Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 48 of 48

Thread: First take on street photography

  1. #1
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    First take on street photography

    I always wanted to make photographs on the street, but never felt to comfortable with it. After reading Sean Reid's essay, and viewing many photographs from others I finally did it. It still feels strange to take my camera up in front of strangers, but it was funny to realize how many people did not even notice it. And when people noticed me, a friendly nod was enough.
    Any comments are very much appreciated. I really want to learn this. Any tips and tricks are helpfull for me.










  2. #2
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    socal
    Posts
    1,037
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    what focal length are those?

    For me I like the geometry in 4, the shadows in 3 (although I want to "straighten" the image), and the vibe of 5. Riffing on 5, I would have been interested to see more of the building and less of the road (maybe), or none of the building (maybe), or a bit tighter crop on the two people and the sign (which is where my eyes go).

    No warranty implied or expressed, and I am not an authority. Your mileage may vary, see dealer for details.

  3. #3
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you nostatic. With the exception of the third photograph all 28mm. The third had a focal length of 35mm. Your comments are very much appreciated, the really do.
    With the exception of the last two photos I took them form the hip to get less noticed.

  4. #4
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Maggie O's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Standards Are Down All Over
    Posts
    3,064
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Those are some well-observed and composed urban documentary photographs!

    (Like Sean and Garry Winogrand, I don't believe there is such a genre as "Street Photography." It might be a very rough description of a working method, but the photos are not "Street."*)

    * remember, y'all asked me to come back!

  5. #5
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Maggie. I might have better written "My first take on photographing street". Though some might describe my 'normal' work as landscape photography, it doesn't feel that to me. Photography on the street is for me an effort to extend the place were I can make photographs.

    Love your new avatar by the way. So cool!

  6. #6
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    socal
    Posts
    1,037
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    hmm, this keeps edging me closer to the GRD2. I've been unsure about working at 28 fixed as I've been shooting a lot recently with a 35mm on my dslr (which makes it about a 52mm). But I consistently see shots I like here done at 28mm.

    A few more comments. I am drawn to 4 because there is so many parallel and perpendicular lines but it doesn't feel busy. The outline of the building, the marked curb, the shadows. I'd be interested to see it without the cell phone ad. With 3 I really like the shadow of the lights, but I'm not sure how I'd compose them with the people and the shopping cart. But the "wings" shadow is very cool.

  7. #7
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    I see what you mean nostatic. Though I am not a fan of cropping I will certainly look for 3 and 4 to see in what way I can change it.

    I use the GX100 with two 'MY settings'. One with 28mm, prefocused at 2 meters, in aperture mode at f4.6. Setting two is with 35mm, while the other settings remain the same.

    A GRD2, or any other small camera, will get less noticed then a dslr.

  8. #8
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Wouter wrote:
    "I always wanted to make photographs on the street, but never felt to comfortable with it. After reading Sean Reid's essay, and viewing many photographs from others I finally did it. It still feels strange to take my camera up in front of strangers, but it was funny to realize how many people did not even notice it. And when people noticed me, a friendly nod was enough.
    Any comments are very much appreciated. I really want to learn this. Any tips and tricks are helpfull for me."

    Great, did you also read "Photographing Strangers"?

    My advice:

    1. Remember that everything in the frame is subject. It all has to work. The wider the lens is, the tougher this can be sometimes.

    2. Look a lot at paintings and also at photographers like Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand and Robert Frank. Sketch your favorites among those pictures with tracing paper and see how they're made. Look at how everything in the frame is used. If you're not sure who your favorite painters are, now is a good time to find out. We have a lot to learn from the art that was made before the invention of the camera.

    3. Forget the idea of "Street Photography" per se, it doesn't help to clarify your task at all. Figure out what you are photographing and then really photograph it. Taking the buzz phrase away can help you to see more clearly what you're really after.

    4. People in public places are, in a sense, figures in a kind of landscape. Remember that the landscape/cityscape needs as much attention as the figures.

