31 Street Photography Tips and Tricks: Part 1

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When my father was alive he used to tell me the hardest feat in sports was to hit a 95mph fastball.  I am not sure I agree but it certainly takes an immense amount of coordination.  The equivalent feat in art might be street photography; more difficult than painting, writing, dancing, even music.  Anyone can hit a single once in a while but it requires combining a lot of skills & techniques to “hit” for average as well as home-runs.

Photographing strangers is a challenging undertaking.  Being confronted with the moral dilemma of “stealing” a picture of someone without their permission or to engage them, alter the reality &, therefore, lose all veracity, is comparable to juggling several balls in the air.  At the same time trying to fashion a reasonable but provocative image, is almost existential.

"Street photography is an age-old tradition, and also a solitary undertaking. It has been elevated by such luminaries as Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander.
Street photography is an active, confrontational art form where the objective is to see and react to life around you. It is ground zero. No rules".

Street photos are small, quixotic segments of a larger urban landscape.  They are bits of a city—metaphors.  You are developing small narratives with little beginning or end.  Equipment is usually minimal.  Rather it is the heart & mind behind the camera that makes compelling street photographs.  Traditionally we have seen examples by Robert Frank, Eugene Atget, and Andre Kertesz but a new wave is represented by Alex Webb, Martin Parr & Constantine Manos who have changed it forever.

The most adept have so many things to consider every time they point their cameras at something.  As said before it is like juggling.  Besides shutter speed & aperture, you are balancing light, composition, momentum, emotion, etc.  And as you get better you add more balls.

In many places there is a de facto “war on street photography”.  There is a lot more pressure on us.  It is a wonderful tradition but suspicious minds attach some kind of perversion to it.  So as practitioners we have to be more capable to deal with all these factors.

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Stock Photography And The New Getty Images Contract

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back in the 1980s I traveled down to New York City & met with THE IMAGE BANK.  Although stock photography had been around a long time, this new iteration revolutionized photography forever.  From what had previously been outtakes, the new idea was to combine the best photographers, the best photography & the best marketing.  It treated good photography with respect & I wanted some of that.  A new era was born.

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blog (blŏg, bläg) n. 1. short for Weblog 2. online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer 3. diary that is posted on the Internet 4. an experiment to verbalize my observations about the status of photography. It will be eclectic & deal with philosophy & practice of this universal art form. It will strive for periodic commentary about issues many photographers face, like ownership and the economy. It will also talk about pictures and what makes good ones and how to get them. No hardware. No software. No recycled clichés. No whining.