Thu, 11 Jun 2015 17:03:33 +0000Layers
I have not been in to layers in my Street photography over the last forty years. I almost reserved the layers for landscape, so I don’t have a single great layer image. I guess its not as easy in Street as we would like to think.
My style of Street is all about being invisible and allowing the layers to hide me so then using layers takes a lot of thought.
When I am not teaching or talking I like to just go out and see what I can capture, the ever elusive decisive moment just slips away time after time if I am not in the correct state of mind so adding layers can be an added distraction.
It’s an area I need to work on and add back in to my Street style. I can work it into my events so just need to squeeze it into my Street.
Layers sounds so simple. All you have to do is include something that grabs the viewers attention in the front, middle and background, but its not as easy as it sounds. Too many subjects and you get confused, not enough and it just won’t work.
To start a layer you need a foreground subject that draws you into the frame. It could just be a hand, afoot or partly obscured face, something to anchor you to the front layer whilst your eyes start to search for the next anchor point. This is the hard part for a candid shooter because you have to wait, out on the streets for your subjects to align and this means stopping and standing still. My style is to keep moving! Some adjustments need to be made to my style to achieve better layers.
Some people like to layer with a huge depth of field, others like to layer with a thin depth of field and lots of out of focus areas. I think I am in the middle and my tastes change week in week out. I know the key is to use a wide depth of field to get lots of information onto the sensor or film but I just love narrow bands of focus. I think the way forward is to use at least three different subjects spread out in the frame from front to rear. Making great layers from our cluttered world is not easy but it can be done. Simple layering does not make it a great Street image it can just make it a layered image.
In a way the more subjects you have the better it is in layering unless you have some perfectly spaced single people groups of people which work very well. Perspective plays a big part with the person closest to you huge in the frame and the people in the distance very small. It’s all then down to spacing, shapes and symmetry.
This workers even better if the closest person in the frame complements some of the subjects throughout the frame or stands out like a sore thumb. Look for the unusual interesting subject, the person in a pink cowboy hat with a yellow thong or that odd pair of legs or arms sticking out at a strange angle or even better some element of humor.
I am always on the lookout for great layers and one of the best tips I can give is to gain some height and shoot down or get low and shoot up. This creates different levels making the layers stand out. People at different levels also work well.
It’s something I must think about more in my own work and if you are out shooting layers why not enter them in the second stage of the Clifton Cameras #streetlife competition and win yourself a Fujifilm X100T and possibly even a day trip to Paris with me.
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:50:01 +0000I think I am in Love !Fujifilm X-T1 XF16mm f1.4 WR ISO1600 1/250sec f/8
I am lost for words and that does not happen very often, this new Fujinon XF16MM F/1.4 WR is just stunning ! One of my biggest reasons changing over from Nikon to Fuji was the Glass and size of the system of course but the glass and future glass was the draw so I took a leap of faith away from Nikon’s amazing pro glass and it looks like I landed on a bed of four leaf clovers ! Fuji are just making one amazing lens after the other. I have only had limited time to try out this new lens as I have been so busy but here are a few images from last weekend. I will aim to get some more images in Brighton this weekend if I can sneak some time in for myself.
Its full frame equivalent of 24mm is just stunning for Street. I have been going with the trend in Street for a while were getting close is not close enough but have always wanted to go back to my old film ways of something wide and something long. Here she is the something wide, boom the 16mm is in the room and this could be my very latest bolt on the camera and leave it there lens taking over from my 35mm f/1.4 that found itself welded to my camera for so long. All I need now is the 90mm f/2 and I will be all set to shoot Street all day and night anywhere in the world. I think I am a little in love with this lens, and that has not happened for a very long time.Fujifilm X-T1 XF16mm f1.4 WR ISO250 1/250sec f/5.6 Fujifilm X-T1 XF16mm f1.4 WR ISO1600 1/250sec f/5.6 Fujifilm X-T1 XF16mm f1.4 WR ISO5000 1/250sec f/8
Fri, 22 May 2015 09:13:24 +0000Street photography workshops with X-Photographer Matt Hart
Originally posted on The Fujifilm Blog:
If you’d like to learn more about Street Photography, there’s no better way than to get some hands-on advice from an experienced professional photographer who specialises in candid street shooting.
Who is Matt Hart?
Matt Hart is a black and white Street and Event Photographer based in Liverpool. He is an official Fujifilm X Photographer; a Formatt Hitech featured Artist and the founder of The Fujiholics Social Media Group.
Matt is passionate about Street Photography, he has developed the skill to observe and be virtually invisible, letting the world carry on around him without affecting the scene. The subject is unaware. Matt keeps the system and process as simple as possible so as not to over complicate the task. This is why he has chosen the Fuji X system for his professional work which helps him to achieve his style.
Matt was recently voted for in a list of the…
View original 720 more words
Mon, 18 May 2015 05:23:38 +0000Fuji X-T10 and 90mm f/2 What a great Street Combo
I started out with a pair of Nikon Fm2 Film Body’s shooting with a 20mm or 50mm lens and a 135mm lens.These were great for Street Photography and Travel Photography. Some of the great photographers of the past used the same combination as these lenses would cover most situations. The 135mm was a great portrait lens and I have missed this lens ever since I went digital.
