Interview with Street Photographer Patrick Joust

Patrick Joust is a Baltimore-based self-taught street photographer. His work documents the people and places of Baltimore but at the same time it creates what the photographer describes as a magical realist world of his own.

I feel like I struggle a bit internally with the desire to document and the desire to create, through a sequence of images, my own world that’s dominated by my imagination.

What makes Patrick Joust’s photography unique is his passion for shooting with old mechanical film cameras. The camera, however, be it mechanical or digital, is a medium of exploring the world around him.

portrait of Patrick Joust street photographer

Patrick Joust, 2015 © Christopher Hall

I do feel that film is almost like treasure. A lot of people who use it feel that way. It’s a luxury in more ways than one.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed another talented artist. Patrick’s work, both documentary and subjective, has won be over. Needless to say, Patrick Joust is one of the inspirational street photographers out there you should follow today.

G.M. Could you please tell us about your first encounter with photography? What made you start as a photographer?

P.J. Moving to Baltimore is what inspired me to take up a camera. I came here as a volunteer (AmeriCorps) for a small nonprofit. It involved going to many different parts of the city. I found myself wanting to take pictures of much of what I saw. It took many years for me to really figure out how I wanted to express myself with a camera, but it all started in Baltimore.

photo by Patrick Joust

Still © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. Most of your street photographs are captured with film cameras. Is there a story behind shooting on film? What is it that makes it better for you?

Well, I started with film, so that’s part of it. I was born in 1978. Digital didn’t enter into the mainstream until I was well into adulthood. When I bought my first digital SLR, in 2005, I did go through a time when I thought I might not shoot film again. It seemed logical to conclude that this was the next step in the technology and that film was obsolete. The fact that you could shoot digital and not have the expense of buying and processing film was pretty attractive too. Frankly, at that time, I thought of film as just a medium to record images on. Even though I had been shooting for a couple years, my appreciation of photography was limited.

photo by Patrick Joust

Still © Patrick Joust Photography

It wasn’t until I started shooting medium format film in 2008 that I began to get a broader sense of the variety and depth film offered. I just loved the results I was getting. Shooting medium format actually made me appreciate 35mm, instant film, and other formats. I appreciated both what I had been missing but also what had been right under my nose all along. One of my favorite photographers, Toshihiro Oshima, said

“I don’t think film will be completely dead but it could possibly become one of the most luxurious things in the years to come.”

I do feel that film is almost like treasure. A lot of people who use it feel that way. It’s a luxury in more ways than one.

All that being said, I’m not an either/or kind of person. I can’t give up film, but I enjoy shooting digital. The economics and convenience of digital are hard to ignore. I’m passionate about film photography, but I think it’s wrong-headed and unnecessary to put down digital. You don’t have to spend all that much to take decent digital pictures. I’d say the economics of digital have helped my film photography since I’ve been able to expose thousands of digital frames without the frustration of spending a lot on film. That was especially useful in leaner years when I was an AmeriCorps volunteer or a student working part time.

This is art, after all, it’s not about the latest technology. The materials we use should be about how we want to express our personal vision, that’s all.

There are a lot of different factors that contribute to my continued interest in film. It’s not nostalgia or about slowing down the process. It’s just the aesthetics. I love the way it looks. I’ve long felt that digital is just another format for photography. It’s great and powerful, but it doesn’t replace film.

photo by Patrick Joust

Dundalk © Patrick Joust Photography

I just watched the documentary Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film. One of the most basic points being made by the advocates of instant photography is that its qualities can’t be replicated digitally, which is true.

It’s amazing how obviously fake digital polaroids are.

I’m sure it’s possible for someone to be so good at editing their digital photos that they can trick someone into thinking it’s the real deal, but it doesn’t seem easy and of course, there’s no replicating the physical product you get from shooting instant film. That’s not to disparage digital; they’re just different. Both have value.

This is art, after all, it’s not about the latest technology. The materials we use should be about how we want to express our personal vision; that’s all.

G.M. What photographic project is held dearest to your heart and why?

