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Traditional Street Photography


fimgirl

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I have been doing my best to understand but I finally have to admit, I just do not get the whole street photography thing! There I said it and I just hope I do not step on someone's sensitive toes.

I have been reading and poring through Ming Thein's images and articles since I was made aware of his website from a posting here in our forum. Some of his stuff I like but the majority seems to be street photography and it simply puts me to sleep. Here are my observations and I hope someone can please tell me why it appeals to so many.

1) Most are B&W shots. OK, I like a good B&W as much as the next guy especially the great images by Ansel Adams. But wouldn't color make the street photography more realistic and interesting?

2) Most street images are (to me) boring. I see the same things almost every time I step out on the streets. What is so wonderful about taking a photo of the mundane? And then, to add to the boredom, they make it B&W. I don't get it.

3) In Ming's photos, I know that his compositions are good (leading lines, good light, shapes and so on) but the subject matter which may be the side of a building and a palm tree are not exciting, they're boring as hell. I don't get it! Should we try to take photos for the sake of compositional rules and really not be concerned if the subject matter is the corner of a building? Yawn!

I feel that I am really showing my ignorance of street photography here but I really would like to understand what makes it so appealing to so many people. I can imagine that many people will also say the same thing about landscape photography but at least I can argue that, in a good landscape image, the image has innate beauty.

Anyway, I will await the onslaught of feedback on this posting.

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^^ Fiddles, you simply misunderstand the whole 'shooting' thing.

When people said "try shooting with a canon" they did not mean this . . .

ships-cannon.jpg

There's no optics or sensor in this thing. It just doesn't work well as a camera. You could try fitting a plate and film at the back and a shutter in there somewhere, but it's still going to be too heavy to carry around. It will also cause mass breakouts of this peculiar phenomenon, where people dress up as civil war soldiers and cause themselves minor burn injuries on a Sunday . . .

2012-08-02-10-36-07-civil%20war.jpg

I hope this clarifies traditional street shooting for you. Because beyond that I haven't a clue about it either.

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I have been doing my best to understand but I finally have to admit, I just do not get the whole street photography thing! There I said it and I just hope I do not step on someone's sensitive toes.

I have been reading and poring through Ming Thein's images and articles since I was made aware of his website from a posting here in our forum. Some of his stuff I like but the majority seems to be street photography and it simply puts me to sleep. Here are my observations and I hope someone can please tell me why it appeals to so many.

1) Most are B&W shots. OK, I like a good B&W as much as the next guy especially the great images by Ansel Adams. But wouldn't color make the street photography more realistic and interesting?

2) Most street images are (to me) boring. I see the same things almost every time I step out on the streets. What is so wonderful about taking a photo of the mundane? And then, to add to the boredom, they make it B&W. I don't get it.

3) In Ming's photos, I know that his compositions are good (leading lines, good light, shapes and so on) but the subject matter which may be the side of a building and a palm tree are not exciting, they're boring as hell. I don't get it! Should we try to take photos for the sake of compositional rules and really not be concerned if the subject matter is the corner of a building? Yawn!

I feel that I am really showing my ignorance of street photography here but I really would like to understand what makes it so appealing to so many people. I can imagine that many people will also say the same thing about landscape photography but at least I can argue that, in a good landscape image, the image has innate beauty.

Anyway, I will await the onslaught of feedback on this posting.

I feel that a lot of Ming Thein's shots are more exercises in composition than street photos. This one for example, although not a street shot, is great composition:

11415457656_e3df02d681_z.jpg

_RX10_DSC0078 copy by mingthein, on Flickr

Photo from Ming Thein's Flickr

It's just a bloody electric fan for goodness sake! But somehow, to me, he has created an interesting image.

Anyway, back to street photography. " I see the same things almost every time I step out on the streets. What is so wonderful about taking a photo of the mundane? " Street photography is capturing the moments that you and I probably wouldn't see and creating something interesting out of the mundane. There are plenty of examples of real street photography on the web, Google is your friend. Here are some: http://121clicks.com/inspirations/the-best-street-photographer-portfolios-for-inspiration-part3

Mundane? Something you see when you step out on the streets? The sort of shots you could take?

Alternatively, additionally, just look at some of Henri Cartier Bresson's work.

I think that recognising and capturing a good street photo is very difficult, certainly beyond my capabilities. To improve I suspect you have to get out on the street and just watch and learn and shoot as much as possible; then one day you might get an acceptable shot.