I have been looking for the equivalent combination for my Street Photography so I can shoot with two decent prime lenses and matched bodies. Well the day has come, the perfect lens and body combination has landed ! I can now shoot my X-T1 with 35mm or 16mm with an X-T10 and 90mm f2 on my X-T1.
I am very excited about these two great Fuji products being launched at the same time as I think they are made for each other !
The X-T10 features an APS-C X-TransTM*3 CMOS II sensor with built-in phase detection AF. Coupled with a high-performance image processing engine and FUJINON lenses, the camera delivers excellent resolution and outstanding image quality, backed by unique colour reproduction technology. The X-T10 uses a new AF system. This offers Fujifilm’s conventional 49-point AF mode for high speed and precision focusing, as well as new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes that track subject movement across a larger 77-point area, substantially improving the camera’s ability to capture moving subjects. Combined with the AF-C capability and the continuous shooting speed of up to 8.0fps*4, the camera delivers the high quality images that have become synonymous with the X Series, across a broader range of photographic situations.
Key features of the Fujifilm X-T10
(1) All-new design packs X Series’ operability into a compact and lightweight body
The design of the compact and lightweight body bears all the hallmarks of an X Series camera. Both top and base plates are made of a lightweight, but highly rigid, die-cast magnesium. The top plate features three precision-milled aluminium dials which give the X-T10 a premium feel and allow users to intuitively adjust the combination of aperture, shutter speed and shooting functions while concentrating on picture taking.
Additionally, the back panel has a 3-inch 920K-dot tilting LCD monitor suitable for both above head and close to the ground shooting. Two colour options will be available: Black and Silver.
- It is equipped with an Auto Mode Switch lever for selecting the fully-automatic Advanced SR Auto mode. In this mode, the camera automatically chooses the optimum settings for a given scene to make shooting effortless.
- Each of the two command dials and seven function buttons featured can be customized so that you can tailor the camera to your needs.
- The body also features an integral pop-up flash,positioned in the center of the top plate.The built-in Super Intelligent Flash automatically adjusts light output according to the scene type.
(2) Real Time Viewfinder
With a magnification of 0.62x and a display lag time of just 0.005sec, the X-T10 has a large, fast viewfinder. It offers a clear; high-definition live view thanks to the new 2.36million dot organic EL electronic viewfinder, plus visibility has been improved by automatically controlling finder brightness according to the ambient light levels. The live view display can also be set to the “Preview Pic. Effect” option to reflect the shooting conditions and offer a natural view close to that of the naked eye. The viewfinder’s eye sensor will also automatically orientate the information when the camera is positioned vertically; something that’s not possible on models with optical viewfinders.
(3) The X-TransTM CMOS II Sensor and EXR Processor II engine combine to deliver outstanding image quality and high speed performance
The camera features Fujifilm’s APS-C 16.3 megapixel X-Trans™ CMOS II sensor. Its unique, random colour filter array reduces moiré and false colours without having to use an optical low pass filter. The elimination of the low pass filter, which compromises image quality, means a greater amount of light reaches the sensor. Combined with the EXR Processor II image processor, this means the sensor delivers outstanding resolution and low noise.
- Fujifilm combined the processor’s noise reduction function with the technology for mounting circuit boards to reduce noise in high sensitivity images. This has enabled the ISO setting of up to 51200*5. Even at an ultra-high sensitivity, the camera produces low noise and strong blacks, thereby broadening photographic potential in low light conditions.
- The camera features the unique Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) *6 image processing technology to deliver the best possible image quality. Using optical performance and other characteristics of each lens, LMO corrects optical defects such as diffraction*7 to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness and a realistic three-dimensional effect.
- The unique on-sensor phase detection AF system focuses in an ultra-fast 0.06 sec*8. With the high-speed EXR Processor II image processor, the camera starts up in just 0.5sec*9, has a shutter time lag of 0.05sec and shooting interval of 0.5sec*10.
(4) New AF system with Zone and Wide/Tracking modes for effortless capture of moving subjects
- The new AF system offers Fujifilm’s standard 49-point Single Point mode for high speed and precision focusing, as well as the new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes that use a larger 77-point area to capture moving subjects.
- Zone mode allows users to select a 3×3, 5×3 or 5×5 zone out of the 77-point AF area. During AF-C focus, the camera continually tracks a subject, positioned at the centre of the zone. The centrally positioned 3×3 and 5×3 zones, in particular, delivers fast focusing thanks to the on-sensor phase detection AF.
The Wide/Tracking mode is a combination of the Wide mode (during AF-S), in which the camera automatically identifies and tracks the area in focus across the 77-point AF area, and
- the predictive Tracking mode (during AF-C), which uses the entire 77-point area to continue tracking a subject. This feature enables continuous focusing on a subject that is moving up and down, left and right or towards and away from the camera.
- The Single Point mode divides the focus area into smaller sections to accurately determine the distance to the subject for greater focusing precision. The working range of the on-sensor phase detection AF has been improved from 2.5EV to 0.5EV so phase detection AF works at high speed even in low light conditions or on a low contrast subject.
