Thoughts – April 9, 2016

About nine months ago I signed up for a Street Photography workshop. It is in two parts. One evening, April 20, at out cultural center some theory is given and then a Saturday morning practice on the streets of Antwerp. The tutor is Glenn Huyben and except for his images on Tumblr I don’t know him.

I don’t know what to expect from this workshop let alone how it will influence my photography. To be honest I don’t even remind what made me sign up.

Yet I am looking forward to this workshop albeit street photography is not my thing. I feel shy and approaching people, invading their personal space, somewhat frightening.

Yet I love to walk the streets with my camera and there was a time I simply loved shooting bicycle races. I know, that is not exactly street photography, but I liked the action, and the possibilities of creating a great shot.

Catching up (2015) Nikon D300 with Nikon 24-120 VR
Catching up (2015)
Nikon D300 with Nikon 24-120 VR

One thing I am almost certain about is what camera to take with me to Antwerp for the practice session. That will be my Olympus OMD M-10 with the Lumix 20mm f1,7. It is small and thus rather unobtrusive. I can choose between color and black and white as I think street photography can benefit from both. Think Saul Leiter for example.

I might choose for film though. Then it will be the Olympus OM-1n with a 28mm lens and HP5 at its native speed or pushed. Option 2 would be the small Nikon FG-20 with a Nikon 50mm f1.8. Well, it all depends on how I feel and what I want to accomplish.

Recently I have been talking with Sweetheart about a social documentary photography project. Belgium (and Europa) has been inundated by refugees.
That could be an angle but I am not really interested because it is way to easy. I would prefer to make a documentary about the poor or the underprivileged  natives as I believe it is a forgotten problem.

A few days ago I noticed a can of tuna in Stella’s apartment. It was white with blue lettering and clearly relief goods from Europe. I remember being struck as I imagined this stuff in a war zone, in a refugee camp but not in my country.

The problem with this is that I have no experience in this domain so I fear it will be very hard to get help from social organizations. So I’ll have to find another way in order to meet someone who is willing to trust me.

My goal is to tell a story, to make people aware that forms of poverty are everywhere, even close to us.

While writing this I think my original idea for a project like this came from our visit to the Boris Mikhailov exposition a few weeks ago. His images of the lost ones after Ukraine became “free” touched me very much.

Waiting (2011) Nikon D300 with Sigma 28-70 f2.8
Waiting (2011)
Nikon D300 with Sigma 28-70 f2.8

We’ll see. I guess Sweetheart will come up with some more ideas as she is well acquainted with the social sector.

I think pieces are starting to come together. Maybe this is finally the right time for me to start such a project because I now have the right mindset.

We’ll see what comes out of it.
Another thing I am quite sure about is this. I’d rather do social documentary than street photography.

The 5 posts of next week will all be digital images. They were all taken with my Nikon D300 and the Nikon 24-120mm VR and transferred to black and white. I made them last year when, during a short period, I tried to do some street photography. To be honest I used only the long side of my lens helping me to keep in safe distance from my subjects.
All these images were shot an hour before an important bicycle race would start. The eagerly waiting spectators “easy” targets.

I’ve been watching some Youtube videos on street photography. Chuck Jines of course but I have been following him for ages. I recently discovered Valerie Jardin and she also offered me a few useful insights.

And to make it all even more complete I took a subscription on Street Photography Magazine.

Diagonal (2016) Nikon FG-20 with 50mm f1,8 and loaded with Ilford HP5+
Diagonal (2016)
Nikon FG-20 with 50mm f1,8 and loaded with Ilford HP5+