STREET PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE PURISTby Chris Weeks
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
Written by Chris Weeks, a professional photographer living in Los Angeles and also member of deviantArt, the e-book starts with the contributions by photographers such as Severin Koller, Michael Kaiser, Matthew Craig, Rainer Pawellek, Deborah Delasio, Errol Lyons-Rainey, Darren Abate, Massimiliano Mortillaro and Bernhard Wolf; it is a sort of collection of the experiences, thoughts and preferences of the mentioned photographers, about the definition of street photography, the way a street photographer works, the tool he should use, the magic of turning everyday acts into extraordinary, the thrill of capturing time, seizing moments, emotions, actions, and it features remarkable photos. Strictly b/w film ones, because let's get this straight immediately, the 'purist' in question believes that there is only one way to take street photos: on film, in black and white, with a rangefinder, and in particular a Leica. No colors. No crops, only rectangular frames. Grain. No digital noise ('Grain is beautiful. Noise is a digitally contrive ugly mess). 35 mm original format. No-auto-anything. ("No auto-program will see it like the photographer sees it ". "I mean ... let a fucking camera pick the f/stop? A sin. A camera does not or should not think. That is the job for a photographer."). The photographer should know the settings by heart and by practice.
I suggest you to read this e-book. If you are a purist, you will find your perfect place. If you own a Leica or at least you shoot film, it will help you deal with your guilty feelings toward the amount of money you wast .ehm spent.
If you are not a film shooter and you are masochist, you will have a blast.
But even if you are a digital shooter and you are not masochist, I still suggest you to read this book. Because it is free. Because Chris is frankly often hilarious ("Street is difficult. Nothing easy is worthwhile. Unless she has a daddy complex and an oral fixation. Sorry. Couldn't resist. It's great fucking exercise too! Wear really comfortable shoes. I prefer sneakers. Not Converse, though, unless, that is, you live on the East Side and it's cool. ").
Because this book won't make street photography seem easy, but it will remember the importance of getting the right photo straight in the camera. It will remind you to rely on your eye and skills instead than on photoshop and cropping and filters. It will teach you to know your tools, become a human light meter. It will teach you that composition must come natural to a photographer. Because it will remind you the importance of learning to anticipate a moment as if there was no second chance (as if you couldn't check your photo in a LCD screen and try again). Appreciate and respect the fleeting moment.
Amongst the Leica flattery (or like Chris says himself 'The Leica fucking snob' or the 'Leica-asshole' stuff) there are good insights and inputs.
And finally because (unless you are the happy owner of a Leica) this e-book will be a good test for your determination to be a street photographer. If you can swallow or shrug off sentences like the following and virtually tell Chris Weeks 'Fuck off, I'll show you what I can do with my not-Leica piece of digital crap' .you have the hard core, patience, ad resistance to frustration to be a street photographer:
Just some quotes to prepare you for the reading:
"If you think I'm going to say you can make street photographs with any type of camera, you are sorely mistaken."
"Like I said, "You have to be in the thick of it." In the middle of the action.With a tool that is well suited for its job.The rangefinder. Whatever your flavour or taste or budget dictates. The rangefinder is the benevolent concealed weapon. They are known for fast lenses. They make an almost imperceptible sound when the shutter is tripped. Being able to see compositional elements come and go in and out of one's frame lines is invaluable. There is no substitute.You can make your arguments against what I just said. But ... you just don't know. If it's because all you have is an SLR or a little digi-cam, that doesn't make your point valid."
"Street photography is black and white. And many lovely shades of gray. And shadow. That are ONLY film."
"Street photography is defined by what the greats did back in the twenties and thirties and forties and fifties. It's black and white. It's made with a rangefinder."
"Use the Leica. A tool that is the only perfect tool for making street photographs."
"I'm sure some of you have come away with the impression that I only feel one should attempt street photography with a rangefinder and more specifically a Leica M body fitted with Leica glass. Sure. Okay.
Buying Leica gear is not going to make you HCB or Doisneau. No way.
If you are, however, willing to commit yourself and practice the art that is street photography, learning with a rangefinder and watching subjects drift in and out of one's framelines is the best way to learn the art.
You can't do that with a little digi.
You can't do that with an SLR.
Film or digital.
You may even read this and think I'm a film snob. Perhaps I am.
Stripping your saturation and pumping up your contrast does not make a black and white photo ... It makes a photo-manipulation.
If you, in fact, want to print these digital manipulations as sixteen-by-twenty exhibition prints ... watch as your photo falls apart into that which is digital noise.
Grain is beautiful; noise is ugly. "
So, take your Maalox and start reading