- The camera features Eye Detection AF, which automatically detects and focuses on human eyes. The function allows you to easily focus on the eyes even in difficult conditions – when shooting a portrait with a very wide aperture to obtain strong bokeh effects, for example.
- The Auto Macro function automatically activates the Macro mode while maintaining AF speed, eliminating any need to press the Macro button to capture a close-up. This allows you to re-assign the Macro button to a different function.
- The optimised algorithm delivers a smoother and more natural AF action during video recording.
- With the combination of the phase detection AF data and subject motion predictive AF, the camera is capable of continuous shooting with AF-C at up to approx. 8.0fps.
(5) 18 high-performance FUJINON X-mount lenses that deliver premium image quality and expand the scope of photography
The very latest digital technologies have been used to develop X-mount lenses, which offer high-precision optical designs to deliver the highest possible image quality. When designing the lens range, the aim was to achieve edge-to-edge definition for high-resolution imagery across the entire frame and offer the brightest possible maximum aperture for maximum creativity, while maintaining a compact and portable size. The current line-up of 18 lenses ranges from ultra wide-angle to telephoto, including five fast aperture prime lenses. These lenses bring out the very best image quality from the X-T10. Optional accessories such as mount adapters and macro extension tubes further broaden photographic potential.
(6) Perfect your photos with Film Simulation modes and other creative features
Fujifilm’s unprecedented image quality has been created through 80 years of development of photographic films. This technology helps the camera to reproduce warm skin tones, bright blue skies and rich green trees, just as photographers remember the scene. The X-T10 features the latest CLASSIC CHROME Film Simulation mode, which delivers muted tones and deep colours. Users can choose from ten other modes that simulate the effects of traditional Fujifilm films. These include colour reversal film effects (VELVIA/PROVIA/ASTIA), professional colour negative film (PRO Neg.Std / PRO Neg.Hi), monochrome filters (MONOCHROME, Ye filter, R filter and G filter) and SEPIA.
Advanced Filter functions are also available on the X-T10. Users can choose from eight different artistic effects:
Pop Colour – Emphasizes contrast and colour saturation.
Toy Camera – Creates shaded borders as if you were taking a photo on a toy camera.
Miniature – Adds top and bottom blur for a diorama or miniature effect.
Dynamic Tone – Creates a fantasy effect by boosting tones.
Partial Colour – Retains one selected original colour and changes the rest of the photo black & white. Colours can be selected from red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
High Key – Enhances brightness and reduces contrast to lighten tonal reproduction.
Low Key – Creates uniformly dark tones with few highlight areas.
Soft Focus – Creates a look that is soft throughout the whole image.
- The Multiple Exposure function offers users the chance to combine two separate subjects into one photo, perfect for adding people into photos.
- The camera’s aspect ratio can be selected from 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 (square) to accommodate a wide range of photographic styles.
- The camera also features an ADVANCED SR AUTO mode, which recognizes faces and every scene type to automatically optimise the focus, exposure, ISO and other settings.
- Interval timer shooting for time lapse photography is available with intervals of one second to 24 hours and up to 999 frames.
- A completely silent electronic shutter that is capable of exposures up to 1/32000sec. has been added. Photos with a shallow depth-of-field can now be shot with the aperture wide open on snowy fields or the beach under clear skies. As there are no mechanically operated parts, candid shots of animals and sleeping babies can be captured more easily than ever before.
Other features include the Digital Split Image for precise manual focusing, and Focus Peaking, which highlights high-contrast areas of the subject’s outlines. These areas can be highlighted in white, red or blue, providing a focusing guide even when photographing a scene that’s tricky to focus on.
(7) Full HD video with the X-TransTM CMOS II sensor
- 60fps smooth Full HD movies can be shot with the X-T10. 50fps, 30fps, 25fps and 24fps frame rates are also available.
- Film Simulation modes, including the latest CLASSIC CHROME, and detailed white balance setting is also possible.
- Manual exposure can also be set during movie shooting. Aperture, shutter speed*11 and ISO sensitivity can be changed enabling movies to be shot using an exposure of the user’s preference.
- High-speed, high-precision focusing is made possible by activating Intelligent Hybrid AF, which switches between phase-detection AF and contrast AF according to the scene, even during movie shooting. Manual focus is also possible.
- Six types of scene recognition functions can be used, or it can be left up to the camera to capture beautiful movies.
- A high bit rate of 36Mbps enables high definition capture of delicate movements.
(8) Built in Wi-Fi for shooting from your smartphone or tablet devices*12.
- By downloading the free FUJIFILM Camera Remote app to your smartphone or tablet device, users can use the Remote Control function, which allows a wealth of control, even from a distance. This functionality is great for a wide variety of shots, including group photos, self-portraits and animals in their natural habitat.
- Photos and videos can be sent to devices such as your smartphone with an easy one-touch operation. Pictures and videos on the camera can be browsed, selected, and imported using your smartphone, all without the hassle of inputting an ID or password. It is also possible to add location information acquired by the smartphone or tablet to the image.
- Photos can be sent directly from the camera to the Instax SHARE Smartphone Printer for instant Instax prints.
- Wi-Fi® Transfer*13 is supported, enabling wireless backup of the data to a computer*14.
