To go against the grain, he often used different tools such as brushes, pencils, charcoal, chalk, and even crayons to get new ideas.
I see this easily being relateable to street photography as well. Although I love my Canon 5D to death, it started to bore me. Everything was just too easy with it. The autofocus was quite responsive, and the images always came out great. I wanted a little more challenge– I wanted more excitement. I wanted to re-stimulate myself and my street photography experience.
Now I’ll tell you straight up that using a different camera won’t necessarily give you better images. However what it will do for you is re-inspire you by realizing certain camera’s strengths and limitations.
Note: Every Wednesday, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature amazing street photographer Jurgen Burgin. I first stumbled upon Jurgen’s work when he left a comment on my blog, which made me check out his Facebook page. I was mesmerized by his great eye, and wanted to share his phenomenal work with the rest of you and the community. Check out his interview and leave a comment to show him some love below!
1. How did you get started in street photography?
It’s not too long ago, less than two years that I bought my first SLR. I started taking photos of birds, landscapes and so on, but living in a big city like Berlin, I soon started to shoot architecture – and finally people. To get some inspiration I went to my public library and read literally hundreds of photo books, of all kinds of photographers. That’s when I discovered the classic street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai and so on. So those hundreds of photo books tought me everything I know about taking a good photo. And there was a lot of try and error, sure an advantage of digital photography: You can shoot hundreds of photos and try to find out how the aesthetics of photography works.
Written 2010, December 14th:
Currently I am teaching a photography class to under-privileged students in Los Angeles at a high school named Phoenix High. These are the students that I ran my campaign for camera donations for (which you guys helped donate to). Teaching photography to these students is the high point of my week, as I love to interact with them and also see their passion for photography. Not only that, but it seems that photography is a wonderful outlet for them to express themselves creatively and also use as an escape for the difficult situations that many of them live in. You can watch a video I made on YouTube.
Although I wasn’t able to take portraits of all the students, I wanted to write a short photo-essay about them. I hope you can enjoy their stories as well. Also if you were wondering, I shot these photos all with my old Contax IIIa rangefinder with my 50mm 1.4 Zeiss Sonar lens with some cheap Kodax 400 Max film. I love the look and feel.
Now don’t judge Eddie by his appearance by his rapper-inspired sideburns and punk-inspired gauge earrings. He is shy and quiet in demeanor, and doesn’t say much. However when given the opportunity to speak, he shows great insight into photography and life. He is always enthusiastic to be in my class, and although shy– is always wiling to contribute to class discussions.
You can see some of his work on Flickr.
So Christmas is around the corner and you have been a good boy/girl this year. So you want to buy a new camera and/or some new lenses? Sure we know that it is the street photographer, not the camera that makes his/her photos amazing. But hey– it is always fun to experiment with new cameras and lenses as well.
I have gotten many questions from aspiring street photographers–asking what lens or body to get next. Read this list and pass it onto your loved ones (hopefully they love you enough to buy you some stuff in this list).
Also please note that these are my personal recommendations. If you don’t agree with this list, please leave a comment below and let me know whats up!
If you are interested in purchasing your first DSLR, I would highly recommend a used Canon 5D. You can get them used for only $1200, and they are full-frame, meaning that the lenses you get will show their true focal length. It is also phenomenal at low-light high-iso situations.
A bit short on cash? Check out the Rebel XSi or the Rebel XS (a bit cheaper). Both are small, and give great performance as well. Oh yeah, also heard great things about the Nikon D3000 as well.
If I was in the market for a new camera, it would definitely be for a micro 4/3rds. They are small, inconspicuous, and give fantastic image quality. Definitely the best “bang-for-the-buck” imho. I tried out Thomas Leuthard’s Panasonic GF-1 and instantly fell in love with it. Super-responsive auto-focus, and great image quality. I also heard that the EP-1 gives great image quality as well, but the autofocus is painfully slow.
Point and Shoots
Out of all the point and shoots for the street photographer out there, the Canon S95 (or S90) blow all the competitors out of the water. It is one of the smallest point and shoots out there, but offer great control with the front and rear dials–and has a super fast f/2 lens. Don’t consider anything else.