I’m not really all that project oriented though I do enjoy organizing my work into sets and collections and thinking about the different connections between my images. I guess the closest thing I have to a project is my ongoing chronicle of the people and places of Baltimore. The longer I’ve lived here, the more connected I feel to the city and the more opportunities I see.

photo by Patrick Joust (Baltimore Folk)

© Patrick Joust Photography

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but since the Baltimore Uprising, I’ve been trying to figure out how to create a book on much of my Baltimore work. It’s hard to narrow things down, but probably my 6×6 portraits. Time is the challenge, but I’d love to have something together by next year. We’ll see.

Ideally maybe I can do a little bit of both. Create a sort of magical realist world of my own while also a more straightforward (though still subjective) view of Baltimore that encourages empathy and inspires.

I feel like I struggle a bit internally with the desire to document and the desire to create, through a sequence of images, my own world that’s dominated by my imagination. Of course, every photographer comes with a subjective point of view but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the photographs that I don’t take. Photographs that would probably be good, but that don’t fit into my own ambiguous vision for what I want to do through photography.

photo by Patrick Joust Baltimore-based photographer

“surreal density” © Patrick Joust Photography

I recently watched a short documentary on Daido Moriyama in which he said:

“I am creating my own home by connecting pieces of images from my imagination and things I saw as a child. That’s how I feel about my work.”

I think that gets at what I’m trying to do, and maybe what a lot of my favorite photographers are doing as well. I like to connect places I’m from and places I visit to where I live now and somehow create a new world from those elements that work together.

Still, I get tugged back into more straightforward documentary work, especially because of the recent events in Baltimore. I feel a strong desire to give something with my photography though I’m not sure that’s possible or is something that’s wanted/needed. So there’s a little struggle there, which I’m not articulating too well, but that I think about often. Ideally maybe I can do a little bit of both. Create a sort of magical realist world of my own while also a more straightforward (though still subjective) view of Baltimore that encourages empathy and inspires.

photo by Patrick Joust on film camera

Still © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. How important is post-processing in your work? Is there an editing software you prefer using?

P.J. It’s important. I’ve used Adobe Lightroom for years. I basically have a hybrid film/digital process. I’ve made a few darkroom prints, but my approach is to have my film developed and then scan the negatives/positives. I then run everything through Lightroom where I take care of issues like dust, exposure correction, straightening, etc.

There are limits to what you can do in digital post-processing, but there’s still a lot of latitude there and I’ll do whatever it takes to try and make a picture work. One of the pleasures of shooting film is that the emulsion you choose limits your options but also creates less work in post-processing. So post-processing is important, but I’m glad I don’t have to spend a great deal of time on it, the way I might have to if I only shot digital.

photograph by Patrick Joust street photographer

“surreal density” © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. What camera gear do you currently use? Do you take with you any additional equipment on a shooting day?

I use a variety of different cameras, but ones that get the most use include my Mamiya C330, Fujica GW690, Olympus XA, Konica Hexar, Ricohflex, Rollop, and Canon 6D. I use a tripod and cable release for my long exposures, but that’s about it in terms of extra equipment.

street view of Baltimore photographed by Patrick Joust

“surreal density” © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. Where do you find inspiration? Could you name a few photographers that you consider influential for your style?

P.J. All over the place. Robert Frank is one. I don’t think I have a lot of pictures that look like his, but he was an early influence, largely because of the social aspects of his work. Wendy Ewald, Greg Girard, Milton Rogovin, Saul Leiter, Vivian Maier, Justine Kurland, Gordon Parks.

photo by Patrick Joust street photographer

“surreal density” © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. How would you define your photography in three words?

P.J. skipping this one

G.M. If you could start again as a photographer is there anything you would do differently? Are there any sectors you’d like to explore more?

P.J. I don’t like to dwell too much on things I’d do differently. I got into photography pretty late, only in my mid-20’s and even then it took me years to get “good” at it. I sometimes wish I’d gotten into it sooner when I was a teenager, especially since I took several trips to Europe and around the country and it would have been great to capture some of that. But I had a completely different mindset at the time, so it’s not so much that I didn’t have a camera in my hands but that I didn’t think of myself as a creative person.

photo by Patrick Joust street photographer based in Baltimore

Still © Patrick Joust Photography

I looked at a lot of art, though. I was obsessed with going to the great art museums of the U.S. and Europe. I was such a nerd that I skipped school to go to the Vermeer exhibit when it was in Washington, D.C. I also read a lot and watched a lot of movies. Maybe all of that was a kind of preparation for now, even if it didn’t directly involve taking my own photographs or making other types of art.

