This week Business Insider ran a story that covered images taken by a street photographer, of people’s private phone messages. That photographer was the highly respected Jeff Mermelstein, someone who has a long list of celebrated work. Whilst all images were taken in public places, they do contain a level information that the subjects may not want the world to know about. Whilst no law has been broken, it could be argued that this is a lack of respect for a person’s privacy, raising the question – is it okay to photograph people’s private messages?
There probably aren’t very many of us who haven’t heard of Vivian Maier, a street photographer whose work was discovered accidentally after it was sold at an auction. But she is not the only photographer whose marvelous work would be discovered only after her death.
In 2017, Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan found a dusty box of 30,000 negatives in the attic of her home in Pushkin, Saint Petersburg. They belonged to her mother, Masha Ivashintsova, who took the photos between 1960 and 1999. Masha rarely showed her work to anyone, so Asya developed the films and what she discovered was astounding. A collection of poetic, documentary, emotional and gloomy photos documenting Masha’s life, and the time in which she lived.
Sometimes, a great photo is all about the Decisive Moment. In his work, Oslo-based photographer Pau Buscató illustrates exactly what it means. He takes photos in the streets of different cities, capturing amazing, once-in-a-lifetime coincidences. With a great eye for details and perfect timing, Pau creates amusing photos you don’t see every day.
When we think of either paparazzi or spy cameras, I believe most of us wouldn’t connect them with the late 19th century. Photographer and scientist Carl Størmer (1874 – 1957) had an unusual and controversial hobby at the time. He was only nineteen years old when he walked around Oslo with a spy camera hidden underneath his vest. He was secretly taking photos of famous men and women of the time. because of this, he is sometimes referred to as “Norway’s first paparazzi.”
Today I used Lightroom Mobile to capture images on the street for the first time. I recently remembered that you can sync images from Lightroom Mobile right to the Lightroom desktop application. This was huge for me as I’m tired of syncing via Airdrop… It legit takes forever to select which images you want to import.
Anyway, when syncing the images I noticed each one took about 10-20 seconds, quite long, but worth it considering the images were RAW. This also gave me a little bit of time to inspect each image. I had nothing else to do so I looked over them one by one as they dropped in. I didn’t make any changes, simply evaluated them based on quality.
This year my wife Chrystall and I have decided we’re leaving London for the country.
As much as we love London we feel this is a good time for us to leave and move onto other bigger things. One of them being the launch of our new website, Great Things To Do, in January 2018.
I’ve written before about the ethics of street photography and as a London based street photographer, there was something I needed to put right before I left.
Back in 2009 I was wandering in Ladbroke Grove, not far from the tragic Grenfell Tower, on one of my typical days out shooting urban photography.
As I walked passed a garden, something, or rather someone grabbed my eye but I kept walking for a bit.
But it was just too good a shot to miss so I went back, smiled at them, paused for a second and took the shot to then walk away again.
The shot turned out great but there was a lingering feeling of having stolen it, and it never sat very well with me.
A few years went by and this slowly but surely became one of my most popular photographs, winning recognition at the International Street Photography Awards.
Here we were now in 2017 and I still regret not going back to at least give them the print.
So in July I decided to do something about it, I would find them again.
I’ve always said that I love street photography so much that I would die for it. However, I didn’t expect the Universe to call me out on it.
Getting that one shot almost got me killed once…
As if finding amazing moments wasn’t hard enough, you also have to capture them in the blink of an eye. Especially in the beginning, that can be very frustrating!
Once you shift from finding moments to predicting moments, it gets much easier.
One of my goals for 2017 was to get back to taking photos for no one but myself. I have been so focused on my own work that I forgot what it’s like to just take photos for the sake of it and have the luxury of not shooting to a brief or a deadline. One of the main reasons for this was simply due to the fact my cameras were too good!
Whenever I’d take either my Canon 5d’s or 1d’s out for personal work I felt like I was taking a gun to a knife fight. They are too heavy, too loud & quite often would get the attention of the subject when I didn’t want their attention at all.
I’ve never been one to care much for ‘specs’ of cameras, I just know what sort of camera I need for the type of assignment I’m shooting. For the most part, cameras mean little to me other than being a tool I need to do the job.
You may have heard that photography is also referred to as “painting with light”. However, would you consider yourself a light painter so far? If not, let’s change that real quick to massively improve your street photography composition!
The difference between photographers and painters is that painters add elementsand photographers reduce them. When you hit the streets, your “canvas” is already filled with all sorts of elements on the street: subjects, sceneries, cars, trash bins, billboards, street lights, people in the background and so on. Your challenge is to kick as many unimportant elements out of your frame as possible.