(9) Premium accessory line-up
- Leather Case BLC-XT10
A stylish authentic leather case that has a wonderfully tactile feel and perfectly suits the X-T10’s classic design. With the X-T10 snugly protected, you can even change batteries without removing the camera. A matching leather shoulder strap and protective cloth are included.
- Hand Grip MHG-XT10
To increase the camera’s grip. Both battery and memory card can be swapped with the grip in place. Additionally, a tripod screw hole can be placed in centre of the optical axis and the base parts are equipped with a 38mm width dovetail protrusion plate, allowing use as a quick shoe mount when using a dovetail groove tripod pedestal.
- M Mount Adapter for additional lens compatibility
- Macro Extension Tube MCEX-16/MCEX-11
Two tubes (16mm and 11mm) are available for fitting between the camera body and an interchangeable lens to enable high magnification macro photography.
- Shoe Mount Flash
There are three types of FUJIFILM external flash, all of which are capable of high-precision TTL auto flash control. The EF-20 and EF-X20 both have a guide number of 20, while EF-42 has a guide number of 42.
- External Stereo Microphone MIC-ST1
Make realistic voice recordings for your high-quality Full HD videos.
- Protector Filters (PRF-39, PRF-52, PRF-58, PRF-62, PRF-67, PRF-72 and PRF-77)
- DC coupler CP-W126
- AC adapter AC-9V
- Remote Release RR-90
*1: Market leading viewfinder magnification ratio. Approx. 0.62x magnification 50mm (35mm format equivalent) at infinity and diopter set to -1.0 m-1.
*2: Fujifilm research as of April 2015.
*3: X-Trans is a trademark or registered trademark of FUJIFILM Corporation.
*4 In CH mode, focus area is limited inside of central 3×3 in Single point and 5×3 in Zone and Wide/Tracking.
*5: Extended output sensitivity.
*6: Unique signal processing technology that reproduces the sharpness of images blurred by diffraction, etc.
*7: When a fine image that should be sharp is blurred when using a stopped down the aperture.
*8: Fujifilm research based on CIPA guidelines using the X-T10 equipped with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens in High Performance mode as of April 2015.
*9: Equipped with XF27mmF2.8 lens in High Performance mode.
*10: MF mode.
*11: Aperture and shutter speed can be changed during shooting. Only shutter speeds faster than the set frame rate can be set.
*12 Android™, smartphone and table devices, iPhone / iPad.
*13 Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance®.
*14 Requires advanced installation of the free dedicated software FUJIFILM PC AutoSave to your computer.
The FUJINON XF90mmF2 R LM WR is a fast-aperture prime lens that delivers ultra-sharp images with rich bokeh even at the maximum aperture setting. The optical construction of 11 elements in 8 groups (including three ED glass elements) minimises vignetting and creates beautiful bokeh thanks to the rounded diaphragm, which makes it perfect for portraiture as well as other applications.
Despite having a large maximum aperture, the FUJINON XF90mmF2 R LM WR is both compact and, at 540g, lightweight while the minimum working distance of 60cm delivers a wide shooting range. A newly-developed Quad Linear Motor delivers fast, accurate autofocus, plus the lens also features a weather- and dust-resistant structure that can work in temperatures down to -10°C.
Along with the popular XF56mmF1.2 R, this is a must-have lens for portrait photography fans that favour fast aperture prime lenses. The focal length allows you to shoot at a distance that won’t intimidate subjects, leading to more natural, candid results.
*1 35mm format equivalent
(1) Ultra-sharp images even at the maximum aperture
The optical construction comprises 11 elements in 8 groups, including three ED (extra low-dispersion) elements, which reduces chromatic aberrations to deliver sharp, rich images even at the widest aperture of F2.0.
(2) Beautiful bokeh
The rounded aperture blades combined with an optical construction designed to minimise vignetting creates beautiful circular bokeh right to the edge of the image. In addition, stunning depth is possible in images thanks to the differentiation between the razor-sharp subject and the bokeh in front and behind it.
(3) High-speed autofocus as fast as 0.14sec*2 thanks to a newly-developed Quad Linear Motor
A linear motor is fast, quiet and accurate, but here four magnets are used for higher torque. The high-speed autofocus provides a more versatile shooting experience, allowing users to quickly react to subtle changes in a subject’s facial expression.
*2 Complies with CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) guidelines, internal measurement, during high performance mode.
(4) Close focusing to 60cm and 0.3x magnification (35mm format equivalent)
The close focusing capabilities of the FUJINON XF90mmF2 R LM WR allow you to isolate key parts of a subject so you can shoot dramatic portraits or close-ups of flowers and insects.
(5) Weather, Dust, and Freeze Resistance
The lens features a weather- and dust-resistant structure with seven seals on the lens barrel. It can also work in temperatures as low as -10°C. This keeps the lens protected from rain, dust and splashes of water when shooting outdoors.
(6) Lightweight and compact
The lens weighs approx 540g, and is compact too, with a filter thread measuring just 62mm. The combined weight with the XF56mm F1.2 R is less than 1kg – great news for portrait photographers who want to travel light and still shoot with prime lenses for sharp images and strong bokeh.
