How dare you take that photo! – London Street Photography Festival 2011

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Do you have the balls to argue with a police officer? Apparently you have the right to, at least in London. In most countries, taking photographs in public is allowed (even of private property, as long as you are not physically in the property). Do you agree with the approach these photographers are taking to defend the right of their cameras and photography?

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The Shadow Photographers #8: Daah Oliveira

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Today we have a very special photographer and Internet socializer- Daah Oliveira! She is the founder of the Clicks facebook street photography group which has exploded in members and participation, and serves as an inspiration to me every day. Hailing from Liverpool, England, Daah exhibits a very unique style and a dark sense of humor. Look out for her signature Rabbit-head, and enjoy.

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Q. Brief introduction please!

A. I am originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil where I started my photographer career 5 years ago but one year ago I moved to the UK where I am living at the moment. I have started photographing bands and consequently I have got completely involved in the art’s world which I absolutely love.

Q. First off, what got you started in photography? In street photography?

A. When I finished high school I wasn’t quite sure of what I wanted to be or what course to study at University so I decided to take one year break and enjoy myself as much as I could. Then I did, I had these friends which had a band and was always following their concerts. At first I was only helping them with all I could do and eventually I became a stage assistant. After a while the band started to become quite famous and they decided to record their first DVD. The photographer that was working with us also knew a lot about video and he was in charge of taking care of the DVD’s production. He knew how much I loved photography and then he offered me to stay with his DSLR camera and try to use it and be the photographer for that day. I had never used a DSLR camera before so he quickly taught me the basics of how to use his camera and I was thrilled for that. When he sent me the photos that I took on that day he also said to me that I should definitely go for it and become a photographer because he loved the photos of that day and kept thinking on what he said then I decided to enroll in a photographer course on the followed year. I’m glad I did because photography is definitely my passion.

Street Photography at first was only a project that I wanted to do because I had never imagined myself going on the streets and taking pictures of random people. When I decided to research all about street photography I realized that I had all the wrong impressions of what street photography was about and it was much more interesting that I thought it could be. I watched loads of documentaries, read many blogs and websites and after a while I decided to go with a friend to our first day of street photography session and I absolutely loved it. I realized that street photography wasn’t all about going to the streets and shooting every moment that happened. I only started to shoot street this January and I think I am still experiencing more and more… I noticed things that I don’t like, for example shooting portraits, it just don’t work to me and I thought that street photography was that, taking pics of people on streets. I’m glad that I was wrong.

Q. Do you mainly just shoot in black and white? What attracts you to B&W that makes your photos special?

A. When it comes about my street photography I try to mainly use B&W. I believe that the B&W adds an atmosphere to the photo expressing better what I want to show on my photos.

Q. It’s very hard to see the faces on your subjects, making the photos somewhat eerie and yet enigmatic at the same time. Do you do this on purpose? And why do you do it?
A. When I first started into street photography world I was in a period of experiencing every type of street photography in order to try to find which style would be more applicable to me. As a result, I realized that I don’t really like shooting portraits because it doesn’t say much about my style which I consider being more artistic and gloomy. I rather have one subject in my photos than being in the middle of busy places. It makes my brain stop and I completely close myself to think in a good photo to shoot.

Q. Why do you love street photography? What aspect attracts you to it?

A. I love being able to show my style on my photos, I love going in a street session and not knowing what to expect and how exciting street photography is. The aspect that attracts me most is the fact of how each photo tells a history by itself. I truly get in love for each of my photos because of the story that each of them tells to me.

Q. I always ask this: what’s the most interesting story you have from shooting?

A. Luckily (or not) I don’t have many stories to tell. Maybe there a few ones in which isn’t that interesting to other people but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t interesting to me. The story that I will always remember is when I was out in Liverpool shooting and I went down the docks in a Sunday which is a busy day there with loads of people. I was only resting my feet in one of the benches when I saw this couple arguing but at first I was just watching them and seeing how ridiculous the girl was being for flipping over the guy, hitting on him and when he said to her he was leaving she started to cry and ask him sorry, so he sat down and she started everything again… they did that for ages. I was quite scared of shooting this moment but I started to think that if she was doing that in public she probably wouldn’t even see me taking the picture of them… so I did. It was a funny moment and always will remember the scene as if they were in front of me right now. Other funny moment to me is when I recognized someone on the middle of the streets and I try to think where I had seen that person before, then I have a click in my head and I remember that I have a picture of that person.

Q. What subjects do you like to shoot? Or any specific locations? Why?

A. I like open places with good backgrounds and good illumination. Because I love the game that you can do with the lights, the shadows and shooting in an open place helps to call all the attention to the details. As I said before, I don’t like busy places because it is the complete opposite of my style.

