Photographer attaches iPhone to Leica as he walks around the street of NY

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Boid, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Real Name:
    Rajiv
    Nice first person "camera eye view" of shooting in the streets

    [video=youtube;wE-SwyWOeJA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE-SwyWOeJA&feature=player_embedded[/video]
     
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  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Affiliate Patron

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    Luke
    so now instead of people saying "why is that creepy guy taking photos of us", they're saying "why is that creepy guy taking photos of us with a telephone attached to his camera"
     
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  3. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Real Name:
    Rajiv
    All I got from this video is that one needs to get in really close to capture expressions. Not sure if this kind of street photography is for me. Will give it a shot though.
     
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  4. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    Very cool to see things from the 1st person perspective. In my opinion though, the photographer was just taking random photos of people walking around the city. There was one or two photos that were somewhat interesting. I'll go check his website to see his other photos.

    I recently purchased the book on Vivian Maier by John Maloof, which seems to be always on backorder in Amazon. To my eyes, Vivian Maier's published photos are simply amazing. I find her approach to street photography more appealing and interesting to me. This might be sacrilegous to some, but I find her photos much more compelling than HCB's photos. Although HCB has a much broader and generalistic approach to street photography.

    Thanks for sharing the link to the video Boid.
     
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  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Affiliate Patron

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    Luke
    Armanius, I think I agree with you here. I'm not sure how what he's doing is much different from just shooting video and then grabbing some random frames that appeal to him. When I first got into photography, I was really drawn to street photography images. I find that in modern times, it's just a little too easy to buy a brick-shaped camera, wander around a big city shooting random shots convert them to b/w and call yourself a street photographer.

    I don't claim to be good at it, but I think a lot of people need to re-evaluate what they're actually doing with their cameras. Are you telling a story? Are you thinking about composition?

    If one goes out on a boat with a rod and a reel, they are going fishing. If they go out with a giant net and drag it behind a boat, they will catch a lot of fish, but I wouldn't say it is "fishing" in the same way. This guy's street shooting strikes me as being more of the latter, but maybe it's my ignorance. But as they say, "I may not know art, but I know what i like".
     
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Well, you're more or less talking about me here, so let me respond. I don't think any of these are points I (and others) haven't made before, but its not like I haven't given this a LOT of thought. There are a lot of things that go into making a good street photograph. To simplify, lets just say there are two, the composition and what's HAPPENING in the photo.

    As I've discussed way too much, I usually approach a given shot either as a composition first (in which case a really interesting human moment is nothing more than a lucky stroke) OR as a HIGHLY spontaneous act of shooting human moments, in which case a good composition is often a lucky stroke. Its a rare, RARE moment indeed when both of them present themselves to you on a platter and rarer yet that you don't blow it trying to get those shots. I spend a lot of time doing pretty much what this guy does, but with my camera at a much lower angle (and without an iphone recording the process!), and most of my best street photographs come from this. But the hit rate is incredibly low. If I shoot 200-300 photographs like this, I might get 10-20 I see enough in to even process and, of those, maybe (MAYBE!) one or two that will still be good enough to want to see again after a few months have gone by.

