A must see for street shooters.
Check out the Jeff Mermelstein video while you are at it.
A must see for street shooters.
Check out the Jeff Mermelstein video while you are at it.
Thanks Charles. That was a very interesting video. And certainly a rather different approach than Gilden. It is always informative to see how others work, especially since we so often see only the end product.
Charles - I too checked out the Meyerowitz video at the same time as seeing the Bruce Gilden one. Whilst I hope no-one ever expects to see a signature image from a photographer being trailed by a videographer, I think we did get to see the relevant classiness of the two photographers; Meyerowitz has it in abundance. Bruce Gilden has significant talent of course, his aggression informs his work that I've seen but for me the 'attitude' weakens his pictures. Just a point of view - I respect that you probably disagree with me.
For those around the world who happen across the occasional BBC television programme, we in the UK enjoyed a wonderful 6 hour series called 'The Genius of Photography'. Get to see it if it comes your way - and Joel Meyerowitz is featured throughout the series including him working the streets of NY.
What a great approach. Did you see that big smile that he gave the person at the very end of the video? He is very inspiring. Maybe I could do that...if we had more than 3 people on the downtown streets in our little town at one time. Bruce Gilden was scary to me. If he ever put that flash in my face, I think he would be hit over the head with my purse.
Interesting to see how the camera becomes invisible with the black clothes, hat, gloves and camera. I think the gloves are a very important cover.
OMG, I could not believe this guy! One of my students sent me the link last year... This Joel guy is full of substance best used as a fertilizer. He is talking about being invisible and blending in. Right, try go to lower Manhattan and to blend in there wearing all black and running back and forth like a super agent from a bad James Bond knock-off, especially if you are like million feet tall. I do street photography since I remember and know what it's like.
If you want to be invisible on the street, do the following:
- Dress like everybody else, or like a homeless guy, as nobody wants to look at homeless multilayered fashion.
- Do not run, jump or make any other movements that may be subconsciously considered a threat like rotate your head right and left, wave hands about, etc.
- Do not lift a camera from a chest level to your eye. Rather, hold it near your face all the time, and when you need to look in the viewfinder, just lower your head to the viewfinder position, not raise the camera.
- Do not bump into people.
- Try to be lower than everybody else. If you are tall, bend your knees until your head is below a chin of a medium-height adult. If it's too awkward, sit somewhere, or lean against a wall or a tree.
- Resist a temptation to have a curious look on your face. Look either absorbed, or oblivious.
- Do not seek and/or maintain eye contact with anybody.
- If you get busted, smile like you know this person since the age of five and dissolve in the crowd.
i am actually 100% sure that this is NOT how he shoots on the street. it's just the bollocks for gullible amateurs.
I have to agree with you on many points and if he was in any other city than NY without the flow of people being so many ,either you will get shot or arrested. You can't do that stuff on the downtown streets of LA , Phoenix or any other city with much less people you would be a obvious train wreck dressed like that and acting like that. i don't teach street shooting this way. You want to be invisible than exactly what Irakaly said be invisible and dress like everyone else and don't run around like a idiot. But it is all about attitude and also about respect for who you are shooting. Sometimes i will walk away from a shot if I feel i am truly invading some ones space. I am not into harassing people for my benefit
I much prefer walking into a scene and be a part of it for a short time than get your stuff and get the hell out of the way. i don't like hit and runs per say
I'm beginning to think that part of the success of any of these guys is their distinctive personalities. They are unique and their style is a reflection of that. People respond to them in ways that probably wouldn't work for me, or anyone else who tried to mimic them. Everyone has a certain presence that's a result of them just being them.
So IMHO, if it's street you want, I think you have to develop your own style. Part of that development might be to use the general suggestions of those who've been there and done that, but ultimately, if you want your vision to show through, you have to trust yourself and find what works best for you. If it feels right and you can get it to flow, then it's fine.
