Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Discussing Photographic Styles => Topic started by: stamper on January 29, 2013, 08:51:55 AM

Title: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 29, 2013, 08:51:55 AM
A subject that has had a lot of coverage here and on the internet. The type of camera used would depend a lot on someone's style. I am reading a good book right now called Street photography now.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/photoblog/2010/10/street_photography_now.html

A lot of good images, different styles and locations but unfortunately no mention of the cameras used. Michael's review of this camera prompted me to buy it. I was attracted to to the long zoom capabilities.

www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/canon_sx_50_review.shtml

Does anyone experienced in the art of street photography think it is an ideal camera? I like the idea of standing far away and using the zoom but I realise a lot of photographers like to be close to the action. The alternative is for me to use one of my dslr's but that brings attention that I wish to avoid.




Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on January 29, 2013, 09:50:51 AM
Stamper, the essence of good street photography is snapper invisibility close-up: you need to borrow a cloak from Perseus.

He didn't have one in my size, so I gave up.

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on January 29, 2013, 11:03:52 AM
Stamper, One thing you don't really want in a street camera is long zoom. The only time you reasonably can use a long lens in street photography is when the background behind your subject is a wall, or something that doesn't show the foreshortening you get from a long lens. Cartier-Bresson and most of his contemporaries used Leicas with 50mm lenses; sometimes 35mm lenses. I did street for a couple decades with a Leica and a 50mm Summicron. Nowadays my favorite street camera is an Olympus E-P1 (their first mirrorless) with a 25mm f/1.4 Summilux on it. Since Olympus uses four-thirds format -- in other words, half frame -- my 25mm ends up being a 50mm. I've added a Leica 50mm bright-line auxiliary finder to the top of the camera. That way I can set up at about f/8, pre-focus at about 10 feet, and be able to simply raise the camera, frame, and shoot, without having to worry about focus. To do effective street you have to get in among 'em. You can't reasonably stand off at a distance and sneak your shots. A lot of would-be street photographers try to do that, but what they come up with usually leaves a lot to be desired.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Kevin Omura on January 29, 2013, 11:21:25 AM
If you want to blend in a camera in your phone is probably the best ticket. Otherwise a Point and Shoot camera or perhaps something really small in a CSC such as the Nikon V1 but basically something small that goes unnoticed by most folks. Why the Leica M is a good choice since it's relatively small and doesn't scream pro shooter like a DSLR with long lens and when I shoot street I really want to be immersed in the situation so shooting with a long lens will detract from that experience.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Petrus on January 29, 2013, 11:40:42 AM
I like the Fujifilm X-Pro1 for street photography, with 18 and 35mm lenses (27 and 53mm in 135 land). It looks old and harmless, but is cutting edge technology what comes to sensor and optics. I also like the optical viewfinder (no time lag like with electronic viewfinders, even a fraction of a second is too much for street photography), it is quiet also. If quietness, inconspicuousness and optical viewfinder without time lag are required, it really lives us only rangefinders (old school manual focus) or similar autofocus cameras like X-Pro1, which, by the way, are the classic street cameras. While X-E1, which I have as a spare, is nice also and has same sensor and IQ as X-Pro1, it is not as good because it has electronic viewfinder only. Long lenses are against the "in the middle" approach, street photography is a contact sport, not shooting from a sniper hide with a long telephoto. There must a certain amount of 3D involved in the compositions, long lens flattens everything.

Some samples: https://picasaweb.google.com/109958612223411682295/Jerusalem2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Only one person in those pictures reacted in a negative way to my photography, and even that grumpy old lady laughed when I blew a kiss to her, and I never asked for permission.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: jeremypayne on January 29, 2013, 11:47:33 AM
Did Cartier-Bresson and most of his contemporaries have the opportunity to use small light long-zooms?

Perhaps the relevant quote from Mr Reichmann's camera review is -- "Documentary street shooting needs to be discreet. Something like an RX1, or an M Leica are great tools for this, but I also like "extracting" vignettes from the world around me, and for this a long lens is what is often needed."

I agree ... don't listen to anyone who says you "can't" or "shouldn't" use a long lens on the street.

Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: hokuahi on January 29, 2013, 12:05:23 PM
I used to use my Fuji X10. It was relatively inconspicuous and allowed zooming. I have since switched to using my 5D with the 40mm prime lens for two reasons.
The first is that I no longer worry that any image I get can't be used for anything I might want, i.e. say a large print. In addition, using that single lens allows me to develop a consistent look to my images, compared to the variations I get using a zoom lens. I can sense from the photographs that what I see is a function of where I was in the scene.
Secondly, the 5D/40mm lens combination while a little larger, just feels more personal to me. If I need a live view I have it. Mostly though I use the viewfinder. People don't seem to react much differently, I just get to where I want to be and photograph.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on January 29, 2013, 04:28:41 PM
"Documentary street shooting needs to be discreet. Something like an RX1, or an M Leica are great tools for this, but I also like "extracting" vignettes from the world around me, and for this a long lens is what is often needed."

Fair enough, and Michael has demonstrated he can do documentary street shooting very well. But documentary shooting isn't street photography, and neither are "extracted" vignettes. Street has an element of documentation, but the heart of street is ambiguity. I doubt HCB would have switched to a zoom even if one had been available. For one thing zooms don't have the wide apertures street often calls for; for another, they tend to be much larger than, say, a 50mm f/2 Summicron or Summilux. Finally, being in exactly the right place in relationship to your subject is essential. Part of that requirement is absolute positioning, but part is knowledge of what your lens is going to frame when you lift the camera. You're not going to zoom a lens to get the frame you want. You already know it's there, so zoom is unnecessary as well as time-consuming at a point where you may not have time to do it before the shot is lost.