    But its not just random spray and pray - I tried that a bit when I was VERY new to street photography (like maybe the first week) and it never gets you anything but random people walking down the street not doing anything even remotely visually notable. For every one of those 200-300 shots I might take over a few hours of walking around, I saw SOMETHING that made it worth a shot. Either a human moment developing in terms of an interaction between people, or an emotion clear on someone's face, or someone trying to DO something, or a juxtaposition between something about an individual and the place he or she finds themself), or even just a particularly interesting looking individual. There's always at least the germ of an idea there. And very very VERY few of them actually turn into decent photographs for any of about a million reasons. And one thing I've learned for sure, if you see it and shoot it and miss it, you can NEVER go back and try to get it again - it will NOT happen! But when it works even a little bit, there's always something at least a little bit compelling about it. Its usually an expression or a look between people, or people having a conversation with their hands involved, or a parent's interaction with a child or children. Or sometimes just someone who's so damn sure or himself or herself that their cockiness manages to come through. And in the best of these photographs, I might even luck into an interesting composition. Using a really wide angle lens (I almost always shoot with a 24 or 28mm equivalent) makes this more likely because those lenses sort of create their own converging lines, so if you get in close enough to the subject, many lines will generally lead in towards them. But sometimes there was just something interesting about the composition that I never see until I'm looking through the shots (and can often be accentuated with a bit of cropping) - not something I consciously nailed in the field. My best example of this is probably this shot - I knew I liked the subject matter but I had no idea of how well the arrangement of the people in the shot was gonna work when I took it:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/5964649437/" title="R0011632 by ramboorider1, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="1024" alt="R0011632"></a>

    Possibly the best photo of this type I think I've ever seen was a Winogrand shot taken into the sun as three women approached him, but there were other people and elements in the shot as well - there's a guy in a wheelchair on the left, people waiting for a bus on the right, and all kinds of reflections of the sun from a window to the left. I'd be willing to bet Winogrand just saw the somewhat glamourous womenwalking toward him and anticipated the juxtaposition with the down and out guy in the wheelchair and probably had some vague idea about the shadows adding drama. But I bet he had roughly no idea just how great this photo would turn out to be, with just the perfect confluence of shadows and reflections and movements and expressions. And he probably did a little dance of surprised happiness when he saw that thing come up in the developer tank in the darkroom when he fully realized what he had.

    This approach can be REALLY productive, but its kind of like baseball, in that you're gonna fail WAAAAAY more than you're gonna succeed and you need to be ok with that as how the process works. The best baseball players might succeed three out of ten times. I doubt eventhe best street photographers really succeed more than about one in 10 or 20 times and they're a LOT better than I am!

    The other approach, which I also do but is somehow less interesting as a process, is to find a good composition and wait for something to happen. And that something happening isn't really all that interesting usually, but it adds some life to the composition. Cartier Bresson's famous photo of the bicylist going by is a perfect example of this. He saw the stairs and the composition and he MUST have been there waiting for a while, and probably took a number of shots of people walking by until the cyclist came by at JUST the right speed and angle and he nailed his iconic shot. In a way this is an easier type of photography for anyone who has any eye for composition - you can find a composition and you wait for someone to come by and do something sort of lifelike. Here's an example of one of these I took just the other day at Liconln Center - I had a good composition and I waited there and took about half a dozenshots as various people walking into the through the scene. This one was the best, but there's no great human content to it, just a somewhat striking young woman walking through with what looks like a bit of a sense of attitude but was really her just preparing to squeeze through the very narrow passage between me and a railing.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/6890862596/" title="NYC 4/1/12 by ramboorider1, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="NYC 4/1/12"></a>

    I've taken any number of these shots and I like some of them a lot, but I somehow find them less satisfying than the more spontaneous stuff. Because ultimatley the whole point of street photography is people, its HUMAN moments, its catching that little slice of life that, on rare occasion, illuminates something fundamental about us as people. And a good shot of people with a barely passable composition to me is worth far more than a perfect composition with little or no human content. And I think that's what Vivian Maier did really well - she was more of a documetary photographer than an amazing artistic photographer - only a few of her photographs strike me as really remarkable art, but a LOT of them really nail something about the people in them. And that's more what I TRY to do, what I'm a rank beginner at trying to get. I'm just trying to be a competent documentary photographer who hopes to see something about human nature in the best of my shots.

    But ultimately I do it because its fun. I doubt I'd keep doing it if I never got ANY results, but its such an improvisational dance out there among the crowds that I keep coming back for more of it. I jones for it if I go too long without getting out among people and shooting. An odd thing, but true.

