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?
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.
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
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. 🙂
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
Lost in the City of Light
The Children of Light 2
The Coming of Age
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!
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.
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.
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.
In these series I hope to introduce some of the most compelling street (and non-street) photographers who have inspired me to start or keep shooting. The double entendre is that Street photographers tend to experiment with and work with available light (which tend to be shadows), and also tend to stay hidden out of “popular” photographers (dominated by studio photographers, landscape photographers, etc). I hope that you will enjoy discovering these hidden talents as much as I do. Remember, there is always a street photographer near you, somewhere…
Today I am pleased to introduce to you SH Roh from South Korea. A designer and full-time photographer, SH Roh works in Korea as a full-time designer and photographer-for-hire. I am constantly inspired by his photography of special events and settings– for he has a unique eye for subjects and unusual lighting, especially in concerts, musicals, and other events for which he is hired. He has mastered both extremely dark, grave photos but portray equally well bright subjects. I always see his Nike+ running feeds (Today I ran X miles…) and am convinced he is secretly preparing for a triathlon.
SH Roh has held numerous exhibits in the last few years, each with a special theme and unique purpose. He has recently experimented with overlaying text on top of photos– an unusual inclusion in the post-processing world. Whether he is on a new project with his Nikon D3, shooting in the streets with his Fuji X100, or sharing a picture of his latest meal, this photographer is certainly one to follow. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this humble photographer, and hope you will enjoy his works as much as I do.
Q. Can you tell me more about yourself?
A. Hello. I am Roh Sh, a photographer. I majored not in photography, but in Korean language and literature. I am currently working full-time as both a designer and a photographer. I especially like capturing photos of musicians, and am also involved in design in the same area.
Q. When did you start taking photos?
A. I began when I was very young. I happened to chance upon a film camera, and I’ve taken pictures ever since.
Q. Can you tell me what your shooting style is like?
A. It’s a bit difficulty to narrow down my shooting style to just one style. However, when I am working, I hope that people can hear the music in my photos. Rather than a still picture, I like motion in my photos– that’s probably how I describe my own style.
Q. What equipment/gear do you use (camera, lens, flash, tripod, etc.)?
A. Normally these days, I tend to bring along my Fujifilm X100, and for special events (photographing musicians or need a special lens for the setting I will be shooting in) I use my Nikon D3. Lenses change depending on the situation.
Q. Your photos tend to be very dark (both in exposure and subject). Is there a special reason for this?
A. I don’t try to capture a specific emotion of any sort, but I used to try and incorporate sad memories– parting with a person whom I admire, or parting ways with a loved one– so I unintentionally end up incorporating these feelings into my photos and essays.
Q. Do you feel there is a big difference when you take pictures for a job, versus for enjoyment (i.e. street photography)? What specifically makes it different for you?
A. I think even within a “job” photo, there needs to be further categorization. For a client-based photography job (ad photo or commercial photo, including performances), the client usually wants to blend my characteristic style of color and traits into their subject. Other than that, I don’t realize a specific difference between my jobs versus my so-called photography for enjoyment. The reason for this is, photography is about the study of the subject and its reinterpretation. And if you put those together, that’s an exhibition. That’s why I try to find subjects in my “leisure” photos (snapshots) and reinterpret them, so if we have to find a difference between them I guess it’s a difference in the depth of the photos.
Q. You take a lot of photos of musicians, how is it different from just normal snapshots? What inspires you to take their photos?
A. To take a musician’s photo, you need to draw out their unique characteristics. Especially during concerts, there are moments that will repeat themselves so I can never let my guard down and get absorbed into the shoot. It seems obvious, but I tend to listen to the artist’s works tens, if not hundreds of times before I go into a photo shoot. I want to find the right timing in the beat of the music and find myself the shot I need, and usually is the key to getting results I can be proud of. I love music, and I coincidentally was hired to take photos of the Jarasum International Jazz Festival– and that’s where I started. Rather than trying to subtly portray the music I try to get energetic and vibrant shots, and through that I’ve discovered more musicians both directly and indirectly, which has allowed me to expand my career further into the musician’s realm.
