This is my second in an ongoing series I started this year examining street photography’s motifs—that is, like any genre, the repeated concepts, elements, subjects, themes, etc. that are present throughout the canon and used similarly by many different photographers. Simply put, there are “types” of shots that have been established and have spread, with my goal here being toward their identification and disscussion.
The real journey of discovery in street photography consists not in seeking new streets but in having new eyes.Youngjae Lim
From “13 Motivational Tips from the NYC Street Photography Collective,” an article by Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer.
The reason I picked this one from the rest is that I think the temptation, especially for beginning shooters, is to think the key to better photos is a new something else, whether that’s a new location, or perhaps more commonly, new gear. Nope!
I started the year by highlighting “7 Instagram Street Photographers To Follow In 2017,” a collection of my favorite shooters I had discovered the year prior. And by “discovered,” I strictly meant found for myself: the first shooter on the list, Aaron Berger, currently has over 37 thousand followers, and the list average is nearly 20 thousand. Perhaps not everyday names, but certainly not unearthed by me from some neglected corner of the internet.
Moving forward, though, I want to continue spotlighting street photographers I come across on the app, with an emphasis on shooters sharing great work with relatively smaller followings. Here’s such a photographer: Alex Ledford. Around March of this year, it seems he shifted his account from personal sharing to a street photography focus.
Most obviously, Instagram, from a photographer’s perspective, is for sharing and showcasing one’s photos. It’s quickly become the predominant photography platform, at this point probably the main means by which photographers, all genres and levels, market themselves and their work. We’ve seen a new crop of street photographers who have mostly come to notoriety via the app.
The flip side of that coin is that it’s become the best place to find and follow visual artists—not just photographers, but illustrators, painters and drawers, even comic stip makers. Instagram has become my de facto daily visual diet and inspo board, especially now that you can save and organize selected posts into collections.
You’ve got to dig through 30,000 nasty shirts from dead guys before you find the one that makes it worth it.Daniel Arnold
From “A Photographer For Our Time,” an article by J Tyler Friedman about Daniel Arnold’s first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, “Daniel Arnold: A Paparazzo for Strangers,” now running through September 17th.
Photo from Daniel Arnold’s Instagram, all rights reserved by the photographer.
99% of the time when shooting on the street, I hit the shutter unannounced, completely candid. When I fist started, not asking was this moral operative that somehow purified my practice, as if the Street Photography God was watching and doling out brownie points. Kind of weird, I know, but I was new to the genre and wanted to adhere to its rules as I perceived them — “I insist you take me seriously!”
I’ve loosened up a little since, hallelujah, now occasionally first asking a subject to make a portrait. I’d classify it as “Street Portraiture,” something I consider wholly separate from Street Photography, but certainly related and adjacent (and certainly worth exploring as a self-identified “street photographer”).
Street Photography International (SPi) is a collective of photographers “who promote the best street photography from around the world.” Their Instagram account—their main platform for promotion—just passed 250K followers. That’s a lot! Especially so for one so narrowly focused on the genre. And for good reason, as they curate and showcase top quality street photos from around the world.
I didn’t start dabbling in photography, via my marketing job, until 2010—well past the technological shift from film to digital that occurred in the early to mid aughts. A half a decade later, the summer of 2015 was when I began focusing on street photography. So, needless to say, I’m a “born digital” shooter who’s only known capturing 1s and 0s to CF and SD memory cards.
If you’re a digital-only shooter too, then maybe like me, you’ve heard a steadily growing chorus of fellow street photographers touting film (that supposedly antiquated medium from the dust bin of photographic history) for its “purity,” its “look,” its “process,” etc. Of course, all I could think about was the expense, the waiting, and the learning curve. Plus, don’t we have VSCO filters that create that filmic look? Pssh.
Well, I finally caved in. And I was wrong. (Not completely, but we’ll get to that later.)
Last night, with a very summery 80-plus degree temperature here in Chicago, I headed to the Gold Coast neighborhood for a street excursion. It felt good to head out with just shorts and a short sleeve shirt! (Geez, you don’t want to see how pasty I am.)
I recorded some of the action; here’s my second POV-style video—accompanying commentary below.
New Camera(s), Same Six Megapixels
My original L11 (my mom’s old one I randomly found) quickly died from battery leakage. RIP, Lucy, you’ll always be my first love.
So, I ordered another from eBay. It arrived and barely worked, only briefly and in fits. You were kinda of a b****, Lana, so I’m moving on.