G.M. If it weren’t for photography, what else would you do?

P.J. Maybe paint or write or something. I would hope I’d find something creative to do. I wrote bad poetry for a while. Photography has been an especially good fit for me. I enjoy writing, but it also tires me out. I could never maintain a proper blog dedicated mostly to writing. Maybe I’d really get into video games. I dunno.

G.M. Any words of wisdom for photography enthusiasts at the beginning of their journey?

P.J. Have fun.

Baltimore folk - photo by Patrick Joust

Baltimore Folk © Patrick Joust Photography

G.M. Can you tell us a bit about your future projects?

P.J. Well I recently returned from a trip to northern California. I’m scanning the pictures as I type. I’m from California originally and visited some places I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I also went to Yosemite for the first time, and it was beautiful. There are so many places I want to go and so many places I want to revisit. I’d also like to photograph more in Pennsylvania, where I went to high school and college. As long as I’m healthy and able, you can definitely expect more from me.

Thank you, Patrick, for an inspiring interview and fascinating insight into the art of street photography. 

Discover more of Patricks’s photographic stories on his official website, Facebook page, Tumblr, Flickr.

Disclaimer: All images featured in this post belong to Patrick Joust and are protected by copyright. Exception makes Patrick’s portrait taken by Christopher Hall.

I hope you enjoyed reading the interview. For any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a line in the comment section below. Cheers! 🙂

Street Photography Projects You Should Take a Look at

Whether they document everyday life or major events, street photography projects are challenging and sometimes socially-engaged. Street photographs are powerful mediums dealing with and showcasing human condition at a certain point in time. Experts make a distinction, though, between street photography and documentary photography, the second one overlapping with photojournalism. Documentary photographers often deal with complex  sociological and political aspects. Street photographers, on the other hand, are simply inspired by urban environments and public spaces. Most of street photography enthusiasts carry their cameras with them everywhere, taking pictures anywhere, at any time. This post is dedicated to our favorite street photography projects encountered across the web. Feel free to come up with other names and captivating stories.

Street Photography Project: #Je Suis Charlie

Photographer: Fábio Costa (Paris, France/ São Paulo, Brazil)

Project Location: Paris, Vincennes

Fábio Costa’s project #Je Suis Charlie captures fragments of the demonstrations on the streets of Paris after the 7 January massacre in which twelve journalists from the Charlie Hebdo newspaper were killed. These photographs not only that document an important moment of solidarity, but are a sign of solidarity themselves.

fabio costa's street photography project je suis charlie

#Je Suis Charlie © Fábio Costa

Other Projects to Follow: Brazil World Cup

Web Location: You can follow more of Fábio Costa’s street photographs on his official website.

Street Photography Project: está cayendo (It’s falling down)

Photographer: Alison McCauley (Geneva, Switzerland)

Project Location: Havana, Cuba

This street photography project took the Geneva-based photographer Alison McCauley in the Old and Central Havana. As her official website reads, ‘these photographs are born from my desire to see what living inside the crumbling grandeur of Havana’s buildings looks like. I knocked on doors and begged permission to photograph the residents and the interiors of their homes. I photographed inside almost a hundred different homes’. As you can imagine, these images show a decayed world, neglected places and people who neglect themselves.

esta cayendo street photography project

esta cayendo © Alison McCauley

Other Projects to Follow: Postcards from Utopia, on the threshold, Khlong Toey

Web Location: Discover the story behind these impressive projects on Alison’s website.

Street Photography Project: Baltimore Folk

Photographer: Patrick Joust (Baltimore, Maryland)

Project Location: Baltimore, Maryland

What makes Patrick Joust photography unique is that most of his street photographs are captured with film cameras. Baltimore Folk shows the photographer’s perspective on life and people of Baltimore City.

baltimore folk street photography project

Baltimore Folk © Patrick Joust

Other Projects to Follow: The Photographer as Hero, Black and White Baltimore, ‚surreal density’.

Web Location: Discover more inspiring street photographs on Patrick Joust’s website.

Street Photography Project: What is a Dream?