Novice street shooters try to use long lenses because they're afraid to approach their subjects. If you're going to do good street you have to get over that.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: AFairley on January 29, 2013, 04:42:17 PM
Novice street shooters try to use long lenses because they're afraid to approach their subjects. If you're going to do good street you have to get over that

+1.  And that, alas, is why I never will be really good at street....
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 30, 2013, 05:17:30 AM
Thanks for the replies. From what I have read here and the internet and books there isn't a right or wrong way. Like most I am hesitant to get close in a "normal " situation. For years I have shot political demonstrations - partly as a substitute for street - and because there are always a lot of police about then photographers can shoot away with little fear from members of the public. Most photographers tended to stick their cameras in demonstrators faces without any problem but I like to use a 80 - 200 f/2.8 constant zoom or a 70 - 300 slower zoom which means  photographers will get between you and your shots. I need to re think my shooting habits. I will use the canon sx50 so I can "blend in" and try to look like an old fart that doesn't know what he is doing. :)
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 30, 2013, 05:28:32 AM
Quote Russ

But documentary shooting isn't street photography, and neither are "extracted" vignettes.

Unquote

In the book that I quoted in my first post some photographers thought documentary was street photography. Quite a few images had one or two people - not interacting - or none at all. Yet the authors and the photographers deemed it to be street. On the other hand many fine images with people interacting or placed in an ambiguous position were portrayed. The mind's eye ... Henri Cartier-Bresson ...is in the post so some more reading and education is needed. :)
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on January 30, 2013, 09:25:12 AM
The Mind's Eye is one of my all-time favorite books, Stamper, but HCB's comments on photography aren't going to help much when you're trying to distinguish street photography from documentary photography. What really helps is to look at Henri's photographs. If you follow the sequence you'll see that before Cartier-Bresson became a photojournalist -- when he simply was walking the streets shooting what appealed to him -- he was doing street photography consistently. As soon as he took on the responsibility to produce a product, he began doing documentation. The documentation's very, very good, and sometimes the "street" ambiguity is there, but not as consistently as when he was footloose and fancy free.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 30, 2013, 10:01:51 AM
Just curious - why don't you use "Quote" to quote?


I use Quote like now when I quote all of a post and use Quote - unquote when I quote part of a post. A habit I got into years ago. Is it  a problem? :)
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: jeremypayne on January 30, 2013, 10:21:56 AM
A problem? No.
Less easy to read? Yes.

It also removes the link back to the original post which is a downgrade over the supplied tool.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 30, 2013, 11:24:30 AM
Jeremy. Whenever I use Quote I always use the name of the person. See Reply # 11 for an example. :)
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 30, 2013, 11:28:45 AM
The Mind's Eye is one of my all-time favorite books, Stamper, but HCB's comments on photography aren't going to help much when you're trying to distinguish street photography from documentary photography. What really helps is to look at Henri's photographs. If you follow the sequence you'll see that before Cartier-Bresson became a photojournalist -- when he simply was walking the streets shooting what appealed to him -- he was doing street photography consistently. As soon as he took on the responsibility to produce a product, he began doing documentation. The documentation's very, very good, and sometimes the "street" ambiguity is there, but not as consistently as when he was footloose and fancy free.

Thanks for the info Russ.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on January 31, 2013, 04:50:55 AM
Isaac, when I give a partial quote that is WHAT I want you to see, not the whole quote. If I wanted you to see the whole quote then I would have given the whole quote.

Quote Isaac Reply # 19

Even given the reference "Reply # 11" we have to search to find your example.

Unquote.

Isaac I will give you a clue. The numbered posts are in numerical order, so I don't think they are too hard to find? ;) ;D
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Petrus on January 31, 2013, 11:04:21 AM
Thus readers see the partial quote not the whole quote.

I have a habit of picking just the relevant part of the quote to my reply, I see no reason to copy the whole long post if there is just a small point to make. It is more polite to the readers. I also do not understand replies which quote sometimes include a long string of photographs also, which take an awful lot of space and use up bandwidth.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: AFairley on January 31, 2013, 12:37:20 PM
A little topic drift is inevitable in any thread, but this is ridiculous.... :o
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on January 31, 2013, 02:07:00 PM
+1
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on January 31, 2013, 03:36:56 PM
Well, you guys only need to post some street pix...

I'm sure the thread would revert to theme at once - even flourish with brand fanboy fervour! (Say that quickly and accurately with cornflakes in your mouth.)

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on February 01, 2013, 04:12:12 AM
I have a habit of picking just the relevant part of the quote to my reply, I see no reason to copy the whole long post if there is just a small point to make. It is more polite to the readers. I also do not understand replies which quote sometimes include a long string of photographs also, which take an awful lot of space and use up bandwidth.
A little topic drift is inevitable in any thread, but this is ridiculous.... :o

+1 If Isaac persists then I have the option of deleting the thread. :-\
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on February 01, 2013, 05:30:53 AM
I'm taking my ball home.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 04, 2013, 04:10:24 PM
I think the camera choice for any photography has to be one that will deliver the results the artist wants. And one which the artist is comfortable using in street situations. Leica's with a 35mm lens were used extensively by many of the best street photographers. But, no reason you can't use other cameras that work for you. I've used a Fuji 645, a Nikon FA, Mamiya 7, EOS 1V, and several others. No matter which I use, I try to have a lens that I can operate from inside the action zone. I want to be on the sidewalk, not 50 yards away. But others prefer the anonymous style of long lenses. To each his own vision.

