Monday, June 6, 2016

My Street Photography

During the weekend I was browsing and looking at photos that are classified as "Street Photography" and was stunned how popular this type of documentary photography is!

So what is street photography?

According to Wikipedia:
"Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions, and other settings."

It go on to say about this type of photography...

"Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in that it shows a pure vision of something, like holding up a mirror to society. Street photography often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter, and often concentrates on a single human moment, caught at a decisive or poignant moment."

Straight photography? A quick click of my mouse told me that...

"Straight photography or Pure photography refers to photography that attempts to depict a scene as realistically and objectively as permitted by the medium, renouncing the use of manipulation.

Founded in 1932, Group f/64 who championed purist photography, had this to say:
Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form."
Hmmm... that prompt me to look at my archived images to see which of my shots can go under this decisive, candid; category :)

One of my favorite!
I was walking pass a construction site in Penang, Malaysia. Saw this guy peeping into the construction site, oblivious to the "DANGER" sign on top of his head!

I took six shots while moving slowly closer to him to get a tighter crop, he was so absorbed by what ever he saw he did not hear my motor-drive! What was he looking at?

Nikon F2 with 105mm f2.5 lens Kodak Tri-X film.

Hobo, SoHo, New York... a "grab shot" with a Canon EOS1 film camera and EF 14mm f2.8 super wide lens, Kodak 400 Ektapress film. Love those cast iron buildings!

Old folks in Chinatown, Manhattan; having a break while their wives having a poker break nearby.

Don't they look contended with life! My trusty Leica M4P with 90mm f2 Summicron on Kodak Ektapress 400 film.

Kids planning for something outside a mall at Innsbruck, Austria. Canon EOS-1n film camera, 28-70 mm zoom. Kodak film.

Why do people always show the "V" sign when they have their picture taken?
This group of happy go lucky kids in the town square of Vienna did just that.
I move closer with my fish-eye to capture their jubilant mood.
Canon EOS1n with 15mm fish-eye lens. Kodak Supra 400 film.

Art seller on wheelchair and wearing an umbrella hat, New York. Canon EOS1, 14 mm lens on Kodak 400 film.

Sunday morning coming down... Martinborough, New Zealand. Canon D60 DSLR, 15 mm fish-eye lens.

Plaster couple... Wellington, New Zealand. Canon 20D DSLR, 70-200 lens @ 200 mm.

Feed the birds... Melbourne, Australia. Nikon Coolpix 8400 point n shoot @ 24 mm eqv. 1/125 sec.

Young Lord of the Ring fan was taken at Courtenay Place, Wellington; New Zealand. Canon D60 DSLR, 17-35L f2.8 lens.

"The Look" was shot at Oriental Parade, Wellington; New Zealand. Canon D60 DSLR , 17-35 lens @ 17 mm.

Ice cream man...I was doing a freelance shoot in Malacca, Malaysia; Y2K. Saw this friendly ice cream man . Shot with my Nikon F3P, Nikkor 300mm f4.5 IF-ED. Kodak ISO 100 film.

Tourists enjoying the afternoon sun and my selfie at Lake Titisee, Germany. Leica M6 with 28 mm Elmarit f2.8 lens. Kodak Ektapress film.

Bull ride at Salzburg, Austria. Canon EOS-1n with 28-70 lens, Kodak film.

This Malay street peddler was trying to hog off a "diamond ring" at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

I move in really close with my Canon EOS-1n and a 15 mm fish-eye lens. Holding the camera above heads of his customers (notice my camera and arm shadow), I fired a few shots and moved swiftly away. Walk away when you feel hostility rising ;)

Siesta.. shop keeper at Arab Street, Singapore. Taken with a Nikon E2 DSLR with Nikkor 80-200/F zoom. E2 was co-developed with Fujifilm, are autofocus 1.3 megapixel professional grade quasi-full frame (35mm) Nikon F-mount digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) manufactured by Nikon since 1995.

My boxes, my home.. taken from the top of our double decker tour bus near Times Square, in New York. 
Shot with my Leica M6 with 90/2 Summicron on Kodak film.

A homeless man sleep with his worldly possessions beside a million dollar sea front apartment block near The Rock, Sydney, Australia.  
Olympus OM-D with Lumix 7-14 zoom.

Kid on a giant boulder in front of Te Papa museum in Wellington, New Zealand.
Nikon F3P with Nikkor 20/2.8 lens, Kodak film.

Dog, frog.. caught at Lucerne with Canon EOS1, 28-70/2.8 zoom on Kodak Ektapress 400.

A young man in Chinatown, Sydney, Australia horning his photographic skill.
Olympus OM-D with Lumix 7-14 ultra-wide zoom.

A young tourist snapping a picture of her travel companion at the gate of Sydney's Chinatown.
Olympus OM-D with Lumix 7-14 ultra-wide zoom lens.

A just married Chinese couple crossing the road after their photo session outside the Sydney Opera House, Australia.
Olympus OM-D with Lumix 7-14 ultra-wide zoom.

Enjoying a huge slice of water melon in a food court, Brisbane, Australia.
Olympus OM-D with Lumix 75-175/4 zoom.

Famous Last Words:

My friend say how about some tips in street photography, I say go and Google "street photography tips" and you will get 700,000 pages of tips on this subject!

The top hit was from on 20 quick tips.

I find most of the tips are more to do with your common sense, readers are most likely wanted to know what is the best cameras for this type of photography. After all, I used more than 7 different types of cameras for those shots!

First please let me explain I was not going to look specifically for street shots when I captured those images. I used what ever cameras I had at that moment, I suppose being able to operate the camera fast; helps :)

Jokes aside, the best cameras for street photography have to be:

1) Small  (at the moment, I prefer a M43 camera like the Lumix GX85)
2) Quiet   (as above, no, I do not work for Panasonic!)
3) Black   ( less people will spot your black camera!)
4) Digital with FAST auto focus  (Lumix GX85, Sony, Olympus, your choice)

It is definitely an advantage if your digital camera come with tilt-able rear screen.

For nonchalant candid shots, my OM-D with the raised rear LCD was usually hung from my neck or sitting on my lap, there was time it is just sitting on a table for all the candid shots of the “water melon lady”.

Beyond photo tips has a good write up. Go read.

Don't let any one trying to tell you a Leica-M is best for street shoot, I know Cartier Bresson, father of decisive moment used them but that does not mean you can get great shots with them.

The Range Finder Forum have some interesting ideas though. Worth a read!

For me, I am looking forward to the further development of the EVIL camera from Nikon and Canon!

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heather said...

A great bunch of photos! I particularly like the old folk in Chinatown.What a good way to spend retirement, sitting together with your friends, watching the world go by. I also like the photo of the man looking through the hole in the fence. How intriguing!What WAS he looking at? We will never know.
The hand gesture that is so popular with young people originates with voodoo(black magic). It is a sign of the devil`s horns.It gained popularity through the hip hop culture in America.Now every young person seems to do it.I doubt if any of them knows what it really means.

iml said...

The peeping man stands out as it captures the curiosity in us.

Anonymous said...


Great set of pix ... and I found your tips helpful ... I shoot with S200EXR ... and here is my flickr ...