Photographer: Umberto Verdoliva (Treviso, Italy)

Project Location: Italy

Umberto Verdoliva is the author of various street photography projects. With a passion for the humanity surrounding him, he transforms ordinary life into meaningful, and sometimes filled with poetry moments. Photography is for Umberto a medium of exploring and better understanding the world around him.

what is a dream street photography project

What is a Dream? © Umberto Verdoliva

Other Projects to Follow: Looking for Eyes, Mental City, Just Like You

Web Location: Umberto Verdoliva Photography Website

Street Photography Project: Belgrade

Photographer: Lukas Vasilikos (Athens, Greece)

Project Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Lukas Vasilikos is an award-winning street photographer. His ‘improvised’ photographs document the street of European cities, both in black & white and color. Most of his Belgrade street images are captures as a play of lights and shadows. Behind his vision is his interest in exploring darker sides of life like crisis, loss, angst.

belgrade street photography project

Belgrade © Lukas Vasilikos

Other Projects to Follow: Istanbul, Athens, Poland, Lisbon, Greece

Web Location: You can view more of this prolific street photographer’s work on his official photography website.

Street Photography Project: Vanishing Phones

Photographer: Arindam Thokder (Bangalore, India)

Project Location: Bangalore, India

Vanishing phones is a street photography project about the yellow public phones omnipresent in Indian cities. These photos were taken on the streets of Bangalore. Arindam Thokder, the author of the project, explains why and how he began photographing the yellow phones:

‘With the mobile phone revolution and its easy affordability, everyone has now at least one and sometimes two mobile phones. This certainly is drawing a curtain over the yellow pay-phone’s future. The shop keepers, who used to make 250-300 Rupees of coins each day, inform me that it’s now even hard to get 20-30 Rupees a day out of these phones. Lately I have noticed them vanishing from many places. I decided to document this swiftly disappearing phenomenon and life around these pay phones, before they vanish from the landscape of urban life completely.’

vanishing phones street photography project

Vanishing Phones © Arindam Thokder

Other Projects to Follow: Durga Puja, Rash Mela.

Web Location: You can view more of Arindam’s street photographs on his official website.

Street Photography Project: Unusual Banality

Photographer: Julien Legrand (Lille, France)

Project Location: France

Julien Legrand’s photographs showcase moments of everyday life. Most of them are centered around pedestrians. As many other street photographers, Julien Legrand operates spontaneously, without any interest in recording particular moments or places, preferring to free himself from any aspects other than imagination. The reason behind his street photography projects is keeping in touch with everything around him.

unusual banality street photography project

Unusual Banality © Julien Legrand

Other Projects to Follow: A moment alone, Underground life, Hand of a story, Barcelona

Web Location: Check out more of Julien Legrand’s street images on his photography website.

Street Photography Project: the city is like poetry

Photographer: Dimitri Mellos (New York City, USA)

Project Location: New York City streets

Dimitri Mellos has a captivating, poetic perspective on street photography. Born in Athens, but currently living in New York City, Dimitri studied philosophy and psychology and started photographing in 2008 with little formal instruction. His aim is to know life by means of photography. His project, the city is like poetry, captures everyday moments and usual people passing by the streets of the city. Is it life, is it poetry? Take a look and see it for yourself.

the city is like poetry street photography project

the city is like poetry © Dimitri Mellos

Other Projects to Follow: Urbis et Orbis, imagined communities, Fashion perpetrators

Web Location: More photographs by Dimitri Mellos can be found on his official Website.

Street Photography Project: My Splendid Mirage

Photographer: Ed Peters (New York, USA)

Project Location: Manhattan, NY

Ed’s street photographs of Manhattan are ‘emotional reactions to the city’. The project is inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald description of Manhattan as a ‘splendid mirage’, which he finds an ‘apt term, for like a mirage the urban space stubbornly refuses to reveal all of its mystery and meaning’. My Splendid Mirage features Manhattan with its architecture, people, and public art in a personal, original manner.

my splendid mirage street photography project

My Splendid Mirage © Ed Peters

Other Projects to Follow: Beyond the Indus, Southern Proximity.

Web Location: More street photographs taken by Ed Peters can be found on his official website.

Image Sources: All photographs in this article are owned by the photographers listed above and protected by copyright.