Q. What gear do you use?

A. I use a Nikon D7000 with 50mm lens and for my blur/motion photos I use my 18-135mm.

Linda Wisdom- from Clicks

Q. You helped found the group Clicks on facebook; tell us more about why you made it, what it is, and so on!

A. At the first the group was created for a competition that I ran on my fan page. The theme was B&W reflection and loads of people were participating of it. Most of these people were street photographers so when the competition was finished I decided to rename the group to B&W Reflections and most of them kept participating of the group even after the competition closed.

I always see amazing pictures on my feeds and I keep a folder on my computer of pictures that I like or I used to post on a friends’ wall a picture that I knew that they would like so I started to think ‘why not create a community page and share this with more and more people?’. This was the main reason why I created CLICKS’ page and I enjoyed that I had the group already there and decided to change the name of the group as well. Everybody in the group seemed to love the idea and then people started to post more, new people started to participate of the group and it is really motivational to see all these interaction going on over there. I also wanted to make a good group of friends to share experiences, critiques, knowledge, etc.

Q. Any links/pages/portfolio you want to share with us?

A. FB page: https://www.facebook.com/daaholiveiraphoto

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/daaholiveira

Clicks Page: https://www.facebook.com/clickstreet

Q. If you had to pick just one piece of advice to give aspiring photographers/street photographers, what would it be?

A. To go out and shoot street with no rules on mind or fear. Experiencing is the best way to learn.  🙂

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&&Phil, love those pictures? Share this article, comment, like, or tweet it!

Which is your favorite?

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Hey guys, I’m submitting my works to the B+W Photographer of the Year contest, just to see if I can make it =P

Here’s the hard part: I can only choose 3. Which are your favorite 3?

The little girl who could

Boy, Pondering

Lost in the City of Light

The Children of Light 2

XXL

The Coming of Age

Stride

Just Married

Into Forgetfulness

smile

Float Me Away

Bubbles or Kiss

They Live in Another World

A Fragile Bond

Let’s go on an adventure

Still Life with Boy on Wall

Il Bruno, Il Macho

Thanks so much!

&&Phil

As always, please comment below, like, or tweet! The more the merrier!

The Shadow Photographers #7: Ali “Waxy” Waxman

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Hey there street photographers! Today I have a very special treat for you guys: Ali “Waxy” Waxman in the next segment of the street photographers. I have interacted with Ali online and I have been constantly impressed by her work. Based out of Pennsylvania, Ali has an extremely unique style to his shots, experimenting with various flash triggers (for extremely fast exposures) as well as long exposures that lead to interesting results. Look for his exhibition information at the end of the article!!!

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Q. Nice to meet you! A brief introduction?

A. My photography work explores the relationship between a consumerist desire and daytime ESPN.

With influences as diverse as Timmah Sinclair and Halsman to Building Crusher and Peter Yumi, new insights are generated from both simple and complex structures.
Ever since I was a pre-adolescent I have been fascinated by the unrelenting divergence of the mind. What starts out as vision soon becomes finessed into a dialectic of distress, leaving only a sense of dread and the dawn of a new reality.
As subtle forms become undefined through frantic and personal practice, the viewer is left with a new agenda of the undefined of our era.
Q. What got you into photography?
A. I am a second-generation photographer. I acquired my technical expertise at the side of my father (whom I’ve never met), a renowned “glamour” photographer in NYC’s heyday.
I refined my technique and expanded my creativity while shooting sports teams for Hershey Schools, weddings and pushing the limits of my equipment and squeezing out every bit of creativity in them.

Q. You have a very, very unique style of street photography. What’s the story behind it?

A. The shaky face project began at the cross streets of Second St and Walnut Sts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A somewhat juxtaposition of life. On one side, there sits a Hilton Hotel where Jaguars and Mercedes are being valet parked. On the other side of the street is home to the bus station. Where people beg for money and the homeless are fed by the food not bombs kids. Kids that are seriously struggling themselves, but giving everything they have for those less fortunate.

