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What’s your style of Street Photography?

Some of my favourite photographers are street photographers. I’m thinking of Saul Leiter and Alex Webb. There’s something about the look of their photos that appeals to me. I now know what that is.

Leiter and Webb share four common themes; shape, colour, tight framing and abstraction. Let’s take one photo from each of them to illustrate those ideas.

Taxi, New York, 1957 © Saul Leiter

A perfect example of Leiter’s work in colour. He makes use of bright colours – primary in this case. His tight composition captures and creates frames within the frame. The use of a mid telephoto lens (about 150mm) compresses the scene, which combined with a wide aperture draws the eye to the hand, framed in the taxi window.

Mexico, 1996 © Alex Webb

I do own a copy of The Suffering of Light by Alex Webb. This photo is one of many stars in that collection. All of them demonstrate Webb’s delight in using frames within the frame, compressed depth, with layers of shape and colour. This photo also echoes Taxi, New York, with its subtle use of hands and the colour red.

These two artists have shaped the kind of street photos I look for. Most recently I have purchased a 90mm (135mm equivalent on my Fuji X-T4) to develop my eye for a scene with depth, where I can use both wide and narrow apertures to explore creative potential.

Earlier this week I took the new lens out for a spin in the Rhonnda valley town, Porth. I have much to learn, but I see the potential. I am most used to using a 35mm lens (50mm equivalent) and the 90mm’s view of the world is quite different. I do like it though.

Here are three of my favourites from my recent photo shoot around Porth and three others from another Welsh Town – Bridgend. The latter were created two years ago using my 35mm lens, but exhibit a similar style. I’m sure there will be more to come from other towns, any day now!

Porth 1, 2021
Porth 2, 2021
Porth 3, 2021
Bridgend 1, 2019
Bridgend 2, 2019
Bridgend 3, 2019

London Street Photography

Over the last couple of months I have made two visits to London. Each time the coach has arrived in enough time to deposit my bag at my accommodation, before heading into the city to explore a little dusk time street photography.

Unfortunately, my photos from the first trip were not backed up before my hard disk drive collapsed under the strain. Most of my edited photos from 2015 are currently missing. Many I have in their original raw state (nearly 2000!) but the November London photos have vanished. I know – always back up your work.

The photos here are my favourites from a couple of hours around Piccadilly Circus, the photo above being my absolute favourite. I had noticed that the intermittent rain had brought out the umbrellas and was considering using the big advertising lights at Piccadilly Circus as a backdrop when I saw the potential for a silhouette. I only had to wait in position for less than 10 minutes before the couple came past, sheltering together under their umbrella. Result.

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Eric Kim on Street Photography

Eric Kim is a passionate street photographer and prolific blogger based in Berkeley, California. I found his blog when looking for photographers who combined photography with a philosophic approach to life. It was probably through some random google search combining photography and zen, and Eric tumbled out.

Eric’s blog is a well of wisdom for the street photographer and is underpinned by his belief in open source photography, which basically means that he believes in sharing, for free, all of his knowledge and resources. His mission is ‘to spread and promote the love of street photography’. And boy does he do that!

In addition to his regular posts he offers a number of free e books, covering topics including: an introduction to street photography, street portraits, overcoming fear of street photography, a social media overview and my particular favourite, Zen in the Art of Street Photography. Eric describes this as “a compilation of all of my favorite articles on Zen, Taoism, Buddhism, gratitude, and other random philosophical musings.” It is an intriguing and thought provoking read.

However, the best starting point is this page which shares: the e book links, a free online introductory course, videos, popular and must read articles, posts on master street photographers, composition, philosophy, equipment, marketing, business, travelling, recommended books, other blogs, collectives, movies, laws, Flickr groups and the Streettogs Academy. That is some list huh?

The last item, Streettogs, is a Facebook group for doing, sharing and commenting on street photography assignments. It also has separate pages for discussion, critique and equipment.

I have always been drawn to the challenges and life of street photography. It is not something I have done enough of and would certainly be something I could develop as a mindful project. Thanks to Eric and his marvelous blog, I will have any question that I might have answered.

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