Tips on How to Start a Street Photography Project

Welcome to another article on street photography! On Friday we’ve given you a few tips on what to look for when out on the streets with your camera in hand and today it’s time we gave you a few tips on how to start your very own street photography project.

JH Engstrom is a Swedish photographer and artist who lives in Paris, France. His photographs are stunning portrayals of the human condition and its loneliness and absurdity. When he goes out in public spaces and photographs people and objects, he immerses himself in the atmosphere and you should do the same. Don’t copy other artists and photographers, but learn from them about the way they are approaching their subjects and their photography. JH famously said that he’s more interested in confusing rather than exxplaining, so find your approach very own approach to photography. Find what drives you to take photos in the first place and you’ll come up with a street photography project in no time.

street photography project JH Engström

Let’s assume that somehow you are fascinated by people with piercings. Make your street photography project about that. Learn where to go to find people with piercings, befriend some of them, talk to them and ask for more information that will help you create photographs that matter, that people would want to see.

Finding a street photography project is very important because it will help you stay focused when shooting and it will help you gain more insight into a subject. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to start a street photography project.

Focus on the work, rather on showing your work.

People get so excited these days. Whenever they take a good shot, they’re so eager to show it off and share it with friends. The great thing about a photography project is that you can’t (or should not) do that until your project is over. Some people think that a good time for a photography project would be one year. One year where you immerse yourself in a project and a subject would be enough to get you to be a connoisseur, if not an expert on that matter. It would give you enough time to get some great photographs and if you resist sharing them, the impact of you work would be so much greater.

Making projects is also much better from an artistic point of view than showcasing a single image. As powerful as it may be, one single image doesn’t have the ability to tell the stories that a project has.

Have an amazing street photography concept.

Really think about what you’re getting yourself into. You’re going to be spending one year if not more photographing people and places that deal with a single concept and subject. Make it worth your while, because if it doesn’t, then you would have wasted your precious time.

Think about what fascinates you, what scares you, rather than what you’re comfortable with. Don’t think about things that the world would be interested, but think about what you would be interested in. Be selfish and inquisitive!

Once you come up with a concept, leave it aside for a while and think about some more. When you get the right idea for a street photography project, you’ll be able to see the light bulb go off in your head.

Give cohesion to your images by staying consistent with your gear.

It may be hard to achieve, especially if you’re shooting for a long time, but do try to use the same camera, film type and lens. It will help the project look better.

Get feedback.

Feedback is really important in this line of work, so you should have someone you can rely on to give you constructive feedback. Because you won’t be publishing any photographs of your project for a long period of time, you are going to need some human input, someone who will tell you if you’re going in the right direction or not.

Edit, sequence and publish

Once you’re done shooting, comes the more laborious part of editing and sequencing your photographs. Try to keep it as simple as possible, especially if it’s your first project. When sequencing your photos, keep in mind that there should be cohesiveness and a certain degree of flow between the photographs. When all that is done, publish your project on Flickr, Facebook, your own personal Blog, or get a traditional publisher to publish your work in book.

Do you have any other thoughts on this matter that you would like to share with us? Drop us a line in the comment section below.

Street Photography – What to Look for When Out on the Streets?

Welcome back to our second article on street photography! Last Monday we promised you we would take a more in-depth look at street photography, and that time has come! Today we’re going to talk about what to look for when out on the streets to serve as inspiration.

So, you’ve got your camera with you and you’re out on the street, but you can’t aimlessly walk around holding your camera until you see something impressive and worth shooting. Or can you? Well, if you’re just starting out in the street photography field, then I’m afraid you are going to do a bit of wandering about until you start to see the street with new eyes. Because basically, that’s what you need to learn to do. You’re no longer a simple walker of the streets, you’re an observer and one needs to learn how to observe.

Put your most comfortable shoes and clothes on and walk the streets! Take a seat somewhere where there are a lot of people and start observing. People watching can really be an interesting thing and you can end up getting lost in it, which is a wonderful thing.