Regardless of type of camera, you need to be able to operate it on instinct and very quickly. If you need to fumble with stuff like menus, or tiny buttons, you will have trouble getting dynamic shots. Time is measured in split seconds. Many people that used rangefinders would zone focus them for this reason.

I think long tele shots tend to look static and have too much compression. That's just my taste. I'm currently using the Fuji X Pro 1 for everything now, and that means street too. It's not the best I have used for street, but it is very workable. I do miss some shots with it because of focusing flubs, but not too many. It also has too many precious buttons that can be hit. On the plus side, the IQ is better than any camera I have ever owned.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on February 04, 2013, 04:23:53 PM
For years I have shot political demonstrations - partly as a substitute for street - and because there are always a lot of police about then photographers can shoot away with little fear from members of the public.
Sadly, in today's political climate in America, you have as much to fear from the police as from the public.  Just ask anyone who has spent time photographing any of the "occupy" demonstrations and had their camera(s) confiscated by the police, perhaps returned later, but almost always missing the card or finding it "accidentally" formatted.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on February 04, 2013, 04:29:06 PM
Sounds like a ready-made lawsuit. Any time a cop even touches your camera he's committed a crime -- unless you were photographing in a restricted military installation or other nationally designated sensitive area.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kencameron on February 04, 2013, 04:51:16 PM
...I also do not understand replies which...take an awful lot of space and use up bandwidth...
I suspect you may have been around since the early days of the internet. I well remember being severely flamed by senior members of my "PC User Group" for quoting more than the absolute minimum in anything I replied to on the discussion board. These days, who cares about bandwidth - or even knows what it is.

On the substantive topic, I am one of those who would need a new attitude rather than a new camera before getting into street photography as defined by RSL and other aficionados. I like the idea of snooping from a long telephoto distance but can understand that it wouldn't be the same. The barrier is psychological, or even maybe moral, rather than technical.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: WalterEG on February 04, 2013, 04:53:43 PM
The barrier is psychological, or even maybe moral, rather than technical.

Penny for your thoughts Ken.

W
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on February 04, 2013, 05:36:59 PM
Pennies indeed! I have my own views on that too, as Walter well knows!

However, I think there are acceptable and non-acceptable ways of doing most things, street included. Where do the lines get drawn?

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kencameron on February 04, 2013, 05:40:04 PM
Penny for your thoughts Ken.
Walter, I am talking about my own inhibitions rather than making any kind of judgement about what other people do. In photographing someone from relatively close up, and where they see I am doing it, it feels to me as if I am making some kind of approach to them, or even claim on them (psychological inhibition) or even intruding on their privacy (moral inhibition). The test of the moral inhibition is whether it would survive if I were out of sight with a long lens. A test which it fails. I also remain somewhat scarred after being  denounced as a pervert on a Sydney train for taking shots of fellow travelers with a cell phone.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on February 05, 2013, 03:45:18 AM
Walter, I am talking about my own inhibitions rather than making any kind of judgement about what other people do. In photographing someone from relatively close up, and where they see I am doing it, it feels to me as if I am making some kind of approach to them, or even claim on them (psychological inhibition) or even intruding on their privacy (moral inhibition). The test of the moral inhibition is whether it would survive if I were out of sight with a long lens. A test which it fails. I also remain somewhat scarred after being  denounced as a pervert on a Sydney train for taking shots of fellow travelers with a cell phone.



I think you have it about right.

I am often caught in other people's photographs because I live in a tourist resort and can hardly avoid it in summer; I used to find it difficult to go for a walk without stopping to allow some person to photograph his companion. I now no longer care, and simply go along my legal way. The funny thing is, they sometimes apologise to me for obstructing me. However, I find it annoying, especially if seated at a pavement café and know I'm in frame with someone else. Modesty stops me imagining I'm the main subject, but I could be mistaken. However, I always summon up a scowl smile. ;-)

Rob C

Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 04:30:15 AM
Sounds like a ready-made lawsuit. Any time a cop even touches your camera he's committed a crime -- unless you were photographing in a restricted military installation or other nationally designated sensitive area.

The restricted military installation scenario is legally the only barrier in the UK apart from trying to stop people to insist on taking their image that no photographer - unless a press photographer - would do. The Amateur Photographer - UK - stated if people don't want their photo taken in the street then don't leave the house. In the UK I have been shooting political events for about 10 years and no policeman has approached me about using my camera except for two who wanted to know if a particular event was to happen. They thought I was press. Police in the UK wouldn't want you delete images because if you had taken some that were wrong then it would be evidence?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kikashi on February 05, 2013, 02:21:10 PM
Any time a cop even touches your camera he's committed a crime

Not over here, Russ. What crime would he have committed in the US?

Jeremy
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: AFairley on February 05, 2013, 02:39:49 PM
Not over here, Russ. What crime would he have committed in the US?

Jeremy

Civil tort of trespass to chattels (that's when I touch your personal property without your permission) or conversion (that's interfering with your possession of your personal property)?  However, the analog tort to one's body rather than possessions would be battery (defined as an unpermitted offensive touching), but there are plenty of situations where a cop can touch you or shove you without committing a battery even though you have not been "detained."  Likewise, there most likely are situations defined where a copy can interfere with your personal property, but I don't know what they are or how they are determined.  Let the topic drift begin....
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kikashi on February 06, 2013, 04:03:19 AM
Civil tort of trespass to chattels (that's when I touch your personal property without your permission) or conversion (that's interfering with your possession of your personal property)?  However, the analog tort to one's body rather than possessions would be battery (defined as an unpermitted offensive touching), but there are plenty of situations where a cop can touch you or shove you without committing a battery even though you have not been "detained."  Likewise, there most likely are situations defined where a copy can interfere with your personal property, but I don't know what they are or how they are determined.  Let the topic drift begin....

