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Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by jjviegas, May 21, 2013.
All C/C welcome. Thanks for looking.
It's a little difficult to figure out what you are getting at in this picture.
I think that the woman's lips as a reflection of the poster(if that is the point of the image) are way too small in the frame to have any impact.
Thanks for your honest critique!
I think the most difficult thing to do for a photographer is to be able to understand how much of the impact they feel from a photo is due to their own internalized ideas and sensibilities.
The aim for any photographer is to create images that impact people with the shared human emotions and sensibilities. The more specific the requirements of any image, the less it is satisfactory to a wide group.
If you would like to discuss this more, I am pleased to do so. I don't want to or mean to hijack your thread.
I would be honored to do so, and it would be by no means a thread hijack.
I have been doing landscape photography for some time now, I even got a few awards, and wrote a couple of posts on Singh Ray's blog, but with time somehow I got bored with that type of shooting. Instead of stop shooting at all, I decided to start shooting other images, things that usually got my attention but that I skipped before cause they weren't a landscape.
Changing from one speciality to another isn't easy, but I don't give up easily, and all good critiques I can get only will help.
Street photography or just curious shapes and colors have always caught my eye and it's were I am now.
Well, it's clear you have the eye and the mind because you saw the connection in an instant - that the shape and color of the woman's lips mimicked the poster.
So you have the tools to see what I think of as good street photography.
Be warned that this is my opinion and discomforting to some I have met because it is pretty Draconian.
It is much easier to say what I think is not street photography.
Street photography is not any random B&W photography done outside.
Street photography is not pictures of poor people or people in distress that focuses on their condition and therefore borrows some emotion without bringing any new meeting. (what I call homeless porn.)
Street photography is not taking an otherwise meaningless shot, converting it to B&W and tarting it up with heavy textures and vignetting and grain.
Street photography is not taking pictures of graffiti or signs or things meant to be seen with no additional meaning or emphasis added by the photographer.
This is my mantra, originally written by a retired street photographer friend from Scotland and slightly edited.
Street shooting is maybe the hardest niche of all in photography both to explain and to do. The photographer haunts his chosen environment where, perhaps, nothing is happening - people may be just quietly going about their business - and yet he/she to select tiny moments when an image can be snatched which is more than the sum of its parts - where some fleeting coincidence of expression, gesture, positioning, and movement come together to create an instant which holds some undefinable meaning.
The difficulty comes in seeing the potential scene, framing it in your mind, getting to the right spot and capturing the moment.
The meaning or the idea can be big or little, it can be a statement about major issues or just a wordless comment on what the photographer sees but, in my mind, there has to be something beyond just a capture or its just empty.
Very good and succinct discussion on successful street photography, Lew. It is equally instructive in pointing out what is not successful in that genre.
Regarding your earlier comment - "The more specific the requirements of any image, the less it is satisfactory to a wide group." I agree that this is true, generally. But a photograph can be obscure, can make the viewer work a bit, and still be "satisfactory". Your own example, "Salway River Ferry", is an example of an image that is subtle and requires more attention and thought from the viewer but, given that effort, it is very satisfactory.
This is almost exactly the conclusion I had when I first saw this shot, but I wasn't able to communicate it as succinctly as Lew did without it coming off overly negative, so I'm very glad to see that Lew took the time to share.
The other initial thought I had on this image is that it has a slight tilt, which doesn't seem to serve any purpose. The first thing I would do in PP is to correct that.
Lew, this is a very well written and concise description of what makes good street photography. I'd love to see you post something similar on your blog or in a new thread here called something like "On Street Photography" so that it will get a wider audience and discussion, since many will overlook it in this thread.
I liked the shot. You captured the 2 women in similar poses with pursed lips. I would have gone in tighter or cropped the image in post. I realize that getting the shot is not always easy and when you see the similarity, it's time to fire away to capture the moment. I took the liberty of cropping it to show you why i liked it. I think you should continue this effort and post what you get.
I think I wasn't very clear with what I meant. What I meant was not that the meaning couldn't be obscure and require some effort but that if just understanding at all requires some specific narrow knowledge then the picture might not be generally successful.
Say I had a picture of the British Prime Minister holding the wife of the American vice-President in a passionate embrace. The meaning of the picture would be lost except to political aficionandos. That's what I meant by specific knowledge.
Lew, thank you for taking your time and give us such valuable information.
Of course mastering this (or other) kind of photography is very hard to achieve (if ever). It's the long journey that is the fun part of it, specially for the unpretentious enthusiast. It's great when we look back and see improvement, and more, when we were able to put some of us on it.
I've been looking at a lot of great photographers works, and under my ignorance, a lot of it attracts me a lot (tho I can't always say exactly why) and some doesn't much (again, I can't say exactly why). I really like Elliott Erwitt, as I do identify myself a lot with Jay Maisel's work. I like better the spontaneous shots than the very well prepared ones. I like to shoot @ something that caught my attention, even tho I can't always tell why.
I fully agree with your mantra, I don't look for disgraced people or hungry children. I prefer color to B&W, and I know I'm shooting a lot of garbage lately But having much more fun now than when standing a couple of hours by the sea, composing and waiting for the right light for that perfect landscape shot.
I now take one camera always with me :smile:
Mike, I feel that your crop is too close as it eliminates the poster with the tagline that serves to reinforce the "lips" motif.
Here's my attempt:
Basically I straightened the image, tightened the crop and then dodged both of the faces a bit to help draw the viewer's attention to them.
I like DJK's crop. I think the most distracting thing about the image is the reflection in the window next to red lips' head.
I'd appreciate any reads and comments on this Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | What is Street Photography? - and what it isn't
I think this image meets your street photography criteria ( which is specific and broad at the same time I might add). I posted it earlier this year but won't comment on it any further because I am curious if it meets that criteria for street photography to anyone else who cares to view it. (And my apologies for jacking the original thread but I think we're on to something here that has educational potential for all interested.)
It's up to the OP about discussing anything else.
Hi Lew, thanks for the link. You have a lot of interesting points. Do you prefer comments there or here on the continuation of this thread?
What happened to the post, Lew? I read it (printed a copy actually) before it was taken down and I think it was a very well-written treatise. It was the best concise description of the genre that I have come across. I'm not a practitioner of street photography (I just don't really have the "balls"), but your essay really made me want to give it a try.
Your point about every great image needing to tell a "story" or "say something" can really be applied to more than just this one genre. Developing that "vision" of the image is (to me) probably the most important single skill that many shooters lack and it's what separates the best from the pack.
Link is down right now