Category Archives: Street photography

Although not my thing I decided to create a category. Edited on 08/05/2016 After following a workshop on street photography I discovered I really like to shoot on the streets and interact with people. That was a huge surprise.

Swedish Lady

No one is different.
We are all the same.
We are all just human beings. Busy being alive, being ourselves, being just human.

Swedish Lady (2016) - Helsingborg, Sweden Ricoh GR II
Swedish Lady (2016) – Helsingborg, Sweden
Ricoh GR II

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Spectator

I didn’t do much past weekend. Little A., my youngest daughter, was with me and one of her BFF’s.

On Friday evening I drove them both to Antwerp where they would attend a party and picked them back up at 02:30. I did feel that the whole weekend. I guess it goes with getting older. Got up at 10, went for groceries and cooked them an honest meal. Afterwards I washed the dishes and then drove them to a park where they could swim and sunbathe.
Then I went to the woods with my Bronica but I did not feel inspired. It was blazing hot, I felt tired and then I had to go and pick the girls up again.

Saturday evening Sweetheart and I went out and that was fun. Back home, at 01:30, it was so hot in the apartment. We did not sleep very well.

Now it is Sunday afternoon and I feel tired and lazy. The girls went to some concert and then at 20:00 or so Little A. will be back home.

I did an semi-stand development Friday evening while waiting to drive to Antwerp again. Fomapan R09 in a 1:100 dilution and a roll of old film just for testing. One minute agitation, 30′ nothing, then a 1′ slow agitation and then 30′ nothing.

The film came out well but I haven’t had time to scan it yet.

I truly hope I’ll be able to do some shooting next week.

Spectator (2008) Nikon D300 wit 24-120mm VR
Spectator (2008)
Nikon D300 wit 24-120mm VR

Hipster

Past Thursday was the Belgian National Day. We commemorate an event on 21 July 1831 in which Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg swore allegiance to the new Belgian constitution, thus becoming the nation’s first monarch. The king’s vow marked the start of the independent state of Belgium under a constitutional monarchy and parliament.

Sweetheart and I took her eldest daughter Stella and her kid, Star, to Vlissingen in Zeeland. We don’t like to go to the Belgian coast. Way to crowded and the embankment are all filled with flats, most of them ugly buildings.

We prefer the open space and the dunes.

Stella is a very troubled young woman but she is doing fine lately. Sweetheart is Star’s foster-mother because the full-time care of a toddler is too much for Stella.

It was a nice day. Sunny but not hot. We spend some time on the beach and then went shopping in Vlissingen. Later on we had dinner on the sea dyke. In between I had some time to make some street photos.

Hipster (2016) Ricoh GR II
Hipster (2016)
Ricoh GR II

 

Thoughts – July 8, 2016

I have been an amateur photographer for over 40 years. This does not mean that I am any good as an artist but I know how to solve a photographic problem.

When I adventure in a new area of photography I become once again a novice. Having 40+ years of experience does not implicate that from my first shot I am a world-renowned nude photographer. I have to build an experience. Getting this is obtained by shooting as much as possible and getting helpful feedback. Reading, studying, workshops tend to help in building experience.

When I started with street photography a few months ago I had to overcome the fear to come close to strangers, to invade their personal space, to take pictures without their consent or knowledge. I do not pretend to be the new Adget, Cartier-Bresson of Chuck Jines.

I choose to come close to my subjects so I work only with a 28mm lens.

I post images I select after some harsh self-critique and hope to get (positive) feedback. I read books about street photography, I follow fellow artists.

I am aware that I have much to learn and I believe that even after harsh self critique I post rubbish. Also I believe that every street photographer, every artist, had to start somewhere. Sometimes it takes almost a life-time before we find something in which we can excel.

Like everyone else I use social media but I tend to be careful. I never engage in politics or religious topics because that is off topic and a source for problems.

There is this American street photographer I respect. He has evolved to more documentary photography and has made some intense and compelling series about heroin abuse in his home town Chicago.

His images raise awareness of a problem and that is something I like. This photographer also gives workshops, has an interesting Youtube channel. You have to pay to get the most out of his informative website so I have no idea of the offerings.

On social media he shows and expresses his involvement with the poor, the underprivileged, the addicts. When you dig deeper in his social feed I read another message though but that is off-topic.