Torts aren't crimes and in any event "touching" the camera wouldn't come close to either trespass to a chattel or conversion.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on February 06, 2013, 09:04:30 AM
Torts aren't crimes and in any event "touching" the camera wouldn't come close to either trespass to a chattel or conversion.

Jeremy


In a politically correct world, best not to use the word chattel at all, or one of the Ugly Sisters may get in touch. Almost as dangerous as holding a door open for someone!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: AFairley on February 06, 2013, 09:51:05 AM
Torts aren't crimes and in any event "touching" the camera wouldn't come close to either trespass to a chattel or conversion.

Jeremy

Correct you are, since both of them require substantial interference, it's been a while since law school.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on February 06, 2013, 10:28:12 AM
Not over here, Russ. What crime would he have committed in the US?

Jeremy

You're right, Jeremy. I wrote in anger and in haste. Shouldn't have used the word "crime." It's at least a tort, but there are acts that would constitute a tort for a civilian that become a crime if a sworn officer commits them. A great deal depends on the situation, and I'm sure the so-called "occupy" events with their property damage, public urination, defecation, rape, etc., etc., were a pretty annoying and special situation for the cops.

In any case the question's going to make for an interesting discussion in the evening over drinks with my attorney son once I get home in the spring.

I have three books on photography and the law, but they're all back in Colorado Springs. Here's a brief excerpt from attorney and photographer Bert Krages's one-page PDF titled "The Photographer's Right":

"law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations. They Have Limited Rights to Bother, Question, or Detain You.

Although anyone has the right to approach a person in a public place and ask questions, persistent and unwanted conduct done without a legitimate purpose is a crime in many states. . ."
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on February 07, 2013, 05:00:30 AM
This broadly is the same as the UK and is commonsense imo . I have a small booklet published by a camera magazine that is titled ... Know your Rights. I will in future carry it with me and if challenged then I can produce it and it might help avoid any hassle.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: PhillyPhotographer on February 07, 2013, 04:29:03 PM
You have to find a camera that you're comfortable with using and that can be anything from a point and shoot compact camera to a medium format. There is no perfect camera so ignore the hype especially from the Leica camp unless you have very deep pockets. While they make fantastic cameras and lenses it won't make you a better street photographer.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on February 07, 2013, 05:49:14 PM
+1
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Iluvmycam on March 05, 2013, 10:06:09 PM
M43, finest street cam on earth.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: PhillyPhotographer on March 05, 2013, 10:18:58 PM
Rolling eyes.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on March 06, 2013, 12:16:25 PM
M43, finest street cam on earth.

A cluster bomb?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Gulag on March 10, 2013, 09:29:25 PM
Chip Simone, one of our local photographer, tends to use his D700 with Nikon 60 AFD Micro all the time for his  street photography stuff.

http://www.jacksonfineart.com/artist_exhibit.php?id=332&exhibitid=155
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: gerafotografija on March 12, 2013, 10:49:32 PM
Although the particular camera makes a difference, I would say that the most important prerequisite in street photography is to be there, followed by don't forget to take the lens cap off.

Just for fun, I decided to compare what types of street photos I could get after a week of shooting with film vs. digital. Some days I took along an ancient battered Nikon F3 with 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor and Tri-X Pan pushed to 800; alternating with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4.

I am attaching my two picks of the week below. More details on the experience on my blog (http://gerafotografija.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/street-photography-film-vs-digital/), and some info on the SFMOMA Garry Winogrand retrospective here (http://gerafotografija.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/embarcadero-reflection/). I highly recommend this exhibition (http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/exhibitions/452) that just started last week to anyone who is serious about street photography, and anyone else who likes people photos.

It was a lot of fun, and in the end I don't want to choose one over the other. I also don't really feel the need to upgrade to the latest greatest compact camera (although the M240, RX-1 and X-100s are all so very tempting!).

What I really want is to have more time to go out and photograph people!
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: menandar on March 19, 2013, 03:25:59 PM
To the end of the day the camera is just a tool for you to help you do what you do. And street photography doesn't always mean that you need to photograph peoples faces in a very uncomfortable manner  for both the photographer and the subject. Good photography is about been natural and relaxed and full with nice and meaningful content. I don't really enjoy very much the typical so call street photography photographs were the object is looking suspiciously at the lens, and with this the photographer potentially shows how good he/she is in doing street photography.  The photography is about content that make sense and tell story in a beautifully composed way. The camera is the last thing that we should be bother and the most important thing is to be on the right place at the right time so you can capture the images you want.
Then again before the camera, for me specially, the choice of lens is more important.
Any way everything is about content.

------------------------------------
http://mirchevphotography.com (http://mirchevphotography.com)

Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: cjogo on March 25, 2013, 04:34:34 AM
If I  simply didn't want to use tripod ( mainly cause there was enough light )  I shot with a HAssy SWC from the hip.  Great DOF at f 16 and focused with the feet calibration on the lens  >>  or I used a Distagon 50mm with a waist level.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Bob Brandoff on June 29, 2013, 02:48:17 PM
Although the particular camera makes a difference, I would say that the most important prerequisite in street photography is to be there..
What I really want is to have more time to go out and photograph people!