Q. I know you recently held an exhibition. What was it about?
A. For my first exhibition in 2012, I held an exhibition called “Great Expectations” for a month in the Modern Art Museum (inside of Hongik University). One of the reasons I prepared this exhibition was that although I’d used many subjects and had held many exhibitions, I’d never used the Pansori (Korean musical performance) as a subject. I wanted to add the fleeting aspect of photography with the theme of continuity, and went to visit the Pansori performers themselves. Then I received the lyrics for the performance and engraved the lyrics on with gilt (gold leaves). Many visited, and I received feedback saying that it was a very meaningful exhibition. I was fortunate enough to be called back by the Jeonju World Sound Festival for an extended exhibition.
Q. What’s your advice for newly aspiring photographers?
A. Many ask “how do you take good pictures”– I get that question a lot too. That’s when I suggest– take many photos! This doesn’t mean take more for the sake of taking more and increasing your shutter count, but rather cherish each picture you take along with the experience and unique subjects brought by it. In addition there are a lot of “Photoshop retouching” books that are released by the waves these days, but I suggest instead find a photographer you like and buy their photo book– and imitate them. I think that will be a better way to study and improve your photography.
As always, Like me on Facebook (near the top of the article too!) or follow me on Twitter for the latest updates! A comment is also much appreciated, sir or madam. A coffee for thee (or cookie, if thou prefers) shall be in order when we meet.
*Note: This is aimed squarely at non-professional level of photographers. If you own as much as as Canon Speedlite or a strobe, this will bore you. You have been warned.
SO YOU WANT TO BUY A NEW CAMERA.
Unfortunately, you’ve had the dismaying response of “There is no perfect anything” thrown at you one too many times. Fortunately for you, there is a camera that is “right” for you! Let me help narrow it down– yes, you’ll eventually have to put the nail on the coffin yourself, but I’m not your mother or for that matter your unhygienic Best Buy employee trying to market a camera down your throat. Trust me, this is easier than it looks.
But stop and think about this question: what made you determined to buy that big new DSLR? Your point and shoot produces photos like an annoying facebook girl’s latest obsession? You need to take prettier photos of your girlfriend? You’re determined to shoot fascinating landscapes that will make every lady swoon? Fear not, we’ll find the right one for you.
THINGS TO FRET OVER, BITE YOUR NAILS, SQUIRM NERVOUSLY ABOUT, etc. :
Weight- This is big. Do you mind that your shoulder aches after about 2 hours of shooting? Or is hurling around Big Bertha your thing? Read on.
Size- Another physical trait– do you care whether it fits into your backpack? Your luggage? Your handbag? Your man-purse? Your jean pocket?
Image Quality- Look at the two pictures on the top. Can you tell the difference in quality between the right and left? If not, good news– you won’t have to shell out another $1000 to satisfy your ravenous appetite for megapixels. If you do, then, well let’s just say you’re burning a bigger hole in your pocket.
Lens– Yes, you have to buy a separate lens. No, they are not cheap (depends on your budget). But it’s these lenses, NOT the cameras themselves that determine the quality of your picture! I can’t emphasize this enough. So I’ll stop here.
THINGS YOU MUSN’T WORRY YOURSELF WITH:
Megapixels– No, really. Trust me, this means nothing past 10 megapixels, unless you have a fashion shoot with Vera Wang next week. (Which, if you do, count me in)
Touch Screen/Swivel Screen- If anything, this sucks up your batteries. The larger the screen is not necessarily the better for two reasons: a) you waste time ogling over your picture (called “chimping”) or b) your are unhealthily addicted to the latest technologies– neither of which really assist your photographic skills. So no, I don’t care if it’s made of OLED, I really don’t.
Megapixels on your Touch Screen- Don’t start, now.
Color– Unless you tend to discriminate severely between black and grey.
Now that we’ve made some things clear, let’s start figuring out who you are.
But consider this first:
1. the iPhone
Statistically speaking if you’re reading this, you have a 40% likelihood that you already own this little guy– and this has more computing power than the entire NASA supercomputer campus combined from 1969.
Combined with a reasonable camera (8 megapixels! for iPhone 4S), apps that you can get for free (Instagram, Camera+ for $0.99) get your phenomenal results that you can take, all the better for staying quiet and unnoticed on the streets. With a little bit more (Snapseed, for example) you can make fantastic results.