I'll add some other suggestions for blending in. Just act like what you are doing is perfectly natural to you, have confidence, act like you're just part of the goings on. It can work even if you don't blend in from a fashion sense or ethnic sense. I think this has much more to do with going unnoticed than dressing for the surroundings. And in a place as diverse as NYC, you can't always be "right". Go five blocks from my place in one direction and I'm not white vanilla enough to get admitted by a co-op board. Three in the other direction and I stick out like a lightbulb in the dark (not intended as a racist statement, in the slightest, the image just popped into my head).
Don't sneak shots. If you're sneaking pictures it looks like you're doing something "wrong" and it gives off a much different vibe than if you just bring the camera up and take the picture. People can feel it and it'll ultimately make it much harder for you to work even if in the moment the shot worked.
Well I am sure Jeff is very successful and all that and not knocking him and that is his style but the last guy i seen in all black and black gloves was sneaking into my bedroom to rob my jewelry. Get the picture it is the biggest stereotype image of a guy all in black with a black knit hat on that can be a ski mask. You seen it in a thousand movies.
I much prefer Bruce Gilden
Yes Bruce is a Character and abit off putting
but its his syle -his act-his shtick that makes HIM (tres Old New York)
& as Tim(TRSMITH) said so Poetically " part of their success is their ditinctive personalities"
being a native New Yawker you just sort of get used to these things
Magnum seemed to recognize his Star quality
Thank Goodness he's one of a kind but I'm glad theres room for him in the World
(Now I'm ready for the barrage of insults that will come my way for originally posting his video in the other thread and still liking him)
Best to All -H
the only time i realized that i did something stupid is when i bought a commemorative gold contax rts with a matching 1.4/50 planar and went for a stroll
Irakly - You have just trashed a master of the medium with a huge body of significant work ranging from Leica street images, fabulous large format landscape work, and 10x8 portraiture. Check him out; feel small, then blush...This Joel guy is full of substance best used as a fertilizer...
i am not going to engage in a pissing contest with a master of medium, but i am not going to feel small either. i think that the fact that my work is displayed in museums and galleries of seven countries and that i have students all over the world awards me this right.
is this street shooting how you teach it?
you know the thing is, JMeyerowitz is dressed like a newyorker in the winter, all black. I've seen him around and he does dress like that normally. It may look weird but just stroll down Madison and you will know what I mean. And the gloves, well, it gets cold holding an M6 outside in the winter, I use one glove on the body and let the focus hand go free. Thing is, people dress however in ny and that is really not an issue.
But I did get the impression he was just doing it for the video. Hamming it up. It is impossible to work with someone filming you.
Jeff Mermelstein otoh I have seen working and that is what he looks like. Both of them are tall. Mermelstein is a little bit like frankenstein walking, even when he is not shooting, a strange physical presence. He was at the recent NY photo festival and his energy is definitely shy.
Bruce Gilden I have only met once, and he is a classic ny crank from the old school. I think we forget that ny is not what it used to be, remember how the other Bruce, -Davidson did Subway and essentially prepared himself for battle each day in camo fatigues as a way to claim some territory in the subway. What Gilden was doing I think has more to do with how the street was in ny in the 80's, you needed to assert more, today it is totally different, mostly 90% tourists.
Street is not one thing, it is a lot of things, and sometimes the best pictures are when the subject is aware of the photographer, while I don't like BG possibly giving old ladies heart attacks, he does try to find that aspect of ny, the freaks and geeks, the people that you think only exist in fiction, he creates his own cast with this technique. We all have to find our unique "population", we "cast" our own stories in photography sometimes. BG is no different.
I think these videos of famous street shooters doing their thing should be taken with a grain of salt. I've been trailed with a video camera before taking pics and let me tell you, it's not an easy thing. To do the best street photography one must be alone. I find that even a guide (when I'm in a foreign country) can be a hindrance. And sometimes things happen and other times they don't. I wouldn't judge the body of Gilden's or Meyerwowitz's work on an hour in NY with a videographer. It's really just to show an example of their style.