Why black and white? Because the streets are full of colour which can often distract from the structure/texture/intention of the image. The photo of the lady that I posted further up the thread, had that problem. Her produce was a mass of colour, but her clothing was drab and the overall effect was that you ended up looking at the product and not the lady. B&W solved that; although I will admit that it is not a good example of street photography; just someone on the street.

Finally, back to Ming Thein. He has some guidelines on his perception of street photography: http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/11/02/what-is-street-photography/

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^^ Sunshine posted a pic he took of a dirty old blue plastic chair in a truly awful setting.

It's a genius photo.

People like Sunshine, Ming Thein and even Rabbit . . . they've just got it. I don't know what it is. I guess it's this ability to 'see' and react in time with the correct camera settings.

My 3,500,000 estimated shutter count at randomized settings, does by means of mathematical probability, produce the occasional decent shot.

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I have been doing my best to understand but I finally have to admit, I just do not get the whole street photography thing! There I said it and I just hope I do not step on someone's sensitive toes.

I have been reading and poring through Ming Thein's images and articles since I was made aware of his website from a posting here in our forum. Some of his stuff I like but the majority seems to be street photography and it simply puts me to sleep. Here are my observations and I hope someone can please tell me why it appeals to so many.

1) Most are B&W shots. OK, I like a good B&W as much as the next guy especially the great images by Ansel Adams. But wouldn't color make the street photography more realistic and interesting?

2) Most street images are (to me) boring. I see the same things almost every time I step out on the streets. What is so wonderful about taking a photo of the mundane? And then, to add to the boredom, they make it B&W. I don't get it.

3) In Ming's photos, I know that his compositions are good (leading lines, good light, shapes and so on) but the subject matter which may be the side of a building and a palm tree are not exciting, they're boring as hell. I don't get it! Should we try to take photos for the sake of compositional rules and really not be concerned if the subject matter is the corner of a building? Yawn!

I feel that I am really showing my ignorance of street photography here but I really would like to understand what makes it so appealing to so many people. I can imagine that many people will also say the same thing about landscape photography but at least I can argue that, in a good landscape image, the image has innate beauty.

Anyway, I will await the onslaught of feedback on this posting.

I feel that a lot of Ming Thein's shots are more exercises in composition than street photos. This one for example, although not a street shot, is great composition:

11415457656_e3df02d681_z.jpg

_RX10_DSC0078 copy by mingthein, on Flickr

Photo from Ming Thein's Flickr

It's just a bloody electric fan for goodness sake! But somehow, to me, he has created an interesting image.

Anyway, back to street photography. " I see the same things almost every time I step out on the streets. What is so wonderful about taking a photo of the mundane? " Street photography is capturing the moments that you and I probably wouldn't see and creating something interesting out of the mundane. There are plenty of examples of real street photography on the web, Google is your friend. Here are some: http://121clicks.com/inspirations/the-best-street-photographer-portfolios-for-inspiration-part3

Mundane? Something you see when you step out on the streets? The sort of shots you could take?

Alternatively, additionally, just look at some of Henri Cartier Bresson's work.

I think that recognising and capturing a good street photo is very difficult, certainly beyond my capabilities. To improve I suspect you have to get out on the street and just watch and learn and shoot as much as possible; then one day you might get an acceptable shot.

Why black and white? Because the streets are full of colour which can often distract from the structure/texture/intention of the image. The photo of the lady that I posted further up the thread, had that problem. Her produce was a mass of colour, but her clothing was drab and the overall effect was that you ended up looking at the product and not the lady. B&W solved that; although I will admit that it is not a good example of street photography; just someone on the street.

Finally, back to Ming Thein. He has some guidelines on his perception of street photography: http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/11/02/what-is-street-photography/

FR,

Thank you for taking the time to reply with an articulate response. I understand what you are saying but I guess I lack the capacity to appreciate the images of the street photographer. Let's take the fan image that you posted that was taken by Ming. I see an interesting image that captures good light, shapes and lines and I think it is successful in that respect BUT once I have seen it, I have no desire to dwell on it or to go back to it again and again as I would an image captured by Steve McCurry. I could (and do) go back and admire his images again and again and again and . . .

Perhaps it's personal taste. Based upon your explanation I guess I can say I sorta get it, I just can't truly appreciate it.

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Fiddles,

Go out and try and replicate the streeties work. Have a go, could be interesting.

You may be right but my heart would not be in it I am afraid. I have learned quite a bit from reading Ming's stuff and much of what he espouses pertains to all genres of photography. I know that I can apply what he teaches in my pursuit of landscape work as well as travel photography. I would rather expend my efforts there. I would be more apt to focus on a McCurry type of image (strong color, environmental portrait) than a Thein image.

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