I have used several different cameras and settled on the Sony A77 with Sony 35mm 1.8, and this combination gives me flexibility to use manual lenses (focus peaking) and in low light (EVF) with little difficulty.

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5539/9103565435_3e9b6d58f9_b.jpg)

(http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2839/9093770580_5c4d2f6bdc_b.jpg)

more on my website, http://www.digitalandfilm.com
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on June 29, 2013, 07:33:05 PM
If the idea is to use something small and inconspicuous, then any of the recent digital rangefinders that have come on the market would do the trick.  Sony RX1, any of the Fuji X series, the Leicas of course.

There was a recent article on the Adorama site addressing this very topic, http://www.adorama.com/alc/0013731/article/Digital-Cameras-for-Street-Photography-An-Opinionated-Buying-Guide.

Longer lenses can be useful for street, but not often.  Longer lenses aren't as conducive to the spontaneous style of street shooting.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on June 30, 2013, 02:41:17 AM
Longer lenses can be useful for street, but not often.  Longer lenses aren't as conducive to the spontaneous style of street shooting.
This, from Wikipedia: "In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.
The observer effect on a physical process can often be reduced to insignificance by using better instruments or observation techniques. However in quantum mechanics, which deals with very small objects, it is not possible to observe a system without changing the system, so the observer must be considered part of the system being observed.|"

Maybe one of the "better instruments" is the long lens, which, to some extent, removes the photographer from actually interacting with the group and thereby changing the dynamics of the group.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on June 30, 2013, 04:56:23 AM
This, from Wikipedia: "In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.
The observer effect on a physical process can often be reduced to insignificance by using better instruments or observation techniques. However in quantum mechanics, which deals with very small objects, it is not possible to observe a system without changing the system, so the observer must be considered part of the system being observed.|"

Maybe one of the "better instruments" is the long lens, which, to some extent, removes the photographer from actually interacting with the group and thereby changing the dynamics of the group.



Sensible and logical, but then it reduces the 'in your face' machismo of 'street' to nothing.

Worse, it really does introduce the concept of small-game hunting... is that cool?

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on June 30, 2013, 05:39:39 AM


Sensible and logical, but then it reduces the 'in your face' machismo of 'street' to nothing.

Worse, it really does introduce the concept of small-game hunting... is that cool?

;-)

Rob C
Actually, it's more the concept of large primate hunting... way cool!  ;)   But seriously, I see nothing 'cool' about  'in your face' machismo of 'street'.  It's really quite objectionable, IMO, and in the neighborhoods where I come from (Brooklyn) and where I now live (Russia), will very likely get your camera placed somewhere that even an ISO of 128K won't get you a picture.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on June 30, 2013, 06:36:30 AM
Spontaneity isn't necessarily about just being close to your subject. 

WRT the 'in your face' street style, not all street has to be that.  Can't speak for Russia, but there certainly have been many well-known street photographer who plied their trade in New York.  Personally, I'd be more concerned about it in The Bronx than Brooklyn.  Brooklyn's pretty tame, all things considered.  Bed-Stuy ain't even what it used to be.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on June 30, 2013, 12:46:10 PM
Spontaneity isn't necessarily about just being close to your subject. 

 Can't speak for Russia, but there certainly have been many well-known street photographer who plied their trade in New York.  Personally, I'd be more concerned about it in The Bronx than Brooklyn.  Brooklyn's pretty tame, all things considered.  Bed-Stuy ain't even what it used to be.
All quite true, and I used to be one of those street photographers, but I didn't know many who practiced this so-called "in-your-face" style who still have all their teeth.  I personally have no  respect  for those kinds of photographers, just as they  have no respect for the people they are  photographing.  FWIW, when I lived in Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy was very much what it used to be, maybe even worse. And there was still a team called the BROOKLYN Dodgers!
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on June 30, 2013, 07:32:36 PM
Ah!  Lots of change since then.  Washington Heights/Harlem are pretty hip areas now too and reasonably safe.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Jim Kasson on June 30, 2013, 07:36:24 PM
The type of camera used would depend a lot on someone's style.

You're right there, IMHO. I think the question of equipment choice is so tied in to your personal style that there's no useful answer to the question, "What's the best camera for [insert a genre here]."

Whatever your photographic pursuits, whether they fit into a neat description or not, what you want is different than what anyone else wants, and what you must do to get what you want is different from what anyone else does.

The bad news is that no one can tell you the perfect instrument for you to achieve your photographic goals from a pigeon-hole description of those goals. The good news is that your photography will tell you how to formulate a question which has an answer that moves you along your path in a productive direction.

The first step towards equipment selection is the same as the first step towards almost any photographic goal: make pictures. Pick up whatever gear seems right to you and use it as best you can. It may seem awkward for the task, but ignore that for a while. After a while, you’ll notice that you aren’t learning as fast as you did. Sit down and make a list of what you’d like your equipment to do for this project, and what your current equipment does that doesn’t work for this project (It doesn’t feel like a project yet — then maybe you need to keep working a while longer). Now, armed with your list, if you want other people’s opinion, ask around for recommendations for equipment. It’s quite likely that you’ll look at your list and you’ll know what you need to use in the next phase of your project.

The shoot-analyze-buy cycle can, like the cycle on the shampoo bottle, be repeated indefinitely. There is no danger that it will converge, because your vision for the project will change as you work on it, and the universe of available equipment will change as well. Be careful about blaming your equipment for your failures in vision and attempting to buy artistic inspiration, but accept the fact that your experience with new gear will give you insights you wouldn’t have gotten with your old stuff. And yes, there are snares: we've all fallen into to "If I had x, my photography would be so much better" trap.