The Fuji X-T10 and the 90mm f/2 will be available to touch and hold in Demo form at Cambrian Photography Show on the 23rd May http://www.cambrianphoto.co.uk/
Thu, 14 May 2015 20:46:23 +0000York Street Workshop
I have had another great weekend teaching Street Photography in the amazing City of York.
York is a great place for Street photography due to the amazing characters and the great atmosphere within the City Walls.
The group got talking at the weekend about attention span these days and the above image is a good example, not a single mobile device in sight ! Nice to see people just taking the world in for a change and not just looking at not so Social Media !
Social Media has also become a ‘like’ culture on posts and images as well as with Street Photography. So many images getting lots of ‘likes’ but I wonder if you asked someone that had just ‘liked’ an image to give you four sentences on the image whether they could ! The same for the over posting of millions of images without any thought, if you cant think of four sentences about your work then why post it ? If it means something to you and you love it then that’s a great start, but look at it again and really ask yourself what do I love about this image ? With Social Media you want your work to stand out from the crowd so post your best work.
I very rarely post more than a few images, I cant stand some of them after a few weeks, but the ones that mean something to me personally and the ones I connect with the most, grow on me more and more as time goes by.
Street Photographers put a lot of time and thought in to some of their images as do lots of other photographers. I wonder how many people take time to have a good look at the image.
We are all guilty of too many ‘likes’, the worst part about friends ‘likes’ and random ‘likes’ is just like a really bad singer on X Factor ! People think they are taking great images when they are not !
I guess that’s why I love the social side of my workshops. The conversations about Street Photography and all other aspects of photography are so much better in real life than a 50/50 debate on Social Media. Its great to just stop and debate an image or subject in the real world with like minded people who give a real subjective view on the world. The trouble with Social Media is friends of friends joining in discussions they know very little about !
I was listening to a chef talking about having a great palate and how his palate had served him well in his career, he was talking about how so many people have tried his food and did not have a clue what they were eating and did not know if it was good or bad as most did not have a palate like his ! I guess that’s a little like photography, so many people on Social Media claim to know what a good image is but so many don’t have a clue and just click ‘like’ ! Millions of people cook every day on this planet but how many great chefs are there or how many great photographers ? Makes you think…
I think its a good idea to buy books and invest in some really good coffee table books and have a real good look at some of the amazing images from the Masters, not just a quick peek and then back on Facebook but a real good look. There is so much to learn its unbelievable.
I think the art of studying and learning is a dying art and people should buy more books and do lots more workshops and courses to help them understand their journey.
I am lucky, I run the workshops so every week get to meet more and more people on my courses who share all their thoughts and feelings with me about Photography and ask me lots and lots of questions. This gives me the opportunity to think more deeply about my own images and the images my workshop attendees produce on my workshops.
I look forward to every workshop session because it really does put the social back in to photography.
I always reinforce the point that on a workshop the chance of getting one great image is very slim, the chance of getting three images is also a very tall ask. The day is more about teaching people to hold and use their camera equipment in a more intuitive way and to learn to see the streets around through different eyes. The so called decisive moment might only happen once a month once a year or if you don’t go out every week it might never happen. The more time you spend out there shooting the more chance the magic will happen, as long as you are looking in the right direction and know what to look for.
How many people have wonky horizons for years and then when they get told about it they start to straighten the image ? Lots and lots, but the point is what else cant they see ?
If you want to join me on one of my many workshops in 2015/2016 here is a full list.
Wed, 06 May 2015 21:32:23 +0000Candid Street Photography
I am a candid Street photographer, there I said it and have been saying it for two years, but how did that happen? I am not even sure myself to be honest. It’s just how people started referring to my work, it’s not a name I gave to myself its just happened over night I can’t even remember how it started.
I have been shooting Street photography in one way or another for all of my life and started about 8 years old with a camera given to me by my parents. I was born Dyslexic and photography was my welcome release from life, school and my own head as I tried to grow up with learning difficulties.
I was not great at photography so had to teach myself and made lots of mistakes along the way. I did all the normal things you do as a kid, shoot long exposures and light trails from cars on roads as well as smoke and water drops, all the photography related things we shoot as we try to learn then people became more interesting.
I started shooting weddings and events at an early age and then glamour. In my spare time my hobby as such was always shooting people, due to the fact I shot people at weddings and people at events and spent my time posing them or talking to them I preferred to shoot my street in a candid way.
I did not read many books as reading was such a slow process for me in my early years so I just found out the more time I spent with a camera and the more time I spent in the dark room, the more I found out about photography. I did get a few photography books but they were all about the images and not the text.
I learnt very early on how to critique my own work, I am my worst critic. I shot the odd landscape and had wonky horizons for years until I started to look at my work in a more critical way. The funny thing is finding out for yourself, can’t even get an horizon straight, now that makes you look more deeply at your work. If you can’t notice something as simple as that what else was I missing.
I had a house fire many years ago and lost everything in my house from my vinyl collection to all my photos and negatives! Quite a few survived but mostly family images, it stopped me in my tracks for years and I also lost my cameras and the insurance was out of date by a few weeks. Shame we did not have email reminders in those days.
