I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time, and Alexander Merc’s Guest Post last week on the Battle of Street Photography further inspired me. Unsurprisingly, as a member of Street Hunters, one way and another, I see quite a lot of street photos every day. The photos I see are a mix of street shots submitted by the established street photography big hitters, photos presented by up-and-coming street photographers, and photos from those just starting out on their street photography journey. The work I see is at all kinds of levels – some of it totally blows me away, at other times I can clearly see when a photographer needs more time and practice to develop their skills.
The Problem With Black and White Street Photography
There is something in particular that I identify more often than not in a street photographer’s work, and it’s often particularly evident in a street photographer who’s at an early stage in their photographic journey. I’m talking about shooting street photographs exclusively in black and white. Or as I see it, neglecting the importance of colour in a street photography. I firmly believe that some photographers when they first start out with street photography are holding themselves back by shooting exclusively in monochrome, and they should really consider using colour.
Street Photo of the week by Khalik Allah
Khalik Allah is a Street Photographer from New York, USA that works in Harlem. He shoots in the streets day and night using a Nikon F2 film camera with a Nikkor 55mm 1.2 Lens and Kodak Porta film. As he himself says, he became a photographer the minute he started using a fully manual camera. In his words, he likes a camera that he can dictate, a camera that he can tell it what to do. According to Khalik knowledge increases when you walk the streets holding a camera in hand, documenting the moments that present themselves to you. So doing Street Photography increases his knowledge and through that he better understands himself. It is a process of learning and evolving. Khalik Allah is a Street Photographer that has been inspired by life surrounding him but also and most importantly by his father, who used to take him out when he was young and photograph him. When he got older he asked his father for that camera. The minute he got his father’s camera, his first manual camera, a whole new world opened up in front of him.
Street Photo of the week by Saul Leiter
This week, we recognise Saul Leiter as the Master of Photography he surely is. Dying, alas, always brings images of the person to the fore and for most the homage bears upon a single image or series. For Saul Leiter this is impossible. Even though known for certain attributes such as; having a ‘painterly quality’ in his photographs which his contemporaries didn’t, or being able to use colour to push the emotional feeling in his images. He is known for colour rather than an image. Having looked through as much as we can find of his oeuvre we noticed Leiters work always appears to be peeking out or through, almost always another pane of glass between him and the happening he photographs,not just the lens.
Street Photo of the week by Dimitris Makrygiannakis
We thought that for this week a colour photo would be best. So we looked at our list of the 50-60 Street Photographers we already have decided to promote in this weekly feature and decided to share Dr. Dimitris Makrygiannakis’s work with you this Friday.
Dimitris Makrygiannakis, a.k.a. ngravity is a gifted Street Photographer with an eye for the smart moment, the moment that can be considered symbolic. After observing his work it is obvious that Dimitris really pushes the boundaries of Street Photography, creating illusions through coinciding moments. This is very hard to achieve and needs a lot of practise and as he himself said, he wouldn’t have evolved in the way he has if he hadn’t devoted himself 100% to Street Photography for a few months. Dimitris lives and works as a doctor in Sweden and is originally from Greece.
I’ll be honest, I prefer my street photography mono. It’s classic. Like Rob Heron has said, it has a timeless feel to it. However, I’m slowly warming up to shooting color. I believe this is because I’m technically becoming a better shooter. I have found my beginning shots that are simpler, more stark mono compositions have yielded some pretty palatable results. However, the more I shoot, and the more I grow in my skill set, the more I like the more vivid, rich color pieces. Let me try to explain why.
Being still very much a novice to street photography, and photography in general, I keep things very simple. I shoot JPEGS only. The reasons why is this: Due to schedules, I have an extremely small window of opportunity to shoot every week. So, I spend what free time I have just shooting a TON of pictures, practicing my composition skills and working on building my technical skill set. Eventually, when I think I’m ready, I’ll shoot RAW, and that wonderful world and the full glory of post processing that goes with it, will be a new bag of tricks to play with.