I've gone through one body of my work and paid attention to how changes in my vision caused changes in my equipment. It's too long to post here, but you can see it on my blog (http://blog.kasson.com/?p=3041).

And one last good/bad point. It's bad news that no camera is perfect for any particular task, and it's good news that there are usually several that are perfectly adequate.

Jim
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kencameron on June 30, 2013, 07:53:23 PM
  I personally have no  respect  for those kinds of photographers, just as they  have no respect for the people they are  photographing. 
Interesting. With any luck, respect will be catching, so that what would be intrusive without it becomes a kind of collaboration allowing considerable intimacy. But I am not sure whether all good art derives from respect for the human race. Artists can be pretty ruthless.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on June 30, 2013, 09:49:32 PM
The key to good street photography has very little to do with equipment. The key to good street photography is what "The Shadow" used to do: "cloud men's minds." You need to be amongst your subjects, but not in their faces, and you need to make yourself completely irrelevant. If you're irrelevant you're not threatening. Which is one reason most pictures of street people are so meaningless: You're not being irrelevant when you walk boldly up to a street person or persons and shoot a photograph. The subject is reacting to the photographer and the result is an image that's utterly worthless as a street shot.

The photographer doesn't appear at all in a really good street photograph, and by that I don't mean you should be careful to keep your reflection out of the window behind your subject. A really good street photograph is entirely about the person or people in the picture, and that means that if there's any indication at all that the subject even realizes you're there, you've failed.

For children too young to remember The Shadow, here's a reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow. (Like The Shadow, I'm sometimes able to cloud men's minds, but I've never been able to cloud women's minds, though there was a time when I used to try very hard.)
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on June 30, 2013, 10:33:04 PM
So all of Bruce Gilden's street work is a failure?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: kencameron on July 01, 2013, 01:31:12 AM
...The subject is reacting to the photographer and the result is an image that's utterly worthless as a street shot...
Worthless as a "street shot" maybe, but not necessarily uninteresting as some other kind of shot (ie, as a photograph).
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 01, 2013, 03:44:33 AM

(Like The Shadow, I'm sometimes able to cloud men's minds, but I've never been able to cloud women's minds, though there was a time when I used to try very hard.)



That's because you were attempting the impossible: their minds never cloud, they see and understand everything perfectly, have it figured out before you even realise you are going to have the thought, but it becomes their decision whether to accept or reject.

Some chaps use alcohol and Ferrari as aids to conviction, but that's pointless: the objective is the one who already has the Ferrari or the means to its possession. That, then, becomes progress, a step in the right direction.

Isn't theory a wonderful thing?

;-)

Rob C


P.S. You see what you can get away with if you don't use pictures at lunchtime?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on July 01, 2013, 04:09:42 AM

That's because you were attempting the impossible: their minds never cloud, they see and understand everything perfectly, have it figured out before you even realise you are going to have the thought, but it becomes their decision whether to accept or reject.

Some chaps use alcohol and Ferrari as aids to conviction, but that's pointless: the objective is the one who already has the Ferrari or the means to its possession. That, then, becomes progress, a step in the right direction.

Isn't theory a wonderful thing?

;-)

Rob C


P.S. You see what you can get away with if you don't use pictures at lunchtime?
I'm sorry, but a Ferrari is but a wannabe's Porsche!
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 01, 2013, 06:23:51 AM
I'm sorry, but a Ferrari is but a wannabe's Porsche!


Thanks for explaining why some people buy Leicas!

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on July 01, 2013, 07:14:40 AM

Thanks for explaining why some people buy Leicas!

Rob C
If a Ferrari is an upscale Fiat, and a Porsche is an upscale Volkswagen, then a Leica is an upscale what?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: petermfiore on July 01, 2013, 07:19:00 AM
If a Ferrari is an upscale Fiat, and a Porsche is an upscale Volkswagen, then a Leica is an upscale what?


Contax, Rollie etc.....?

Peter
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 01, 2013, 11:26:09 AM
If a Ferrari is an upscale Fiat, and a Porsche is an upscale Volkswagen, then a Leica is an upscale what?


Ferrari/Fiat: that's only a relatively recent commercial event; there are no roots there. Lamborghini just a stripped-out tractor?

Leica upscale what? I suppose, one model is an upscale version of the one before it. Even if it's not.

A road less travelled, perhaps, for good reason?

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: PhillyPhotographer on July 01, 2013, 12:35:33 PM
The key to good street photography has very little to do with equipment. The key to good street photography is what "The Shadow" used to do: "cloud men's minds." You need to be amongst your subjects, but not in their faces, and you need to make yourself completely irrelevant. If you're irrelevant you're not threatening. Which is one reason most pictures of street people are so meaningless: You're not being irrelevant when you walk boldly up to a street person or persons and shoot a photograph. The subject is reacting to the photographer and the result is an image that's utterly worthless as a street shot.

The photographer doesn't appear at all in a really good street photograph, and by that I don't mean you should be careful to keep your reflection out of the window behind your subject. A really good street photograph is entirely about the person or people in the picture, and that means that if there's any indication at all that the subject even realizes you're there, you've failed.

For children too young to remember The Shadow, here's a reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow. (Like The Shadow, I'm sometimes able to cloud men's minds, but I've never been able to cloud women's minds, though there was a time when I used to try very hard.)