Update: If you have a little extra $$$ to spend, check out the Ricoh GRIII. It has a beautiful fixed focal 28mm 1.9 lens and with its “snap-focus” function, it has practically zero shutter lag (while the Canon S95 has a slight shutter lag). Also its built like a tank with its alloy body, and feels great in the hand as well. A worthy (but more expensive) competitor.
If you are interested in getting a digital rangefinder on a budget, check out the Leica M8. Sure it is not full-frame, but it will give you the true “rangefinder experience” without having to shell out $6900 on a Leica M9.
The Canon 35mm f/2 is my lens of choice on my full-framed 5D. Small, inconspicuous, and sharp– it is the perfect walk-around lens for a street photographer. I personally like the 35mm focal length, as it is wide enough to capture a background, but at the same not too wide. Also note that the 35mm focal length is my preference, although many street photographers out there such as Markus Hartel prefer the 28mm focal length.
For 1.6 crop bodies, the problem about primes is that they are often too close. Therefore you are good getting a 20mm 1.8, which will translate into roughly a 32mm (close to a 35mm).
- Handstrap (any cheap one on eBay)
One doesn’t go up to strange men, women, children, elephants or giraffes and say, “Look this way please. Laugh –cry– show some emotion or go to sleep under a funeral canopy.”
From Naked City, Weegee
“f8 and be there”, the great Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, used to say, which quickly became a popular quote in photojournalism, and still stands to this day. I personally live by this maxim. Being “there” is the most important aspect for street photography, being aware of one’s surroundings is paramount, quickness is key and total control of your gear an absolute must. Learn how your lens renders your scene, try to instinctively frame what you’re after – shooting the same (fixed) focal length at a time helps a big deal to master this task. I regularly rely on zone focusing and absolutely despise autofocus cameras, as I tend to find automatisms counter-productive on speed and on my creativity. The camera is my tool, and I control it, not the other way around.
Gary Winogrand experimented with different focal lengths, until he grew fond of the 28mm, which allowed him to get close enough to his subjects, yet this focal length allowed him to portray a person’s full body at close range.
The conventional conception of the wide-angle lens saw it as a tool that included more of the potential subject from a given vantage point; most photographers would not use it unless their backs were literally against the wall. Winogrand learned to use it as a way of including what he wanted from a closer vantage point, from which he could photograph an entire pedestrian from a distance at which we normally focus only on faces. “Figments From The Real World”
I had a great idea for all of us for Christmas. We all love having prints in our homes of other photographers, but it can be pretty expensive at times. So I thought that having a “print exchange” in which photographers can send one another prints would be awesome!
So this is how it will go:
- Leave a comment below with your full name, your email, what country you are from, and a link to your photos (Website, Flickr, Blog, etc). (Due December 19th)
- I will then randomly assign two photographers to one another, and you will both coordinate sending 1 photo each to one another with at least a 12×18” size.
- Send photos to one another using a service of your preference (I prefer Costco or Snapfish–they are cheap and look amazing).
- Mount the photo you receive in your home or office, and take a photo of it.
- Send me the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them on my site.
Got questions? Leave a comment below.
Understand how this works? What are you waiting for–get started!
When it comes to street photography, I am a huge advocate that it doesn’t matter what camera you have for street photography. You don’t need a $6900 Leica M9 to do street photography–whatever camera you have on you will work. In-fact, there is no “best” camera for street photography, as every camera out there has its own pros/cons.
To help bring some light to the issue that what camera you use for street photography doesn’t matter, I decided to do a new project involving disposable cameras. First inspired by the Mosaic photography contest, where contestants in Beirut, Lebanon had to take photos with disposable cameras– I was quite amazed by the results. And at $5, disposable cameras are certainly cheap. Sure buying a ton of them and developing the film isn’t, but I thought it might be a fun exercise regardless.
All the images taken below were with a disposable $5 Walgreens camera. I am quite pleased how they came out (no post-processing applied):
Recently my mother sent me a video released by the National Gallery of Art with paintings from Edward Hopper. His paintings truly show images of life from urban New York, raw and colorful. After watching the video, I saw many wonderful compositions which can inspire any street photographer. Spend the 8 minutes to watch the video–the images are truly exceptional.