I enjoy shooting both sides of the street. And because my daughter was cast in a play not far from this cross street at Open Stage of Harrisburg, I had to be there twice a week for her rehearsals.
Let me tell you, getting complete strangers to allow me to photograph them is challenging enough…having COMPLETE STRANGERS shake their face like a dog shakes off water has got to be the hardest thing to do. EVER!
Because, this is not an isolated environment. I approach people at the bus station…where there are loads of people… Or getting out of their BMW’s….where the valets are waiting for their keys…
AND…I get a lot of people who tell me to piss off…OR…a lot of get that camera out of my face reactions…but I also get the coolest people ever to comply.
It’s getting them out of their comfort zone. Letting them go nuts of a few minutes…and I am so thankful I am there to capture the zaniness!
Q.Why the strange expressions?
A. I encourage the people I shoot to let loose for a few minutes…to relax all the muscles in the face and then shake it crazily from side to side.
Q. What is your most interesting story from shooting strangers on the street!
A. One time, I took my daughter with me to an area near a train station. I wanted to get some shots of people waiting for the train. So, I set up near the platform and began randomly shooting…
Quite soon after I began, I was approached by what looked like someone who worked on the trains. He was dressed in a florescent jumpsuit and was wearing a hardhat. He asked what I was doing. I told him I was taking pictures…
He then asked for my passport. (not sure why he asked for that rather than some form of ID)…and that made me crack up laughing. He was really mad that I laughed at his request and got loud with me…
He insisted I give him some ID…
My daughter looked really scared and intimidated by him. I responded by asking him for ID…I told him loudly, “I don’t know who you are too…If you show me identification, I will do the same.”
He was so shocked by this, he walked away.
Moments later, he returned with his ID in his hand. I then showed him my drivers license and told him, I mean no harm…just want to take pictures…
He was much more calm and asked me how long I was going to do this…I knew it was not a good scene, so I said I was wrapping it up and would leave in a few minutes.
He said that was okay and let us stay.
I used this as a tool to teach my daughter that just because someone tries to intimidate you into something, they are not always what they appear to be. You should always ask for their ID as well.
Q. Describe your workflow real briefly. From shot to website, what’s your process?
A. After importing into Lightroom, I usually do all my major changes and corrections there. Then it’s onto Photoshop for finishing touches. I also heavily use the nik collection as well. Fantastic plug ins for PS!
Q. What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A. Currently, I am digging shooting sports in a creative way. But, I also love portraits, street photography and photographing my family!

Q.Your use of long exposures are very interesting. How exactly do you use them?
A. This technique was taught to me by an extremely talented photographer names Os Ososment. I simply created my own niche. When shooting my entended exposures, I like the use of props, and try to get an image of the subject acting way out of their usual personality.
These are difficult to shoot and take a lot of time to get it just right.
Q. Your weapon of choice? (camera, lighting, etc.)
A. I shoot Canon. My lenses include a 30mm 1.4, 60mm 2.8, 70-200 2.8 and 10-22mm. As far as lighting, I use a novatron light kit and my flashed are 430exii and 580exii. I also use triggers and remotes…
Q. If you could give just one piece of advice to budding street photographers, what would it be?
A. Develop a thick skin. And learn how to defend yourself. People are crazy on the street!
Ali has an EXHIBITION COMING UP! Make sure to check out his work directly if you’re in Pennsylvania! You go and mention my name now, so I can get brownie points.
EDIT: I, for unfathomable reasons, referred to Ali as “she”. That has been fixed, sorry! *shameface*
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&&Phil
Message, Like, or Tweet!

The Old

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Look at this:

What is it you ask? My family found this worn out letter/note in the chest of things my grandfather (paternal) left before he passed away, along with the Leica M3 he left. That there’s written in his handwriting: a perfect cursive. The photo behind it was left with it, a photo of my grandmother in her youthful years. My grandfather was laden with history, layer after layer: living under the Japanese occupation during his childhood, fleeing to the US after the IMF crisis in South Korea, and living out his days in a quiet house in the States. I don’t know what you see from this photo, but sure wish I could have spoken more about it with him before he left for a (hopefully) better world.

What do you see in this photo?

&&Phil: Like, Tweet, and comment.

New York Municipal Archives: Released Street Photography!

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Hey guys, so I’ve been slacking. But in a good way. Really, I promise.

I’ve been finishing a final model shoot and have sold off my canon rebel and lenses to finally acquire the funds for an Olympus OM-D.  Stay tuned for when that ships.

But in the meanwhile, check out this Municipal Archives collection.

As for what it is, an excerpt on the page should do!

Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet.

The city’s Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database.

Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight — from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings.

There are some amazing photographs on here, street photography and other kinds mixed in for good measure. Check it out!

The Shadow Photographers #3: Oracio

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Today I’m pleased to introduce to you Oracio Alvarado. A street photographer-based out of LA, Oracio has been both a fellow photo-talk buddy and street photography enthusiast. I first met Oracio through a Google hangout and through the exchange of facebook information, we were both acquainted.  Since then he has provided a lot of advice and has reviewed a lot of the content I’ve posted up here. Oracio doesn’t heavily edit or process his photos, but leaves much of the work to the camera. Rather, he focuses on interesting subjects and depends on them to make (or break) the photo. Without further ado, I introduce Oracio Alvarado.