    I should add that two of my favorite street photographers today either are or have been active on this board. Michael Penn shows his stuff here from time to time and occasionally makes a comment or two about Ricoh cameras. His shots are almost always artistically interesting and often ALSO have some great human content. And Don (Streetshooter) who used to be a huge presence here but hasn't been around lately, has a body of work that makes my jaw drop sometimes. Great composition and incredibly touching human content. I don't know how they do what they do, but I like it and respect it enormously. I do what I do because I love it and I hope I get better at it through time, but I can't imagine being able to see they way they see. There are others out there who are really great, but those are two I'm very familiar with and many of you are as well.

    -Ray
     
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  7. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    I suspect that a lot of street photography depends on, what they call in archery, instinctive aiming. You look at the target and loose the arrow. Once you learn to let go it is surprising how accurate you can become. Some people are a lot more accurate than others though. In street photography you look around you and shoot what catches your eye. Good photographers get great shots but others in the same location at the same time would get nothing any good. Then comes the selection and processing of course.
    The speed and apparent casualness of taking street images belies a lot of, duck paddling beneith the water, brain processing going on, in addition to the concious thought.
    [​IMG]
    R0016713c by meaning_of_light, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    The Grim Reaper by meaning_of_light, on Flickr
     
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  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Incredibly, INCREDIBLY well said! A few hours of street photography in a crowded city can be one of the most mentally exhausting exercises I've ever tried. If I'm having an even remotely good day (and, like with anything else, there are good days and bad days - yesterday wasn't a very good one!), I'm absolutely spent by the end of it.

    -Ray
     
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  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member Affiliate Patron

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    Luke
    I was worried my statement might be taken as an attack on street photography in general or even as a veiled personal attack. Let me first say that I'm not slagging you Ray (or anyone else here for that matter)..... I love your street shooting. I think you and Will have both made some great points and possibly this video undermines those. A lot of what goes into a great shot is kinda like black magic. A lot of it is instinctual and much of it is fleeting moments in time. And just like magic, once you see how the trick is done, it's a little less exciting. If I could just see this shooters 3-5 best shots of the day, I'm sure I'd love them. But watching how he gets there destroys the magic for me. I should have assumed the hit rate is low for this kind of spontaneous shot. But I guess I enjoy the imaginary world where every shot is golden.

    It's totally unrelated, but maybe not so different from why I love albums, but don't much care for live music.
     
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  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I didn't take it personally, but it was a general enough comment that I thought it was worth a response. I didn't much like the video either. If you like sausage, you don't want to watch it being made. And I think the live music / album connection is a good one. Might not surprise you know I'm a Deadhead going way back to the mid-70s. A lot of involved and thoughtful wandering leading to only occasional moments of sheer brilliance interspersed. Kind of like street shooting. A connection that makes a LOT of sense, now that you've pointed it out...

    -Ray
     
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  11. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    Interesting points. There is a lot of variation in the numbers of images different phtographers take for each final image used. I was interested to see in a recent documentary about David Bailey that he takes surprisingly few. Others seem to take hundreds. All we ever usually see are the ones they put out there so the film clip above is perhaps more insight than some of us would like to see?

    I think I tend to take quite a few of what I'm sure is a great scene only to find they are all not much good when I get them up on the screen. Almost like my subconscious is telling me it wasn't all that great a shot and making me want to take more to get it right. The good ones are those instinctive ones when it is apparently a one off snap and you are happy to carry on by. I also think when out street shooting there is a tendency to get into a zone of of snapping away whilst we are looking for the good ones. Sort of filling in the time and creating that photographers seperation needed to do something that goes so against normal social etiquette. Some of what we seeing in the video is that I think.
     
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  12. BruPri

    BruPri SC Top Veteran

    698
    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Real Name:
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    The iPhone has better IQ than the pictures...
     
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  13. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Stephen
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  14. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    My iPhone 4 has better IQ than my original and second gen Digital Elph!