Are there any other urban painters which inspire your street photography as well? If so, leave a comment below and leave us some links to check out!
My wonderful girlfriend/manager Cindy Nguyen is at it again–producing another interview video about myself and an introduction to street photography. I hope you all enjoy it and share it with your friends!
See the video on Vimeo.
Street photographers are all amateurs. Not to say that we lack skill, insight, or vision– but that we do street photography for the love of it (not the money). Although people typically equate calling someone an amateur in a negative way, the word amateur roots from French meaning “love of.”
I know very few (if any) street photographers that make a living doing only entirely street photography. Honestly in this day and age– I would say it is near impossible. However, us street photographers try to take out every minute of our days and free time to go out and do what we truly love doing–shooting in the streets.
Having a passion for street photography for the pure reason of loving photography is beautiful. There is nothing better than wandering the streets, stumbling upon serendipity, as well as meeting fascinating people along the way. Not only that, but there is no greater joy than getting “The Shot”–rushing home–downloading your photos to your computer–processing them–and finally uploading them on the internet for others to appreciate as well.
When I realized that I shoot street photography purely for the love of it and not for the money, I tried my best to take away the temptation of making money from my passion. I knew this would only cause me to be miserable and lose the true sight of why I love photography. In-fact, I hear many photographers who go into commercial and wedding photography…they feel that photography is more of a bore and a chore than their passion. I never want this to happen to myself.
Sure I could always use a bit of extra money–but I knew that I wanted to spread the love of photography rather than making myself richer. Therefore I founded The Sukhee Chung Photography Foundation which strives to spread the love of street photography to under-privileged youth. I have already raised enough cameras for the high school class I am teaching (with a very generous grant from Jonathan Murray) and am looking forward to helping out other photography programs in Los Angeles as well.
So remember–shoot street for the love, not for the money (as my good street photographer friend Thomas Leuthard loves to mention). Be an amateur and truly bask in it. Before there is nothing more noble than doing something purely for the love of it.
In October of 2010, I asked the community to donate old digital point and shoot cameras to the Phoenix High Photography Class that I am currently teaching to under-privileged high school youth. To say the least, the response was overwhelming. The first few days I already got donations from Cydney Alexis and Jason Paul Roberts. However on the third day, a talented Swiss street photographer by the name of Jonathan Murray generously donated 11 brand-new Canon Powershots to the class.
You cannot believe how ecstatic I was. Wanting to record the students’ expression, I decided that I wanted to film a short documentary (which was directed with great help from my beautiful girlfriend/manager Cindy Nguyen). Not only that, but she really “set the mood” in the video to give you the fuzzies in your heart. Anyways– please take a few minutes to watch the film and we both would love to hear your feedback!
The Sukhee Chung Photography Foundation is also currently fundraising for 20 used digital point and shoot cameras for another photography program in Los Angeles lead by my friend Terry Kim. Please check out the Facebook Event for more information. Also please spread the word by posting this on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networking site you use! Thank you so much for the love and support!
Note: Every Wednesday, I feature street photographers with great skill and soul. For this week, I decided to feature amazing street photographer Thomas Leuthard. I first met Thomas online when he decided to generously donate a large sum of money to help support my street photography trip to Beirut, Lebanon. After meeting in Lebanon, he was my guest speaker for my Street Photography 101 workshop and we became great friends as well. His technique and vision is exceptional, and I am constantly inspired by his work.
Also feel free to check out all of the other featured street photographers of the week here!
1. How did you get started in street photography?
This is difficult to say as there is no real start “date”. I was shooting a lot of things when I started in early 2008. I was 3.5 weeks in Beijing during the Olympics and there I somehow got infected to shoot people in their everyday life on the streets. But I didn’t realize that at that time. On a trip to Hamburg Germany in October 2008 I take probably my first street photo on purpose, which I still like very much. A little bit later I got my Nikon D90, took another course in photography and I remember very well, when we went to Strasbourg, France, with this class. There was a beggar outside of the cathedral asking for money. I gave her 1 Euro and take some pictures of here. This was the moment when I started to shoot people’s portraits from short distance. But it really started when I bought my 85mm lens in May 2009. Then I decided to shoot only with this lens in the streets and call me 85mm.