Almost all street photographers are talking about the decisive moment, a term coined by one of the earliest street photographers in the world, Henry Cartier-Bresson. That decisive moment is the moment when you know that what you’re seeing needs to be captured on camera. It’s when everything just comes together to create a close to perfect moment; it’s about timing! There may be many decisive moments when you’re out on the streets and that’s OK. Take out your camera and snap pictures every time you feel you’re having one of those moments. You’ll find out later if the moment gave you a good picture or not.

street photography ed peters

Ed Peters

The decisive moment usually comes from facial expressions, gestures, movement and action, so make sure you snap more pictures so that you have where to choose from.

The capture of emotion is mainly what drives the photographer to become a street photographer. Isn’t this what photography does best? Show us who we really are?

Strong emotion will give you the best photographs, but strong emotion is really hard to come by and harder to capture. Do you really have what it takes to go to a man who is crying on the street and take his picture? Can you do it? You’ll have to, if you want to be a street photographer!

Another fun and great tool for capturing street photography and creating amazing shots is juxtaposition. This refers to contrasting elements in your frame. Think about a man carrying a yellow umbrella in a crowd of people with black umbrellas. This is a perfect example of juxtaposition.

street photography Maria Serban-Temisan

Maria Serban-Temisan

Take the above photograph and see how much more powerful this image is thanks to the red background the soldier happened to walk by. It singles out the soldier, it makes him the star of the shot.

If you’re looking for using juxtaposition in your photographs, then you should start off by searching for an interesting background. Billboards and building walls make great places to start. What you could also do is juxtapose emotions. Go to a playground and capture the only crying child among the sea of laughing children. You get the idea!

Not all street photography needs to focus on emotions! You could find interesting shapes and shadows and play with them until you get something interesting and worth shooting. You need a bit of a trained eye to get the perfect angle, but practice will get you there!

street photography christophe agou

Christophe Agou

Another great tip for doing street photography is to focus on details. This will increase the mystery and will offer a clean and fresh view of objects and body parts. Sometimes we forget to look in people’s eyes or look at their hands and a photograph of those bits and pieces can really shake us up.

Also, don’t just look at the people when out on the streets! Look to the ground and see what you can find there. Again, use common objects to achieve uncommon photographs. Take them out of context, juxtapose them, do close-ups, play with them and with the camera until you get something good.

Do you have any more tips and tricks for getting out there on the streets and taking the perfect street photograph? Share them with us in the comment section below.

An Introduction to Street Photography

Have you ever seen something that inspired you on the street while you were walking and you wished you had your camera with you to immortalize the moment? I’m sure you have, all of us have. If this happens to you often, then maybe you should think about going into street photography.

In this article we’re going to take a look at what street photography is, we’re also going to discuss approaching strangers and how to overcome the fear or embarrassment you might feel when shooting in the street. This article is only the first one on street photography, but don’t worry, more will follow, in which we’ll discuss what to look for when out on the streets with your camera, which cameras to use, what settings and much, much more. But for now, let’s begin with the basics.

What is Street Photography?

street photography donato buccella

Donato Buccella

Well, it’s exactly what you think it is: it is the process of documenting everyday life and the society in which we live in. Street photography doesn’t even need to be shot in the street for it to be street photography. You can take pictures in malls, parks, airports and even subways (pretty much any public space) and it’s still going to be street photography.

What you almost always (notice the almost) need in order for street photography to be street photography is candidness. Almost all street photographs are done candidly, that is without permission or knowledge of the subjects involved. If you are not OK with this, then you could ask permission from the people you are photographing, and that is simply fine. A photograph doesn’t automatically become street photography if it is taken candidly, so relax and do things that make you feel the most comfortable. Street photography should capture emotion and humanity; it should be illustrate society and its rules and inhabitants. Street photography usually includes people, but it doesn’t always have to. Again, do things your way, but try to follow the general guidelines, which are: candidness, people and public spaces. Capturing emotional and powerful moments will create emotional and powerful images.

Approaching Strangers

street photography umberto verdoliva

Umberto Verdoliva

Approaching strangers can be a really hard thing to do for some people, while for others it comes naturally. If you’re one of those people who dread approaching people they don’t know, then I think you should think about the worst case scenario. What is the worst thing it can happen if you approach a stranger? Well, to be honest, they could reject you, which is totally fine. We’ve talked before about how to interact with your models, you should take a look at that.