This is the only post in this whole thread that comes close to making sense.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on July 01, 2013, 03:45:34 PM
This is the only post in this whole thread that comes close to making sense.

No, it really isn't.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on July 01, 2013, 05:41:05 PM
So all of Bruce Gilden's street work is a failure?

As far as I'm concerned, Bob, the answer is yes for the shots he made parading down the street in a photographer's jacket with a flash in his left hand and a camera in his right. I've seen some fair street photographs by Gilden, but they weren't made when he was trying to copy Klein.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on July 01, 2013, 06:31:52 PM
OK, that's fair.  That's your opinion and that's fine.  I don't necessarily think that Gilden or Cohen are particularly good, in terms of the 'guerilla' style of street shooting, but that too is an opinion that may not be, in fact isn't, shared by others.  Not that their form of the guerilla style isn't done well, just that I don't prefer that style of street work.  I tend to lean more toward Winogrand's style who was probably somewhere between, say, Meyerowitz and Gilden.  I'm not familiar with Klein.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on July 01, 2013, 06:37:06 PM
Google William Klein and go to "images" in Google. Here's an example: http://londonartreviews.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/web-williamklein_bikini_moscow_1959.jpg
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on July 02, 2013, 03:41:33 AM
If someone is an experienced photographer technically speaking then I don't see the point of trying to worship/copy these forgotten "masters" especially when you can't cover the ground they did? Do what suits you and if you are "successful" then you will have achieved something that is different from them.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 02, 2013, 06:43:00 AM
If someone is an experienced photographer technically speaking then I don't see the point of trying to worship/copy these forgotten "masters" especially when you can't cover the ground they did? Do what suits you and if you are "successful" then you will have achieved something that is different from them.


Part of the difficulty is that however good one may be, unless one knows something about the past, then one has no measure of where one stands in perspective to the rest of the snappers ploughing the same field.

In fact, one would probably not even be aware that one was in any particular field. And pretty much everyone, unless spaced out, is in a field along with others. Oh that we might be so unique as to have our own field!

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on July 02, 2013, 07:02:24 AM
Google William Klein and go to "images" in Google. Here's an example: http://londonartreviews.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/web-williamklein_bikini_moscow_1959.jpg

I did some Googling yesterday after seeing you mention him and found this article, http://www.dpreview.com/articles/0160296055/eric-kim-10-lessons-william-klein-has-taught-me-about-street-photography. Not really sure what he did can be called 'street' because in many of his shots it seems the subjects knew he was there and were reacting to his presence or the shots were posed. 
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on July 02, 2013, 07:37:32 AM
Exactly my point.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: stamper on July 02, 2013, 08:13:23 AM

Part of the difficulty is that however good one may be, unless one knows something about the past, then one has no measure of where one stands in perspective to the rest of the snappers ploughing the same field.

In fact, one would probably not even be aware that one was in any particular field. And pretty much everyone, unless spaced out, is in a field along with others. Oh that we might be so unique as to have our own field!

Rob C

There have been a lot of famous names mentioned in this thread. No matter how good I will eventually come then I don't see myself ploughing fields among the "elite" mentioned nor will I strive to. If I do show my efforts on here or to other photographers then I think I will be a little peeved that someone would mention their names. Rob if you posted an image with respect to Street then if someone said that wasn't as good as Cartier Bresson how would you react?
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 02, 2013, 12:20:26 PM
There have been a lot of famous names mentioned in this thread. No matter how good I will eventually come then I don't see myself ploughing fields among the "elite" mentioned nor will I strive to. If I do show my efforts on here or to other photographers then I think I will be a little peeved that someone would mention their names. Rob if you posted an image with respect to Street then if someone said that wasn't as good as Cartier Bresson how would you react?


Well, for a start, I'm terrified of the concept of doing 'street' when it means shooting total strangers face-to-face in possibly dangerous circumstances, such as doon 'n' oots which seems to be the basic idea today, though when HC-B and pals were doing it, it was usually for left-wing magazines and so that was okay, they were all supposedly in it together, the poor, the magazines (really?) and the photographers!

I did it twice: the first time when I was a trainee in the industrial photo unit and we were kidding around at work saying how easy press stuff was compared with industrial, and two of us went into Glasgow one night (separately) to get some pics to prove the point. We both came back with pics of some girls walking around doing nothing much. Safe options? Chicken? Yes!

The next time, I was in Rome visiting distant relatives and was at a birthday party. It was just at the time of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and paparazzo hadn’t yet made it into the English language. However, Italian magazines had been full of gossip column stuff for years - it was nothing new there. Anyway, after the party a bunch of us walked down the Via Veneto (celebrated in the movie) and as I had my camera and a flash with me, we decided to have a giggle. We walked down the street toward the US Embassy and Excelsior Hotel, down in front of the bars, and one of the girls pretended to be ‘someone’ and covered her face, waving at me yelling no pictures! no pictures! It was amusing enough at the time. However, as I wasn’t a good drinker then, I was certainly on a controlled high, and so I extended my attentions to several other ladies sitting at pavement tables here and there along the Via, and not a single table objected: every girl primped and posed as if she were about to audition for something. Amazing thing, a camera at night, and at the right time and place.

Of course, I had no idea who any of them was.

Many things really were possible in the 60s, and often just a matter of asking.

Even starlets/models were fair game there, and one day I happened upon something being filmed across from the Trevi and took a fancy to the wench being shot; at a break she walked over to a bar for a drink and I followed and asked her to let me shoot – she did, not a question, nothing. She ‘played’ with one of those wall-telephone units and I got my exposures. Those were indeed the days, regardless of what the young turks tell us now.