Note: Recently New York Street Photographer James Maher got in contact with me asking for some points and tips regarding building his online social media presence. He noticed that I had a great community backing me up (you guys), and he was curious how I did it. I thought about it long and hard, and came up with this blog post. Hope you guys enjoy!
The modern-day photographer is more blessed than ever having a wide-array of online social media networking tools at his/her fingertips. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, DeviantART, and online Forums/Blogs allow photographers not only to build up their own online social media presence, but also to connect to the rest of the photographic community. The benefits of having a strong online social media presence are numerous. One of the most apparent benefits is that photographers are able to get more comments & critique on their work, which help them develop their own style and composition.
However for an aspiring photographer with no experience with online social media, building a presence can be difficult. In this blog post, I will give you a small summary of my experiences, and hopefully give you information which can help you in the long-run as well.
During my time in Beirut, Lebanon– I was fortunate enough to meet some of the nicest and most fascinating people in the world. Not only were the people extremely cordial here, but they actually liked getting their photos taken (compare this to Los Angeles and New York). Regardless of the fact that I was a blatant tourist (I was probably one of the only few Asians in the city), people were genuinely interested about my life story and why I was “gracing” their presence by visiting Beirut, Lebanon. Considering the fact that everybody there is trilingual (speaks English, French, and Arabic), it was extremely easy to converse with everybody I met.
I will forever remember Beirut, Lebanon for not only having some of the friendliest people in the world, but also for being extremely photo-friendly as well. Considering that there are practically no laws against street photography (except taking photos of military personnel and embassy buildings), it is truly the street photographers’ dream city.
If you are an avid street photographer and looking for a new place to travel to, definitely check out Beirut. When you go there, say hi to all the people in the street and tell them that “Eric says hi.”
Street photography is one of the biggest passions in my life. I spend a large amount of time either shooting on the streets, blogging about street photography, tweeting about street photography, and talking/thinking about street photography. But why do I love it so much and why does it bring me a lot of happiness?
The answer is “Flow“–as psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it. I’m sure all of you guys have experienced this when shooting on the streets. You go out and take photos, and become totally immersed in the experience and forget a sense of time or space. You can be out for hours shooting, and don’t even realize that time is passing by.
Whenever I am on the streets and shooting, I feel pure euphoria. I am out there in almost a zen-like state–simply wandering wherever I want to go, while capturing the beauty in the mundane. I meet interesting people, and I experience fascinating and new places. There is no feeling quite like it.
However the problem that many street photographers (myself included) face is that we lose sight of what really makes us happy (shooting photos) and we chase other things such as fame, wealth, or prestige. Would making a few bucks out of our photographs really make us happier? Will the $6900 Leica M9 make us happier? If we become as famous as Henri Cartier-Bresson–will that make us happier? I beg to disagree.
After watching the TED talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow and his theory on the matter– I am convinced that the true happiness I will gain out of street photography is quite simple and in front of me. Shooting in the streets.
For those of you who are interested in watching the TED video that inspired me, take 20 minutes out of your day to truly change your perception about photography, happiness, and life. And if you are really interested in the subject, purchase his book on Amazon titled Flow: The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness.
So my question to you guys is that do you experience this zen-like feeling of “flow” when you are shooting on the streets as well? Leave a comment below and let us know what your experiences are like!
After having the time of my life teaching my Street Photography 101 workshop in Beirut, Lebanon with Thomas Leuthard, I thought that I’d spread the love to those of you who couldn’t make it! In alignment with my ideas on open source photography, I will be providing all of my slides as well as my outline to those who are interested. Feel free to use this information in any way you’d like–but all I ask is credit back to myself or to Thomas Leuthard (for his slides). I hope you guys enjoy and spread the love as well!