    5. When in doubt, simplify for now - fewer people in the frame, shallower space, simpler elements if need be. Make sure you can juggle three balls well before trying to juggle 30. The better you get, the more visual complexity you may be able to organize and resolve.

    6. Read everything in the following series twice and give it a lot of thought. Its some of the best advice to photographers ever written:
    http://www.rawworkflow.com/making_pictures/index.html

    Cheers,

    Sean

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    belgÔe
    Posts
    1,492
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: First take on street photography

    awesome that you' stepped outside your comfort level, Wouter, bravo!!!

    just remember -- horses are people too

  10. #10
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Lili's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,527
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Splendid Wouter,
    The bottom two are my favs, tho all are good.
    Love the Shadow one too

  11. #11
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,895
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    16

    Re: First take on street photography

    Its great to creatively challenge oneself.
    You're off to a Great Start........
    I like shots 1 and 4
    Best, helen
    Last edited by helenhill; 23rd April 2008 at 19:05.

  12. #12
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Sean for your tips. Especially the writing of Ben Lifson is fascinating and meaningfull. Leaving your comfort level, like Cam said, can be challenging. But is also fun, rewarding, and inspiring. I am getting the feeling of seeing subjects, forms, lines, and curves on the street. But the landscapes can change rapidly on the street, and I want to feel more comfortable with holding the camera in front me.

    Again many thanks to you all.

  13. #13
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Mitch for your thoughtful reply. I think you are right that a project in mind can help you see things more clearly and gives more meaning to your work. And getting closer has so much to do with my comfort level too.

    Your first example is just absolutely stunning. The composition, the silhouette, and lightning helps this photo to keep simple, yet very powerful.

    Next week it will be Queen's day in the Netherlands, with lots of faires and joyfull people. That could be an excellent starting project for me.

    Many thanks!

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    belgÔe
    Posts
    1,492
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: First take on street photography

    Wouter -- i just commented on your blog...

  15. #15
    micampe
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    I am, like Wouter, in the process of trying this kind of photography (or at least wanting to, but, unlike Wouter, I still have a long way to build my skills first), and these great thoughts, insights and especially examples are what I am looking for to better understand it. Thanks Sean and Mitch.

    And I agree with Wouter, the first picture is amazing Mitch, but I mostly love how you are playing with lights and contrast, how the scenes are quite dark, but with the right amount of light to describe everything.

  16. #16
    Member MisiekBunnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Eindhoven
    Posts
    54
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Congratulations on indeed stepping out the comfort zone... That was well said and all the reply's are a great inspiration for those who are not there just yet.

    Because of the fact that the compact/small sensor camera is almost all of the time with us, enthousiasts, it gives us the opportunity to practice everyday...

    Indeed, I like sean's view: buildings and such are part of the street, so concentrate on those for composition also!

    have fun on the street, wouter, and love to see more!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldbunnik/
    Last edited by MisiekBunnik; 24th April 2008 at 04:03. Reason: grammar

  17. #17
    Senior Member Joan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    477
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    8

    Re: First take on street photography

    Great beginnings, Wouter. I'm eager to see how your pictures progress as you go forward.

    Echo the congrats from others on stepping outside your comfort zone and going for it! You have such a good eye, I have no doubts that you'll be successful and that your work will be unique.

    Regards,
    Joan

  18. #18
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Joan, Michele, and Ronald. Your comments mean a lot to me and really helps me feel more confident. This is a great journey!

    Cam, I really appreciate your response on the post on my blog. Your comment (and your recent "lovers" photograph) is a great encouragement.

  19. #19
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Here some extra photographs from yesterday. Today we had overcast and some rain.






  20. #20
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Lili's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,527
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Excellent Wouter, you are moving in closer and growing bolder
    I especially like the one with the girl, her Mom and the stroller

  21. #21
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Lili

  22. #22
    pcheywood
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Well done Wouter, moving in closer pays dividends as others have said previously.