So I have only recently started to show my Street work again but to this day I still shoot film but keep that to myself and don’t post my film images on social media that often.
I have to admit to not knowing anything about Street photography and not looking at any of the masters of Street or even reading up on Street until about eighteen months ago when I met Steve Coleman. Street Frame Steve and I became friends through our love of Photography and Street. I also had not read a book on Street until this year as I just don’t have time to read and very rarely buy books. A friend of mine Elaine was given some books for Christmas 2014 and two were the same. As a coincidence I was given two copies of Martin Parr’s book so we did a swap. Elaine said I would love the book by David Gibson (The Street Photographer Manual) as it’s exactly the way I teach and shoot street. As soon as she said that I was interested and decided to read it and managed to read it in a week, the speed I read that was fast!
I was so shocked to read that after all these years I was shooting Street almost exactly the way the manual says it should be done. Not that I am one for too many rules in photography but Street to me is my passion.
I have seen so many YouTube videos of people arguing with people in the street about their rights to shoot on public property after upsetting someone with their camera it was quite refreshing to read a book that was telling it how it is!
My philosophy on Street is so simple. I want to be able to go out and shoot Street in a candid way so as not interrupt any ones day. I want to keep it real and not ask for a portrait or change the dynamic of the scene. I want to capture life as it happens and not pose one single element. I have been shooting this way for over 40 years and no one has ever stopped me let alone had an argument with me. The people I have spoken to on the street have all been very nice and it’s amazing what a smile can do.
I always said I would not teach Photography and never Street but now find myself doing it. Part of that was an age thing, I reached 50 and decided to just go for it and teach, do talks and workshops. In all honesty I did not think I was that interesting.
Some of the main reasons for teaching were that people were asking me to teach them and show them not just Street but black and white editing and all other types of photography.
I was getting asked so many questions that were so hard to answer online; I can’t type that fast and being Dyslexic all my work has to be checked by my girlfriend Jane so writing is a nightmare for me. Workshops were the only answer and I quickly found that I loved the workshops and learnt so much from them myself. So many of the people that have been on my workshops have been Teachers and that has opened my eyes to some of my early failures. I used to say to everyone what is the point in a workshop, you won’t learn much and some of the teachers are not great. I was wrong and I admit it. I wish I had taken a few workshops in my younger years that way I would have not had wonky horizons for 8 years! I now say workshops are good, go find a workshop with a photographer at the top of his or her game or even someone whose work you admire that way your photography will progress so much more quickly.
Some of the guys that have been on my Street workshops have come more than once and come to different city’s all over the UK. There work is getting better and better. They ask me more and more questions gaining confidence all the time. Not only that but they can shoot around some of these cities in the safety of a group. Some single people who are into photography and whose friends are not, just love to be able to shoot Street with like minded people and its great fun.
One of the questions I have been asked most this year is, when is it Street and when is it a Portrait ? The answer is simple but there is a grey area. If you just shoot someone in the street without them knowing its Candid Street. If you ask for a portrait it’s a Street Portrait. If you look at them and point to your camera and gesture and they nod then because permission has been asked for and granted it is a portrait! So if you are shooting and waiting for eye contact it’s still Street as long as they don’t smile!! If they smile that is the grey area because the smile can be taken as an agreement to have a portrait taken! I try to capture all my Street subjects’ candid but if I push for eye contact I aim to press the shutter before they smile. I would never post a portrait or smile shot in a Street group, unless they allow Street portraits! So if you wonder why your images get removed from Street groups that could be a reason.
There is also a lot of debate about shooting the homeless or disadvantaged people. This is a taboo subject in most Street groups and I don’t encourage it on my workshops. A good street image is telling a story and should say something to you as well as the viewer if you view it in a group. ‘Homeless person in a doorway’ or ‘on a bench’ is an easy target for people starting out into Street and they always try to justify their images with a verbal reason. If the images can’t talk for themselves they fail, so give it a lot of thought before you fall into that trap. I also understand that if we don’t shoot homeless and disadvantaged people there will be a big gap in future images so a good story needs to be told.
I was on a photo walk when a friend of mine Dave K Piper said to me “ I get it now “ I said “get what” he said “ I create my work in a studio and you go out and find yours.” He was spot on and one of the lessons I try and teach is that you don’t always find it !
Too many people are going out and shooting Street like I did with Landscapes as a kid and not looking at their work. There are still wonky horizons in Street but so much Street now has no thought put in to it. I am in some great Street groups and even some of the groups are not helping. People have short attention spans on social media and click ‘like’ far too easily and that gives a Street photographer the wrong idea.
Some of my images have quite a lot of thought put into them and there is a story there or emotion, but its missed by so many. Someone said the other week that window shots have been done to death and they are easy ! Far from it but so many window shots are just window shots !
Martin Parr and Bruce Guilden ( Thanks Steve ) have some great YouTube videos on Critique and they are well worth watching. I have only just started to look into the masters of Street and to be honest I don’t get some Street but fully get the style I find myself shooting.
One very important thing for me is that everyone needs to treat people on the street as they would like to be treated themselves so that we can carry on shooting Street in the future and not have the general public turn on photographers for being rude and pushy!