The best way to approach strangers is to be honest about your intentions and do a lot of smiling. You would be surprised how much smiling matters in street photography. Sometimes you’ll look like a mad person, but if that’s going to get people to allow you to take their photograph, then it’s worth it!

How to Get Over the Fear of Shooting Street Photography

street photography ed peters

Ed Peters

Robert Capa, Hungarian war photographer and photojournalist, said that if your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough. Sorry to say that he’s pretty much right, which means that a lot of people are going to have a hard time getting close to capture the perfect shot. The best way to overcome your fear of shooting street photography is to know that what you’re doing is a good thing. Know that people can indeed react in different ways, but most people on the street are decent people who will appreciate a nice smile or a thank you.

You can also bring a friend with you, at the beginning if you think that it’s going to help you be a little more relaxed. Also, you can ask for people’s permission to shoot them, if you’re in doubt. Tell them why you’re taking their photo and if they don’t let you do it, respect their choice and move on.

Any more tips you would like to share with us on street photography? Drop us a line in the comment section below. Cheers!

Photography … Its Now Illegal. That Could Be A Good Thing

Where there is one crazy law, there is bound to be another.

no-photography

Which means that if this bill as introduced in Vermont is allowed to pass and reside on the books, chances are other states will soon follow their lead.

In Vermont, Bill H233 was introduced this week that states:

This bill proposes to make it illegal to take a photograph of a person without his or her consent, or to modify a photograph of a person without his or her consent, and to distribute it.

Vermont-Bill-H233-Banning-Photography-sm

Think about that for a bit.

Its illegal to take a photograph of a person without his or her consent.

That means you can no longer shoot anywhere in the state of Vermont. With smart phones or cameras. Because if you’ve ever snapped an image while you’re out and about, you’ve probably photographed some random person in the background.

No more birthday party photographs of your child at Chuck E Cheese. No more pictures at the zoo.

Or you will be against the law.

And if you take any of those photographs and modify them in Instagram, or with one of the hundreds of apps that exist out there, or Photoshop them even just to brighten it up a bit, again, you’ll be doing something against the law.

Then lets talk about distribution. No Facebook. No Twitter. No making a copy and sending it to Grandma in California. Nope. You’ll be committing a crime, so you best not do it.

In reality, this may be a good thing for us professionals. We’re always careful with our backgrounds, making sure random people aren’t included in the image. And if you work with contracts – which you should – you’ll have a model release in there as well.

You should also have a clause that allows you to share online on your sites, Facebook, etc., which means you have a consent to distribute.

So, if the general population really can’t use their smart phones and cameras legally anymore, maybe that means more business for us.

Hmmmm….

A Look Into The World Of Street Photography

What is street photography? According to in-public,

For the Street Photographer there is no specific subject matter and only the issue of ‘life’ in general, he does not leave the house in the morning with an agenda and he doesn’t visualise his photographs in advance of taking them. Street Photography is about seeing and reacting, almost by-passing thought altogether.

For many Street Photographers the process does not need ‘unpacking’, It is, for them, a simple ‘Zen’ like experience, they know what it feels like to take a great shot in the same way that the archer knows he has hit the bullseye before the arrow has fully left the bow.

What I love about street photography is the purity of the images. They are a look into the world through the photographer’s eyes. They simply take what they see – what interests them at the moment. And what they see is more than just an image; each image seems to tell a complete story in itself.

While street photography is ever-popular today, (look through in-public’s photographers, or read about The Sartorialist,) some of the true masters of street photography date back decades.

Vivian Maier

Recently I came across an article about the life of Vivian Maier.

Vivian Maier took on the role as nanny early on in her life, and remained a caregiver throughout. She ventured into photography as a hobby, and consistently took photos for over five decades, leaving over 100,000 negatives in her collection.

Vivian didn’t display her work, nor share it with anyone. It remained a hidden hobby until boxes of her negatives and undeveloped film were sold at auction to pay unpaid debt. John Maloof purchased a box of negatives looking for historic images for a book he was writing on Portage Park in Chicago, and as he discovered the depth of work he had purchased, started on a new quest to piece together the life of this hidden photographer.

Vivian’s work can now be seen in a variety of ways, including exhibitions and events, books, and even a documentary film, Finding Vivian Maier.

Trailer: Finding Vivian Maier from John Maloof on Vimeo.