    With myself, I have to be in the mood, and find that where I live just doesn't inspire me to take pictures (familiarity breeds contempt I suppose ). However, I find it a whole lot easier using the GX100 than a DSLR, people seem to notice you with the SLR, but are more dismissive of small camera.

    Paul.

  23. #23
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Suffolk, UK
    Posts
    23
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Here's an interesting site that has excellent examples from a number of photographers.

    www.in-public.com

  24. #24
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel Rea View Post
    Here's an interesting site that has excellent examples from a number of photographers.

    www.in-public.com
    Thanks for that link. Lots of great images there.

  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Suffolk, UK
    Posts
    23
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Take a look at the Galleries of Nils Jorgensen in particular.

    They concur with Sean's advice point 5.


    Nigel

  26. #26
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by MisiekBunnik View Post

    Indeed, I like sean's view: buildings and such are part of the street, so concentrate on those for composition also!

    have fun on the street, wouter, and love to see more!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronaldbunnik/
    Buildings, mailboxes, everything... One of the things that Stephen Shore used to stress to us is that *everything* in the frame is subject. What we often call background, is still subject. The tiny figures that appear in the distance in a Breughel painting are still painted very specifically. We have to do the same with our medium. This is one reason that I personally love the "window finder" - the RF or accessory finder with no ground glass. It allows us to see deep space clearly. Mitch uses an alternate approach of using the LCD to find the edges and then direct sight otherwise.

    One consequence, sometimes, of SLR photography is that one sees only part of the frame clearly, one distance from the lens, (because of limited depth of field) and so the other elements in the frame, the other subject matter, is not seen well and thus not visually resolved in the picture. It's not so much of a problem when one is working across short space, as Robert Bergman often is for example, but it can be a big problem when one is working across the deeper space of a street, a courtyard, etc.

    There's a great correlation between small sensor cameras and window finders. The cameras tend to record with great depth of field and the finder shows us infinite depth of field. In case the following is of interest (this is from a review of the Epson R-D1):

    "...There are photographers who prefer rangefinders and others who prefer SLRs. Needless to say, there are pros and cons to each system. Rangefinder cameras are usually smaller, lighter and quieter than SLRs. Since they donít use reflex mirrors, they tend to have less vibration than SLRs during exposures and this can be an asset when working hand-held at slow shutter speeds. Their lenses tend to be compact. The core advantage of a rangefinder, for me, however, lies in the way in which it allows one to see and frame the picture before itís captured. A rangefinder shows one the world through a window with lines indicating the pictureís borders. That allows one to look at what will and will not fall within those borders. In other words, one sees the world of the picture about to be made as well as the world just outside it. This can give one a greater sense of the ways in which the picture might change by either 1) changing the framing or 2) allowing elements outside the frame to move into the frame. Epsonís 1:1 finder takes this strength one step further. Since the finder shows the world at life size, one can work with both eyes open. One eye sees the world as it appears in the frame; the other watches the world outside the frame that may soon enter it. Or perhaps we could say that the right eye sees the trees and the left eye sees the forest.

    Then thereís the issue of viewing depth of field. An SLR normally uses an automatic aperture that remains open during composition and only closes to its set aperture at the moment of exposure. So, letís say the camera has a 50mm F/1.8 lens mounted and set to an aperture of F/8. The exposure will be made at F/8 of course but the viewing used to compose and choose the moment of the picture will be seen through the lens wide open. That means that one will only see a certain range of distance in the frame (usually the foreground subject) clearly, everything behind and ahead of that focus zone will be blurred. So while the film or sensor will ďseeĒ at F/8 when the exposure is made, the photographer sees at F/1.8. Itís hard for one to make a picture he or she canít fully see. One can get around this using a depth of field preview button but that method tends to work better when the camera is on a tripod. When working handheld, using a DOF preview button can be cumbersome and makes for a dark finder where things are harder to see. The rangefinder has the opposite problem of showing all distances from the lens in focus. One process is additive and one is subtractive. With the SLR, one must see certain distances out of focus and imagine what they will look like in focus. With a rangefinder, one sees all distances in focus and must imagine what some of them will look like out of focus. I prefer the latter way of working."