But, how would I feel in the situation you quoted, where other snappers got mentioned? Honestly, that’s not a difficult thing to handle: if anything, it’s nice to think your work brings stars to their minds.

I used to do a lot of fashion work for House of Fraser. On my first visit to meet the head honcho I took along my book (we used to call them portfolios) and discovered that the guy was new to Glasgow. He’d been a top manager in Harrods but had been sent up to Scotland to resolve some problems in the group’s northern stores. Anyway, he used to commission photography for Harrods and his first few words to me were never forgotten: this is just as good as the stuff I can buy in London! So yeah, it can be nice as well as the opposite. Trouble was, after he resolved the store problems in Scotland he was sent to do the same in Ireland, and the next manager never commissioned anything, from anyone. A, effin’, men! For me, Buchanan Street died.

But personal trumpet tuning aside, I don’t think it matters at all what others think of your work unless you are pro and in a pro situation. (Compliments are ever nice, of course, and one enjoys them if and when they come.) And even there, it all comes down to personal likes and dislikes, which is why not all clients use the same snapper. Cost also counts with some, and probably more so today than in my era.

Rob C


Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RSL on July 02, 2013, 04:33:48 PM
There have been a lot of famous names mentioned in this thread. No matter how good I will eventually come then I don't see myself ploughing fields among the "elite" mentioned nor will I strive to.

Ah yes. Brings back memories. . . of the ten years my wife had her gallery. Almost every day there'd be at least one callow youth coming in with some absolutely uninteresting crap, spouting the idea that you don't need to know anything about art to make art.

Now, I'm not suggesting you need to go to school and get a degree in art. In fact, if you really are an artist that's probably about the worst idea you could come up with. But you need to learn technique and results. As far as technique goes, in photography, if you can read the manual that came with your camera, then, as Elliott Erwitt said, "there's nothing to teach." But results come from "the 'elite' mentioned," and you need to spend days (and nights) reaping the fields sown and ploughed by those "elites." You need to know what went before -- partly to avoid trying to re-invent the wheel, but more importantly to absorb the essence of what it is that makes you react transcendentally to a particular image. Once you've absorbed that, you know what to look for when you try to create your own art. There are no shortcuts in learning to produce art.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Jim Kasson on July 02, 2013, 08:15:33 PM
If someone is an experienced photographer technically speaking then I don't see the point of trying to worship/copy these forgotten "masters" especially when you can't cover the ground they did? Do what suits you and if you are "successful" then you will have achieved something that is different from them.

I agree about worshiping and copying, but I'd make an exception for attempting to copy someone's work as an exercise to get inside their head.  Try it sometime; for me. it's nowhere near as easy as it seems it should be.

That doesn't mean that you should ignore those who went before. The old saw about standing on the shoulders of those who preceded us only works if we look around to find shoulders to stand on, and if we don't think that we can’t learn anything from the work of others.

Even if you think that you can learn faster following your own muse and having your artistic sensibilities unsullied by contact with the work of others, you can’t expect that your audience will enjoy such splendid isolation. People have been making photographs for more than a century and a half. Photography is the most common form of flat art. Every art director, gallery owner, museum curator, book publisher, and magazine editor you encounter will have experience with the art photography canon that varies from moderate to encyclopedic. Most of your potential customers will be at least somewhat informed (interior decorators possibly excepted). They will all compare your work to that of others. If you’ve done that yourself, you can avoid some really awkward conversations.

Jim
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: PhillyPhotographer on July 04, 2013, 12:33:20 AM
No, it really isn't.

Actually it is. But i'm more of a practice photographer than theory. But in the end it all beats Rob C's fear of everything and his never ending rules.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Rob C on July 04, 2013, 04:31:17 AM
Actually it is. But i'm more of a practice photographer than theory. But in the end it all beats Rob C's fear of everything and his never ending rules.


Goodness, you make him sound like Las Vegas!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on July 04, 2013, 08:33:04 AM
Actually it is. But i'm more of a practice photographer than theory. But in the end it all beats Rob C's fear of everything and his never ending rules.

As am I. 

But back to the other idea of the comment, it is if you buy into that very restrictive definition of what street photography is.  Many don't. 
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on July 04, 2013, 01:06:34 PM
As am I. 

But back to the other idea of the comment, it is if you buy into that very restrictive definition of what street photography is.  Many don't. 
I take pictures, period.  Call it what you will.   It's your box, not mine.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: RFPhotography on July 04, 2013, 01:34:58 PM
I take pictures, period.  Call it what you will.   It's your box, not mine.

Well, no, it's not 'my box'.  That's the point I'm trying to make.  That the genre of street photography isn't as restrictive as some purport it to be. 

As for the 'box' or classification, it can and does matter.  If a client asks for a mountain 'landscape' it would be difficult to justify sending a 'portrait'.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: Sam789 on July 23, 2013, 03:10:56 AM
Its really nice street photography.thanks for sharing this blog.
Title: Re: Street photography & cameras.
Post by: ripgriffith on July 23, 2013, 03:37:37 AM
Well, no, it's not 'my box'.  That's the point I'm trying to make.  That the genre of street photography isn't as restrictive as some purport it to be. 

As for the 'box' or classification, it can and does matter.  If a client asks for a mountain 'landscape' it would be difficult to justify sending a 'portrait'.
If you sell your work that way, then fine, put it in boxes.  It's not my intention to put down that kind of photography; it's just not what I do.  I don't shoot for "clients"; people buy my works in galleries and what it is is what it is.