If you are interested in having me lead a street photography workshop in your city, please shoot me an email to email@example.com. You can also contact Thomas Leuthard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was in Beirut, Lebanon–the city was full of fascinating old cars. They came in so many different varieties, colors, as well in various places. They caught my eye, and I thought they would make a gorgeous photo-essay.
I tried to shoot all of these cars with roughly the same framing, all using my 35mm. These images were taken from all different neighborhoods in Beirut, Lebanon–and I feel each car has so much character and a story to tell. However when looking at these images, don’t get the impression that all the cars in Lebanon look like this. The streets are full of very nice cars as well– such as BMW’s, Mercedes, Audis, and even Ferraris!
However, I hope you enjoy these images, and that your eyes get a nice feast.
Found this beautiful picture of a Rolleiflex on the internet today. Thought I’d share it with you guys (drool). You can read more about this amazing camera here on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolleiflex.
(11-17-10, waiting for my flight at 6:25AM at the Beirut, Lebanon Airport)
My last week in Beirut, Lebanon has truly been a very humbling experience. I left leaving Los Angeles to teach my street photography workshop in Beirut, Lebanon with my friends/family telling me to “be careful” in Lebanon as it was still “politically unstable” and that I might “get shot” while here. Many also suggested for me not to go, but I decided to take my chances and plunged both feet in.
After teaching my Street Photography 101 workshop in Beirut, Lebanon–I got interviewed by a magazine called NowLebanon. One of the questions that Naziha (the reporter) asked me was how in the world I raised $1100 for my plane ticket to fly to Beirut, Lebanon in only 3 days. My answer for her was (you) the community.
Despite what the media and general public says, Beirut, Lebanon is not full of terrorists and no– you will not get shot here. First coming to Beirut, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Everybody told me to be careful and that it was a dangerous place. However after being here for about 4 days, I highly recommend everyone I know to come visit here. Not only does everybody speak English, French, and Arabic–but there are some of the kindest people here in the world.
In this post, I will give you some reasons which show why Beirut, Lebanon is indeed “The Paris of the Middle East,” and why it is such a beautiful country and why I don’t want to leave. In 2009, The New York Times also called Beirut the #1 place to visit as well! [Link]
1. It is a street photographer’s paradise
I would say that Beirut, Lebanon has one of the most lax laws on street photography, as there are no laws concerning photography here. Sure you don’t want to do things such as shoot photos of military or embassy buildings, but everything else is free reign.
I was surprised that most people here didn’t mind getting their photos taken of. In-fact, there were many people who would approach me in the streets and ask me to take photographs of them. Some of them even invited me into their homes to talk and some even offered me coffee.
When you are walking around the streets, you will find street photographs around every corner. Beirut, Lebanon is a city of contrasts. On one side of the street you will see a decrepit and abandoned building, while on the other side you will see new apartments and shopping centers. Not only that, but the streets are always full of hustle and bustle and people are constantly interacting with one another.
2. It has amazing food
Sure every country has its great foods, but Lebanese food is on a totally different level. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have probably gained 10 pounds in the last few days getting my hands on all these different types of foods. The food here is fresh, hearty, and always satisfying appetites.
Fallafels, lamb, hummus, olive oil, pitas, wraps, tomatoes, barbeque beef, and grilled onions are only a few of the things that will delight your tastebuds.
3. The people treat you like family
As I write this, I am currently staying at my host (Mohamad Badr’s) house. Although I did not know him at all before, he treated me like family and truly opened up his home to me. Not only that, but all the times that I went to his families’ houses to eat dinner, they were always open to me and really spread their love with me as well. Mohamad’s aunt even told me if I stayed in Beirut, she would find me a beautiful wife! (of course I declined as I already have a beautiful girlfriend/manager back home).
But regardless, the feeling of community here is very real. In Los Angeles I often feel that everybody is always out their for themselves and don’t spend enough time with friends and family. Here, people have a huge emphasis on spending time with one another and are always out on the streets having a great time.
There are a million other reasons why you got to travel to Beirut, Lebanon before you die. I highly encourage everybody out there to disregard the public inaccuracies of the media and the general consensus about Lebanon being a “terrorist country.” Definitely swoop on in and you will definitely have the time of your life.