How I got into Street Photography

Being a child of the 70’s & 80’s I took many photos as a kid on various film cameras. I started taking photography seriously in the summer of 2000, when I bought my first SLR, an analog Canon EOS300. The reason I bought it was because I was going to Athens on vacation and I wanted to capture the magic and memories from such an amazing city. I then began to read up on books and the internet all about photography and the techniques needed to understand  and achieve decent photos. I learned about lighting, exposure settings & composition and practised these fundamental skills, on various subjects such as people, architecture and nature. Each year I would learn more techniques and apply them.

In 2004 I got my first digital camera, a Sony Cybershot P10, it was 5 megapixels and I was happy at the almost instant results of taking a photo and the photo could be online in minutes. My film SLR then began to collect dust, and I was happy with my small point and shoot. However my photography began to suffer. I became lazy… I relied on Autofocus, I relied on automatic settings and my photos began to look like everyone else. About 7 years later (2007). I got bored and my passion withered.

My new Passion which began in 2006 was Parkour, a discipline that enables a practioner (known as a Traceur) to overcome physical obstacles using their body to jump, climb, vault etc. It was mainly urban based and I found myself on the streets almost everyday training.  When walking to various training spots I would often see a lot of beautiful, interesting and magical things on the streets, I would often think, if only I had my camera… The photography flame re-ignited.

I used my latest at the time, another digital point and shoot, a Sony Cyber T100, but soon realised how limited it was, due to the lack of manual controls and the small sensor was poor in low light environments. I was finding Street Photography a bit frustrating as my camera could not handle the low light and dark winter was now setting in. So I decided in 2008  to save up and buy a Digital SLR, a Canon 40D.

In 2008 I then joined the online website flickr, which gave me fantastic support through like minded photographers and the fun and passion was in full flow. I now had full control of my focus and exposure settings all set to manual. I invested in my first decent wide angled Lens 17-40mm L f4 Lens. This lens was and still is great! The 17mm allowed me to get very close and often involved in peoples spaces, and this came across in my photos. The reason I never used a telephoto lens is I did not was my photos to come across voyeuristic and looking creepy, capturing shots from a distance. I wanted the viewer to feel a connection with the subject and their environment; to feel like they where there. To feel the emotion, see the  juxtaposition or perfect timing.

Further on I invested in two very fast primes lenses, which allowed better quality photos, through sharper optics, better low light performance and creamy bokeh should I need it for subject to background separation. Part of me missed the Analog side to photography, so I bought an old, but in perfect working order, a fully manual, all mechanical 1950’s former Soviet Fed2 rangefinder. So I can now shoot both Digital and Analog.

I have been shooting Street Photography (at the time of this post) for 3 years now and working on a couple of documentary projects in the last year, that I feel passionate about. Working with Analog film again is helping to sharpening up my vision and the techniques that I have learned. I carry a camera everyday with me, and it is exciting not knowing what could be just around the corner…

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