A few weeks ago this Chicago based photographer posted a rather negative and insulting post about a street photographer that operates in the same city. I happen to like the work of that guy too. It is different but interesting.
Even if you have another opinion I don’t find it a good idea to trash somebody else on social media. After all it says more about yourself than about the ‘victim’ of you rant.

A few days ago he ridiculed a well know Asian street photographer looking down on him in a very negative way.

A few weeks ago I noticed he liked one of my street photos and it was a pleasurable experience. I would have appreciated a small comment but hell, he is a busy guy. I got another like and then another.

I’ve been “Liking” images in my feed out of kindness lately. I need to stop doing that. It’s like feeding the pigeons, it just encourages more.” he wrote yesterday on his FB page.

I did find that very sad. Apart of the value of a FB-like your are basically telling the world your “Like” is a fake. You are telling the world you are not honest. I admit, a dislike button on FB would be nice but I am not sure if it would be appreciated but the users. Hell, if I read or see something I don’t like I won’t comment, WordPress, Instagram or FB. The world won’t stop if I don’t like but at least I will be honest with myself and the person who did not get my appreciation won’t die.

This Chicago documentary photographer has great work and with his photographs of heroin addicts he helped building awareness. His photography is great and he shares quite a bit of his knowledge. I still respect him for his work but that is it.

Kindness is a lie when it comes to evaluating someones work. And somehow this Chicago based photographer has clearly forgotten one day he started from scratch too.

Showing work on social media, even if it is crap or stupid, means that person found the courage to show his or hers work. We do not deserve to be ridiculed by those whom think they have arrived at some important stage in their life.

Yellow (2016) Ricoh GR II
Yellow (2016)
Ricoh GR II

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Young & Old

Sunday, July 3.
I am exhausted. Yet I am very happy. Little A. and I spend the afternoon in Antwerp. Shops were open because it was the first weekend of the summer sales. My youngest daughter and her BFF did some shopping and I hit the streets. It feels like I walked  a zillion miles.

After 300 shots the Ricoh GR II battery died on me so I connected the camera with a power bank and switched to the Olympus OMD M10 with the excellent and razor-sharp 45mm f1,8. This lens is not usable in a crowded city. After all it is a 90mm on a full-frame. On a bright sunny day you can’t use it wide open though. The Olympus is limited to 1/4000 and ISO 200 so you need a ND filter. I have a cheapo one but it gives a very nasty color cast. If you shoot in raw there is no problem though.

I found myself a spot on a public square and used the 90mm to isolate interesting subjects. At a few crosswalks this small telephoto lens came in quite handy too.

So 300 shots with the Ricoh and 80 with the Olympus.

Quite a few of the Ricoh images are not sharp though and that is my fault entirely. I like to use the camera in snap mode. You set a focusing distance, 2 meters for example, and at f8 your depth of field goes from about 0.70m to 5m. As the camera is prefocused there is no shutter lag.

Antwerp Central Stations has a 4 levels. The upper ones are bright, the lower ones darker. So there I opened my aperture a little more but came closer to my subjects.

Then I found an interesting spot where I stood for a while waiting for that distinctive moment when everything falls together. Unfortunately I forgot to adjust my aperture back to f8 or f10 so most of these images are not in focus.

Street photography offers so many great moments. That guy for example, noticing how I captured his wife while she made a photograph of the entrance gate of Chinatown (in Antwerp) and presented himself as a street photographer and asked what camera I was using. We had an interesting conversation.

Or that couple, suddenly he went on his knees. She was so embarrassed. I was to far to hear what she said but I made the shot. You can’t see the ring though, that he is showing her.

Twin babies in a buggy being fed. A bottle is presented by dad, the other by mom. He looks at his offspring, she looks at a guy who passed by. Yeah, I got that.

This image was made at a crosswalk. On the other side of the road people where waiting for the green light. I noticed an opportunity. I waited and it happened. I fired twice, the latter being the best representation of what I had seen in my mind’s eye. I waited for the decisive moment when all fell into place.

People move towards me as a spear and I feel there is an interesting juxtaposition.

Young & Old (2016) Ricoh GR II
Young & Old (2016)
Ricoh GR II

 

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