I am a member of the f50 collective an international collective of Street photographers and we have some amazing debates on Street over a coffee in Liverpool but the one thing that is always apparent is our passion for Street.
I teach Street workshops and I spend all day out on the street with my groups and only have groups of 6 people as that is just about the right amount to take around any city. Shooting candid is an art in its self so group size is very important to me. I also have FREE photowalks in the UK that are planned with Fujifilm UK or Fujiholics to get Photographers together for a great social event not just for Street but for networking or any other style of photography.
My workshops are designed for any level of photography, and I carry out one to one courses anywhere in the UK. I was not sure about starting the workshops as trying to teach people how to shoot Candid street in a group I thought was going to be an issue but its turning out to be a lot of fun.
People come on my courses and have that light bulb moment and realize it’s not as hard as they thought. Once they have that light bulb moment and start shooting the way I teach, they go from strength to strength. One guy came on one of my very first workshops and said Street is not for him and he was not going to do it again. I was shooting in Liverpool a few weeks back and he was out on his own shooting Street and his work is getting better and better as he gets closer and closer. Not only that but he had confidence issues as well. He now finds a great release and calmness in shooting Street the same as I did when I was a young lad.
I have taken my workshops on the road now and with the help of Fujifilm UK can also offer loan cameras and lenses for my workshops if notice is given. I have some exciting places for 2015 and they all give a different aspect to Street photography: Brighton for example has its relaxing vibrant culture, London for the fast paced action and chaotic city life, Edinburgh for the most relaxed people in the UK and just up the road Glasgow for some of the best characters, Liverpool and Manchester for the amazing styles of the men and women, Hull for the amazing people, Cardiff for the Christmas markets. and Chester for historic backgrounds and so many more that I have not had time to plan yet.
So, why not join me in a city near you or have a weekend break in a city far away ? With my new early bird prices and advanced train fairs at an all time low it’s a great way to spend a weekend in an interesting city exploring it by day with like minded people and some candid Street.
Don’t confuse my Workshops with the Free photowalks I have this year as they are completely different. I can’t teach 200 people on a walk I can only talk to people on the route and hand out hints and tips. If you don’t make it to my workshops follow my facebook page or twitter feed to find the Free walks and competitions. Who knows, you might win a Fuji X100T or a trip to Paris to shoot Street with me !
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:56:34 +0000Camera Bags / Handbags
I often hear woman say there is no perfect handbag for every occasion and this is just the same for camera bags. You can’t find one bag for every job; most of the time camera bag manufactures get it so wrong. Most people want a camera bag that protects their gear but is also light and easy to carry. I guess this is where most people have to compromise as most camera bags weigh a ton even before they are filled to the brim with camera gear.
I have acquired quite a large collection of camera bags over the years. I now have one for nearly every occasion from Landscape to Workshops. The only one I did not have was a decent working Street Photography bag. I was making do using a ‘Next’ canvas bag and it was great, a little padding on the bottom and lots of space, possibly too much space. Sounds mad too much space, but if you have extra space you end up filling the gaps with something. Unfortunately my ‘Next’ bag was coming to the end of its life, so I decided I needed something smaller and longer lasting.
I wanted a very hard wearing canvas bag that was waterproof and would carry just what I needed and no more. So with a little research I found ‘Domke‘ the bag is listed as water resistant and that would do for me as I can always add a cover if I needed to. I quite like the idea of a breathable bag at least then if my cameras get wet in use they have the chance to dry out.
When you look at all the bag images online people take out the packets of sweets, pens, phones etc and all the other bits so it looks good for the photo. I shot this image above with all my junk in view the only items not in the shot was my i pad and a couple of lens cloths.
So I think I have found my perfect Street bag. The first big test was a Street Workshop I led in Edinburgh March 2015. It went well, it rained quit a lot over the weekend and the bag kept the water out so that was a big plus as my ‘Next’ bag was not waterproof.
The Domke Crosstown Courier is a heavy duty cotton fabric treated with environmentally friendly waxes and oils to keep the water out. A tin of wax is also supplied with the bag to top up the water resisting qualities. I am told the bag looks better and better with age like a favourite pair of jeans! I quite like that idea as I hate new looking things out on the Street.
The bag has pouches at each end that detach and these are great for when I am not teaching photography courses, I can take them off to save even more weight if I need to.
The bag has a large interior compartment and padding. I take most of the padding out as I find the padding takes up too much room in all camera bags. I wrap my lenses and cameras in micro fibre lens cloths that double up as cleaning cloths. I put my i pad in the main compartment with my X-T1 and XPro1 with a few lenses and I put my X100T in the pocket at the front so it’s at hand when I need it. My travel battery pack goes in the rear pocket for phone and battery charging on the move. It has two full size pockets length ways one on the back and one hidden under the flap. A large mesh pocket and two expandable front pockets are also very useful. It also has an anti slip shoulder strap which is very handy as some bags do tend to slip off your shoulder.
There is a bigger version but I am happy with this bag. I can carry it all day and it does not become a burden.
My only negative with the bag is once full if you don’t pack the heavy gear at the bottom of the bag it swivels to a funny angle as you walk but that is probably just the way I pack mine ! I do like to carry lots of lens cloths for padding and these can end up at the bottom.