There are some serious photographers out there now making movies and taking pictures quite seriously, for instance at iPhoneography (www.iphoneography.com).
But let’s say that still doesn’t satisfy you, let’s consider the first “real” option:
2. the DSLR
The DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera market has matured to a point that these things are dirt cheap. Why? Because they’re heavy! No one wants to lug these around when there are smaller alternatives that are “good enough”! But don’t be fooled, the image quality of these DSLRs are noticeably better than those of the new trend of cameras, which we’ll get to later.
Moreover these things are big– as in if you’re paranoid enough to not allow your DSLR to hang on your café chair, and instead place them on the table, they’re going to be an unwelcome guest. Yes, they won’t fit in your pocket.
But the image quality is fantastic. The above image shows “bokeh,” an important concept that basically boils down to “the main subject being in focus and the background being out of focus.” This is called having a shallow depth of field. Is this what you want? Then you’re going to want a DSLR.
*Note: I’ve only used Canon so I can’t give an accurate picture for Nikon, Sony, or Pentax. You can ask your fellow Nikon/Sony/Pentax geek about that– but at the beginner level, DSLRs don’t vary that much (in fact, if it does a lot, that’s a sign it’s trying to sell you bells and whistles you probably don’t need)
“I’m an absolute cheapie, not sure if I’m interested in photography”
“I’m serious and want serious results.”
OR Nikon alterative:
*Yes the T3i is the newest, but it’s actually worse in terms of image quality. Newer isn’t always better!
“I’ve been interested for a while and care to invest more. Like, playboy more.”
With that, let’s move on to:
3. Micro Four-Thirds (aka m4/3, MFT)
This is the newest group of cameras. Marketed as half the weight and size of DSLRs while maintaining DSLR-level image quality. That’s only partially true, look at this:
As you can see the “APS-C” labeled sensors are used by DSLRs, which gather the light to form your picture. The “Four Thirds” systems is anywhere between 40~60% smaller in surface area, so it gathers that much less light. So in reality you’re getting a slightly better deal in terms of weight, but you’re sacrificing a bit of image quality (grainier, blurrier)– still much better than a point-and-shoot you carry though (the smallest 1/2.5” sensor). But it’s much larger than your regular point and shoot:
Left: Your average point and shoot sensor; Right: Spanking new Micro Four-Thirds.
Are you willing to make that sacrifice? If earlier you couldn’t tell the difference in quality between the two pictures, you’re in luck– there are some fascinating cameras being made out there.
One important thing to know: ALL micro four-thirds cameras have the same mount. This means that regardless of whether the lens is made by Panasonic, Olympus, or Leica, the lenses work on any M43 body! Neat!
Either the Olympus E-PL1 at $270 or the Panasonic Lumix GF3 at $500, with the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 at $450-ish = $700~950!!! Yes M43, while compact and “good enough” in image quality, it’s still expensive!
Olympus OM-D/E-M5 at $1000, with the Leica 25mm lens above = $1650.
4. Boutique/Other Mirrorless
Simply put, can’t be thrown into a category on its own. These are all expensive, but if you’re serious about street photography the money is worth dropping into the bucket.
Leica M9. Enough said.
There is always this option =) I will talk about this in a different article!
-Don’t look at just one website– Amazon isn’t always the cheapest. I recommend B&H Photo, and try comparing against each other on Google Shopping.
–Don’t, under any circumstances, use a zoom lens. It will bring you blurrier photos and force you to re-consider your purchase. Instead, I recommend the lens pairings above, or at least anything fixed-focal length (28mm, 35mm, 50mm). Zoom lenses also make you fall into a bad habit of relying on the lens to “get closer,” when in reality you should be framing the scene by walking to and away from your subject. This means avoiding any “bundle” or “kit” lenses companies try to sell you. Trust me, avoiding this bad habit will save you between 300 to 600 dollars of pure agony.
Any cameras I missed? Disagree with my choices? I could be wrong, you know. Enter your comments below to let me know!
Edit: I recommend against the Nikon V1/J1 series & Samsung cameras. Although marketed as Micro-Four-Thirds, their lenses are absolutely horrible.
Edit 2: I bought and used the Fuji X100 for a year, and after its horribly slow autofocus and unusable manual focus, I traded it away for a film camera.