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Q. What got you into photography?

Ever since I was young I have always been interested in painting, drawing, sculpting, but photography always seemed to call to me more. When I was around six years old I got my hands on my first camera, a Kodak Hawkeye Instamatic Camera, that was the point I realized I really enjoyed getting out of the house and just shooting photographs.

Film photography, at the time, gave me a sense of surprise since you wouldn’t be able to see the results of what you photographed for sometimes weeks at a time. Not having a quick view at the photograph I took helped me to develop an eye for composition and a “feel” about when to take the shot. Learning to shoot on film has definitely helped me out in the long run. I am by no means an expert and still have a lot to learn.

Q. How would you classify your style?

My style of street photography would be considered, “Classic.” I’m not an in your face type of photographer. I tend to stand back and look at a situation or scene. My goal is to capture a moment in time that speaks to me. The main factor about being a classic street photographer is about being able to take a scene and use composition to make the shot amazing.

Q. What’s your philosophy of street photography?

I’m not sure if I really have a philosophy regarding street photography, but I have a quote I created to explain what I do.

“I move like a ghost, in and out of peoples lives, capturing fleeting moments with my camera.”

Q. As an avid user of the Fuji X100 and the iPhone, what do you feel are different advantages and disadvantages of each platform?

As photographer Chase Jarvis says, “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

That being said, the Fuji X100 is a decent camera for street photography, but one the disadvantages that camera is the auto focus speed is terrible. While zone focusing is an option, I prefer to let the camera focus for me so I don’t have to think about it. Since the X100 is so slow at focusing, there have been many lost shots. Auto focus aside, the camera takes excellent photos. It’s also nice to carry around and shoot people with since it’s such a retro and small camera, it doesn’t scare people when you point it at them. The X100 is also great in low light situations. You can crank up the ISO and you will get nice shots with hardly any noise.

As far as the iPhone camera goes, it’s just great having a device with you all the time that can take some amazing photographs. The pros about using an iPhone is that you can use countless mobile photography applications to help you take a good shot, process it and share it on the fly. One has to remember that the iPhone is still a phone and the camera is not great in low light situations, nor capturing scenes with a lot of movement; pictures tend to come out blurry.

Q. What was the most interesting project/photo shoot you’ve had?

There really haven’t been any interesting projects or photo shoots that I’ve had yet. I’m ready and willing to take on something that will leave a lasting impression.

Q. Any interesting episodes from street shooting? (doesn’t have to be photography related)

One of the most interesting things to come out of shooting street photography is meeting so many new people; from other photographers to random people on the street. There is definitely a nice community of street photographers all around the globe. Having the ability to talk to them, compare our work, and most importantly getting feedback from them has been incredible.

Q. I saw your occupy LA shots. What was it like shooting in that atmosphere? Do you feel like your photos do it justice?

Shooting at Occupy LA was definitely a great experience. It’s one thing to listen to the media portray the Occupy movement, but it’s a whole different thing to actually go to the protest site and see what’s really going on. Occupy LA was a very peaceful event compared to other cities around the US. There were different classes about politics, money, agriculture, etc. going on around the protest site. It was great to see that people weren’t just there to waste time, but to make a change.

When I first arrived at Occupy LA I thought that people would be bothered by someone taking their photo, but that wasn’t the case. The photos I took at Occupy LA were just a way to document what was going on inside the protest site. I think as far as that goes the photos did it justice, but I’m sure there could have been more that could have been photographed.

Q. You shoot mostly in black and white for your street photography (X100), is there a reason for that?

I actually shoot all  my photos with the FujiFilm X100 in color and during the post-process I decide if I am going to keep the photograph in color or convert it to black and white. I will usually leave a photoraph in color if there’s some story that is being told by the color in the photo.

As far as the reason why I convert my photographs into black and while it’s all about feel. I love the look and feel of black and white images. They tend to have a more classic/vintage look to them. There are also amazing black and grey tones that can be brought out in a photograph that help it tell a better story.

Q. What gear do you use?

I’m currently using the FujiFilm X100, Nikon D7000 and my trusty iPhone. For street photography I stick to the FujiFilm X100 because it’s less intimidating to the people I photography than the larger Nikon D7000.

Q. What advice would you give budding photographers?

Take your camera with you everywhere you go.  Shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot.  Lean how to use your camera (read that manual). Also, learn to compose your shots and eventually you will do it without even thinking. Once you get that down, you can focus on learning everything else.

You can find all my social media links at http://about.me/oracio.

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As usual, Comment, Like, and Follow for the latest updates!

&&Phil