One nice little touch is the fact that you can register your bag online. If you lose the bag and someone is kind enough to try and get it back to you there is a bar-code riveted plate on the bag with a phone number to call.
I have been using the bag for about six weeks now and have to say I love it! At first I did think it would be too small but as a Street bag it’s perfect for me not only for teaching but when I am out on my own. I have not taken the pouches off yet as I love them for easy access.
It’s probably not the cheapest bag on the market but it’s very well made and very rugged. I think it will last the rest of my life and a lot longer than any of my other bags. So well worth the investment.
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 11:20:40 +0000My Love of Film
I still shoot film and in a way love film more every year. I have just picked up a Nikon F100 Film Camera for £150 second hand from Cambrian Photography combined with a 50mm 1.8G lens also second hand for £99. I now have the perfect fast action Street film camera. This camera is stunning its also in fantastic condition and cheap as chips, as I remember this camera was around £1200 new.
Everyone knows I only shoot Fuji Camera’s for Digital, but I shoot all different makes of film camera from Nikon Fm2, Olympus OM10, Fujica St750,Nikon F100, and quite a few others. I also love the old 120 roll film cameras without names that I find on my travels.
I just love to get out and shoot Street with film. I love the discipline of shooting 12, 24, 36 exposures and love the imperfections that can happen with the use of film. When I picked up my F100 from Cambrian I picked up a couple of rolls of out of date Ilford Xp2 Super, cheap to process in C41 and great for some nice grain. I could not wait to get out and shoot some Street.
I hardly ever show my film images, it’s a long story why, but to cut it short many years ago I lost all my printed images and negatives in a flat fire. Years and years of work all gone in a few hours. I lost a lot more than that in that fire, I lost a vinyl collection that included the first record I had ever brought and lots of other items of sentimental value.
I learnt a lot that day about possessions and it changed the way I see my photography and life to this day.
My love of photography is the act of going out and creating images and being out there on the streets teaching and connecting with people. The images that I have shot a week ago or a year ago don’t have much meaning to me unless I have an emotional connection with them so after a while if I lost the lot again I would not be as upset as I was the first time it happened. The images that do mean a lot to me however are backed up off site so they are always available !
The reason I don’t show my film images on social media or to anyone else is the simple fact I want them all to remain pure ! Sounds crazy, but I don’t want them to be judged by others or commented on. I want these images just for me. I am only showing these few today due to the fact this was the first roll of film I put through the F100 so it was just a test roll.
I love to go out and shoot film with a variety of cameras it makes me re think my work and also slows me down and makes me look. I get into a very fast Street rhythm and at times its to fast so changing cameras makes me see so much more. Every time I get used to shooting with one film body I will take a different one out, even though I know them all inside out just the change is refreshing.
I also find its so refreshing after a day out shooting film there is no rush to edit, you can go home sit down and have a nice cup of tea, you don’t have that urge to get the images off the memory card to see what you shot ! You have to wait.
I don’t develop or print my own any more, I leave that to Cambrian Photography and only take the film over to Cambrian when I visit for Workshops etc, this way its quite exciting to see what I have on the contact sheet when I get my film back.
I normally just get a contact sheet with the images scanned to disk and then from that point, if I like what I see I will progress to larger hi res scans or prints. Its not as expensive as some people think and this roll of 24 exposures film was £4 and it was £6.99 for developing and scanning.
I went out with my F100 and my X100T with Jim Moody the guy in the image above to have a wonder around Liverpool and shoot some Street. The images from my X100T were off the memory card and on to Facebook within and hour of getting home ! I even said to myself I am sure I shot more than that ! It was then I released I was shooting film as well.
I also changed rolls part way through the day, so I still have a few images I will forget about over the next few weeks. So it will be a nice surprise next time I take a trip to Cambrian.
If you have not shot film for a while or your have never used a film camera its worth the time and effort to get a second had camera and a roll of film and get out and have a go.
If you have a young family film is great for the children and it teaches them vital skills for the day they pick up a digital camera. I have a few friends that have introduced their kids to film and they are loving it, one lad has just gone of to UNI to study photography and has not shot digital yet ! I will never stop shooting film and the best bit of shooting film is the simple fact that when I am dead and gone all the images on my hard drive will be lost forever but the prints and negatives will be there for my boys and their family’s to look though and enjoy !
The colour images that follow are just a few that I managed to save from a snapped off roll of film from my FujicaSt750.
I just love the imperfection on this roll, it was also the first roll of colour film I put through this camera. There is something about the imperfections in photography that make me want to shoot Street more than any other subject, so combining my love of Street with my use of film just has to be done..
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 08:56:50 +0000Live tutorial: Street photography with Matt Hart
Originally posted on The Fujifilm Blog:
X-Photographer Matt Hart shares his own hints and tips to shooting Street photography in this 30 minute talk from ‘The Photography Show‘ UK.
For more of Matt’s work, please see the links below:
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 10:26:22 +0000Street Photography Essay Liverpool U.K.
Paul Chamberson May 25
Very interesting read I recently got into street photography and find it great fun I like the uniqueness of the image some wonder shot here .Great inspiration thanks for sharing