    Its interesting to note that photographers like Winogrand, Frank, Levitt, Koudelka, etc. continue (continued in the case of Winogrand) to work with rangefinder cameras long after SLRs had been popularized. Looking at their work, its clear how important it was for them to be able to see near and far all at once.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  27. #27
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    Here some extra photographs from yesterday. Today we had overcast and some rain.





    Hi Wouter,

    If you'd like, tell me how well you think each of the three pictures works, across the frame - all elements considered. Which passages, in each picture, do you feel are specifically and clearly expressed? Do any of the passages strike a false note, so to speak?

    Cheers,

    Sean

  28. #28
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Sean. In a way the pictures 1 and 3 work for me is mainly the feel of perspective. There is a sort of sense of direction to it. Picture 2 is intriguing me, because there is this feeling of disconnect between the two subjects.

    Picture 1 is more documentary, because of the framing and the show of work he is doing (and even has done). Looking over and over again at this picture I might have framed it differently. Maybe placing the man more to the right to give the feeling there is still a lot of work for him to be done. Or at least give the viewer the presumption of it.

    In picture 2 I think the background doesn't work for me. It is a bit distracting, partly because of the DoF. Though that is also hard to avoid for me using a small sensor camera.

    In picture 3 I eventually have the feeling I could have done more with the shadows of the cyclists.

    Any thoughts are very helpful and very much appreciated.

  29. #29
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Ok, will do later today when I have some more time. If you're interested, what I'll talk to you about are the pictures in visual terms, as each passage works (as itself and in relation to others). I don't critique pictures on the web very often because a good critique takes a lot of time and attention. Have you had a chance to read all eleven of those Lifson articles?

    Cheers,

    Sean

  30. #30
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    As said Sean, it is very much appreciated and you may also send me a PM if you prefer that. I hope I will not take too much time from you. Your general thoughts in the recent posts have been very helpful for me (and I think other to) and I am trying to learn a lot from it.

    Many thanks,

  31. #31
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,627
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    before we get lost in technical discussions, i think it's important to stress that a photographer we recognize expresses a view of the world.

    i'd suggest as part of your study sitting down with fat books by bill brandt (german photographing in england), henri cartier-bresson (travelled the world), and robert doisneau (mostly paris), putting them side by side. each had a distinct attitude toward life and being alive. this is what is missing from most photos taken in public.

    and there is more than one way to skin a cat. if you like, look at the last two galleries i've posted, both taken with the fuji f31, one in black and white and one in color. do you see a similarity in their view of the world? that would be very interesting for me to know.

    www.pbase.com/wwp/eco

    www.pbase.com/wwp/puppets2

    thanks for starting this thread.
    wayne

    ps. none of them were cropped.

  32. #32
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Hi Wayne,

    Which technical discussions were those? In this thread? BTW, a belated welcome to the forum.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  33. #33
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Welcome Wayne. So far I think this is an interesting thread and certainly not technical. When reading the Lifson articles, and considering Mitch drawing proposal, I looked for picture 1 and made a drawing of it.



    Thank you Nigel for the link to in-public.com

  34. #34
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,895
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    16

    Re: First take on street photography

    Wouter
    How Great is that
    I'm actually doing something similar
    I am taking my digital photos
    having them transferred professionally to canvas in B&W
    and then painting various layers of thin down artists oil (glazes)
    thereby CREATING subtle layers of Tones & Atmosphere
    to the background Sketch
    Then I will do some Collage work on top
    The possibilities are endless
    Cheers ! helen

  35. #35
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    You should make some pictures of your work and show it to us. Thanks!

  36. #36
    Sean_Reid
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    Welcome Wayne. So far I think this is an interesting thread and certainly not technical. When reading the Lifson articles, and considering Mitch drawing proposal, I looked for picture 1 and made a drawing of it.