Street photography is about one thing: CONFIDENCE. There are no set "rules beyond that as to what to wear, how to act, etc etc. Of course not sticking out like a sore thumb is best. I find looking good (not formal though) works best for me. For example when I'm in other countries I dress in long pants even if it's 100 degrees out, which is usually how the locals dress. I think Meyerowitz looks like a NY artist hipster to NYers (not a ninja) and therefore people see him as working. Gilden just looks a bit like a crazy person and therefore not worth bothering with which works to his advantage.
I would say the pics posted above are a good example of how NOT to street photograph. Personally I find the touristic horde approach more off putting than Gilden.
And of course NY is a different beast from most elsewhere. There is a constant flow and people take things in stride. Heck what's a camera flash in the face when anytime a construction crane could come falling down. I'm with Helen when it comes to Gilden. Methinks people actually aren't quite as sensitive as you make them out to be, esp NYers who've "seen it all."
This Jeff Mermelstein video is another must see of a photographer at work. He sort of cuts the balance between Gilden and Meyerowitz.
Yes, confidence is the key to good street photography. Perhaps second is patience.Street photography is about one thing: CONFIDENCE. There are no set "rules beyond that as to what to wear, how to act, etc etc. Of course not sticking out like a sore thumb is best. I find looking good (not formal though) works best for me. For example when I'm in other countries I dress in long pants even if it's 100 degrees out, which is usually how the locals dress.
I may dislike Gilden's approach, but the horde is 100% worse. If there are too many cameras around (and it's not an "event" surrounded by press photogs) I often opt not to shoot, or only make one or two images before the camera goes in the bag. It feels entirely predatory to me otherwise. Too many people filtering the world through the camera first then the eyes: all backwards.I would say the pics posted above are a good example of how NOT to street photograph. Personally I find the touristic horde approach more off putting than Gilden.
There are many schools of thought on street photography...really on how to approach people. Since that trip to Germany ..i participated in 4 workshops and three trips to europe specifically for street photography. I am in Paris now for 2 weeks ..everyday on the street. I have had the opportunity to meet with a dozen photojournalists to discuss their work and street photography. Styles very greatly and there are few absolute best practices. The biggest area of debate is do you seek permission to shoot. Most don t but I have seen entire lifetimes of work where the photographer first had to gain acceptance (permission). There are a lot of ways to "ask someone to dance" . My issue with asking is that it changes entire process from being in the moment to creating the moment. Gilden creates the moment with his abrupt style and provokes a response...this doesn t have to be so unpleasant ....but thats his style. JM tries to blend in but his video makes you believe he bobs and weaves...if the subject notices you probably get a negative response. Personally I think he is over doing it to emphasize that you do have to get out in traffic to do decent street photography. How you dress and look , how you carry yourself and how you approach subjects all matter ..but there are few absolutes..just things that work for you. For may taste ..and thats what it is..you have to get close,use a wide angle to include some context and get low . A test I use everyday ..look at the photos in the new york times ...even the sports page. What pictures would you like to have taken? How do you think the photographer got the shot? One thing I do know is that you will have a hard time doing street photography in a group....that one might be an absolute. LOL Roger
You need to be obvious,so obviously a photographer that the life that surrounds you can give you permission to be there and then forget you exist.If you think that dressing up as a ninja and flailing your arms around makes you invisible and nobody is smacking you on the nose then maybe your right but Id keep it to yourself.
this is a series that i did in moscow subway. didn't know any of these people, never asked permission, never shot from the hip. no photoshop either. it took me eleven days. i shot 57 frames total.
only once i was approached by a gentleman who asked how could i use such an expensive spectacle of german engineering in the subway. i pretended to be a retard, and he immediately retired.
Great work Irakly,the last one,among others,wonderful,Neil.
I have some shots from the metro in kiev:
In the ukraine most of the people on the street donīt like being photographed, but I have got some good shots. The longest lens was 50mm on the Nikon D200.
this one's very nice
Last edited by akiralx; 7th June 2008 at 10:10. Reason: correct link