Photokina 2012 Aftermath- What does this mean for Street Photographers? My thoughts.

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So the dust left in the wake of the tornado that is Photokina 2012 is still settling down. DPreview is even calling it “arguably one of the most exciting show for years.” But what does that mean for us street photographers?

Full Frame is Here to Stay. And more are coming.

The above pictures Leica M, along with the Leica M-E are just two examples of dedication to the full frame. Others include the Sony RX1 and the a99, since DSLRs are still relevant. Companies have fought out the Megapixel wars long enough, and consumers are now smart enough to realize that cramming a sh*tload of Megapixels doesn’t mean anything anymore (ahem, I’m talking to you Nokia).

See this video by the Verge:

As the Leica representative mentioned, bigger sensors mean shallower depths of field. This means that you won’t have to resort to a f/1.4~1.8 lens in order to achieve that shallow depth. More importantly, at our common apertures (f/8~11), depth of field will be more noticeable and combined with new technologies, we will be able to get ever so closer to the 35mm film’s dynamic range (millions of shades of grey, and hundreds of thousands of more colors).

The Sony RX1 in its miniaturized, Full-Frame glory. Would you drop $2799 for it?

Companies are Fighting to Be More Accessible than Ever to Us. More options than ever.

The prototype of the planned Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens.

More and more, street photography is being recognized as a niche. That’s both good and bad. Bad because it’s becoming more and more a colloquial and common term, leaving more room for misinterpretation of the category (I’ve seen some very poorly so-called “street photography” groups with nothing but landscape photos). But the good is that companies are catering more and more to the segment of street photographers. Take the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens that’s in production: it’s a clear understanding that photojournalists and street photographers clamor for the 35mm equivalent.

Fuji introduced the X-E1 and released firmware to speed up the X-Pro 1:

Fujifilm as a company is setting a great example by listening to the feedback of their customers. Granted, their company is still recovering from a decade of obsolescence, as their execution still is a bit shabby (release a half-complete product, then fix: as evidenced by the X100, X10, and X-S1), but they make it right. They understood the speed of the X-Pro 1 was not suited for street photography, but fixed it to be suitable enough for street photography. That is the power of the consumer and photographer, we who choose the tools in this competitive brand landscape.

The OM-D E-M5, my current primary camera, also is a model of response. Having heard the call for a better sensor, faster AF, and a retro styled camera. In fact, it’s become one of the best cameras on the market for street photography because of this smart, targeted response to photographers.

Those who ignore our demands are quickly becoming obsolete.

I won’t say much. Hasselblad tried to defend its Lunar system,  a repackaged NEX system for the price of a cool $5k.

Those who try to market their way to photographers who demand a specific set of features won’t work anymore.

The same goes for companies who decide not to innovate, or create new things as excuses to claim they’re innovating. Samsung, in the Verge video above on larger sensors, argue that they want to optimize for their smaller sensors. On one hand it’s great that they’re to perfect what they do, but that’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. Being stuck with smaller sensors, they will never appeal beyond the amateur photographer. If that’s their target segment, that makes business sense. But innovation is all about breaking the barrier and trying something that doesn’t seem to be possible technologically.

Even Pentax, who is struggling to understand consumer needs with their infamously (and somewhat uselessly) tiny Q system, is trying hard to re-position their products by the needs of the consumer. This is what we need to see in the photo industry.

In the words of Louis C.K, “Everything’s Amazing and No One is Happy.” For us street photographers who demand depth in our photos, quick function and focus in our cameras, it’s an exciting time for us in this world.

&& Phil

Talk to me and follow me on Twitter @philhanphoto. (<-hey isn’t that a new username?!)

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And as always, comments below. Disagree? Agree with my thoughts? Let me know!

P.S. I’ve also joined a photo collective, revisedMEDIA. Check it out! Inspiring photos abound!

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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?

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.

5 Tips for Street Photography for Beginners from Kai of DigitalRev

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5 Tips for Street Photography for Beginners from Kai of DigitalRev

I was rummaging through old Digitalrev Learn posts (which, you should totally check out by the way), and found this handy link about street photography for beginners. Aside from his nothing-less-than-sarcastic, crude, British humor, the advice is somewhat humbling and realistic. Take a look.