    Thank you Nigel for the link to in-public.com
    And that sketch shows us that the figure is pretty good. Now sketch the rest and watch what happens. Also, I haven't forgotten to respond to these pics, I just need some time when my head is clear.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  37. #37
    pb61
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Hello Wouter,
    It does take a bit of courage to get in close and snap away but that is the way to make things happen in the frame.Your second set is better simply through your proximity.If you are holding the camera in your hand and yet looking elsewhere people are usually unaware.It seems odd to leave the composition to chance but it can get you some very lucky and interesting shots. Almost like in 3D pictures, something right in front of the lens giving you depth can help. Small digital cameras that have no shutter sound and can have their focus set before a shot are the definite winners in this area.Just hope for a sunny day and give it a high f stop and fingers crossed.....
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2084/...65129678_b.jpg
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2024/...23cea87f_b.jpg
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/88/25...50bd9831_b.jpg

  38. #38
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Hi pb61,
    I love the first picture. Look at faces and hands! The first one is "full' of it. Excellent picture and thank you for sharing. Also thanks for your comments and welcome here!

    Cheers,

  39. #39
    Imar
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Hey Wouter,

    First of all, nice to see someone trying street photography in Ede. I've lived in Lunteren for quite some time.
    What I noticed is, that I find doing street photography abroad is much easier. I'm not that familiar with that culture and somehow that does help me. Just returned from a short trip to China and for the first time I think I had the guts to do street photography.
    Here is one example where I was right in the middle, but I haven't yet done this in Arnhem. I don't know why though.



    PB61 is right indeed, a small camera with pre focus helps. I use a GR-D since recently and I really like it.

    I will follow your progress on Flickr, you show a lot of improvements already!

  40. #40
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Dank je Imar, Welkom hier! I should try Lunteren as well. It is only 8 km from where I live. Ede, and Lunteren (like most smaller places all over the world) are more socially controled. People will notice you faster. A big city could be better. Arnhem Central Station or the main bus station could be great places. So could Korenmarkt, or the Ketelstraat. Try the market on Saturday.
    That is a great picture Imar and I will look through your Flickr photostream!

    Groeten,
    Last edited by wbrandsma; 27th April 2008 at 01:13.

  41. #41
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Today we celebrated Queen's Day in the Netherlands. It was a great day for practising.















    Imar, all photographs were made in Ede.

  42. #42
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Lili's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,527
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    Today we celebrated Queen's Day in the Netherlands. It was a great day for practising.



    Imar, all photographs were made in Ede.
    Oh my.
    Very very good Wouter.
    Bu this shot, with the mirror, and the framing rendiering the people so anonymous.
    Simply
    Blew
    Me Away

  43. #43
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    belgÔe
    Posts
    1,492
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: First take on street photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Oh my.
    Very very good Wouter.
    Bu this shot, with the mirror, and the framing rendiering the people so anonymous.
    Simply
    Blew
    Me Away
    ditto! you're finally getting the feel for it, trusting yourself, making it your own!
    bravo!

  44. #44
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Lili and Cam. I had a great time today.

  45. #45
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Near London
    Posts
    1,054
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: First take on street photography

    Wouter you prove the adage that it's the photographer not the camera that makes the picture. These are so much better then your first shots it is almost disheartening!

    I like this one best but they are all good.


    Quote Originally Posted by wbrandsma View Post
    Today we celebrated Queen's Day in the Netherlands. It was a great day for practising.



  46. #46
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    Thank you Will. It felt so much better too. I enjoyed it and this thread really helped me.

  47. #47
    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,895
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    16

    Re: First take on street photography

    WOUHOO ter:

    You're on a Roll.........
    Lovely- helen

  48. #48
    wbrandsma
    Guest

    Re: First take on street photography

    You're too kind Helen! Many thanks. Here more outings.







    Cheers,

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •