Street Portrait

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by mhc, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Let me see and talk about your street portraits. I need inspiration, thanks.
     
  2. Here's one from a few years ago at a Veterans Day Parade. I like it but I cannot describe exactly why. I think I like how the background looks like a sound stage and with his jesters hat it just kind of has a crazy theatrical feel to it. One of the teachers in the college darkroom like it as well and offered to purchase a print. I made a 16x20 selenium toned print for him as a gift.
    00Y8ht-327501684.jpg
     
  3. I can see why its interesting. The background adds to the jester feel. I think, kind of surrreal and the flag grounds it ..well maybe a tad lol. Nice portrait. Is it someone you know, did you talk to him? What were the circumstances for this shot? Thanks.
     
  4. Catherine, I posted a response to your question on the other thread Jeff referenced...
     
  5. Here's one idea: Go to a street festival or parade...cameras are everywhere and sort of expected, so it lets you get away with taking shots you might not ordinarily take on a normal street day.
    00Y8k2-327535584.jpg
     
  6. Thanks Brad I intend to go through that thread again. Daniel , the St Patricks day parade is coming soon..wink wink Thanks. There's a plan.
     
  7. Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival
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  8. Catherine,
    I usually go about it 3 different ways.
    1) I ask for permission
    [​IMG]
    2) I simply point the camera and say ''smile'' or something to that effect.
    [​IMG]
    3) I just take it.
    [​IMG]
    It really depends on the situation for me, but it is usually numbers 1 and 2
     
  9. Catharine Hall,
    You commented on a photo of mine today, I replied, and you did also. I think I added some more, to that comment, which may have escaped you.
    Also, for the 'street shooter' who wants some inspiration and tips, especially on how to get over the jitters of approaching people or just being 'seen' taking their photos in public plus 1,000 other tricks of the trade -- throughout my vast commentaries, there's a virtual book or two of tips and tricks, which I've tried to pass on just to Photo.netters (they represent part of five decades of interest in the subject!).
    [I've not shot all that time].
    I've received much praise for them, and I hope that you have not overlooked them.
    You might also have a look through Fred G's portfolio, as he has a different approach and ends up with a different product. Each of us has a different approach (I have a variety, actually) and each approach produces different results, generally.
    I note that if I'm carrying one small camera I'll get different reactions on the street than if I'm carrying two or three, and the reaction with two or three cameras, with long or large lenses (especially big, big lens hoods) leads to people giving me permission to do things they would not let 'casual' passersby with cameras do.
    Moreover, there is a story under one of my photos posted within the last 24 hours (street portrait) about the subject of 'obtaining subject permission' and actually how to ask for and get 'permission' to exceed isometimes what are seen as the bounds of decency and propriety in dealing with people who are complete strangers, based on a story told (and written about) by inspirational speaker Zig Zigler -- and it does work.
    People will do outlandish things for me, when I'm working with a 'wide angle' lens not surreptitiously, sometimes, when I ask for permission politely to exceed the bounds of their 'personal space' to get a good photo.
    Also, turn what is a personal quest into a dual quest -- you work your wiles on the subject to enlist them to help you try to create a 'great' photo, and if they truly see that you are capable of sometimes doing something great, they may actually help you create that 'great' photo.
    It may require lots of salesmanship, or just time expended, but isn't that what drives life?
    Life on the street is not always walk-bys and drive-bys with telephotos and anonymous subjects . . . . though for me that always has played a part. I try to mix the two and may do so from frame to frame, switching from total anonymity to 'new found cohort [subject] in the quest to try to produce a great or memorable photo' with someone who once was a total stranger.'
    It's also a good social tool, too.
    Sometimes, years later, those strangers may stop you (even hundreds of miles away) and say 'do you remember me, we did x x x x x x together to make y y y y y y photo' expecting total recall from you after you've photographed thousands of intervening subjects.
    Astoundingly you actually may remember those few minutes you spent together, and so much more, once there is that cue.
    I hope to write a book some day soon bringing together the 'tips and tricks' that I've learned; it would be a shame to waste them as scattered in myriad places in photo and portfolio comments here on Photo.net (and one other place).
    (I get lots of congratulatory e-mails and a number of comments of thanks, so they must be worth something, and I occasionally see them quoted in Internet forums, also).
    Remember, I started primarily, my second photo career, mostly with a 'normal' lens and a long, sharp, zoom telephoto, from which I could photograph mostly surreptitiously . . . . . and gradually have moved more and more toward wide angle shooting . . . . never abandoning the telephoto shots.
    Each photographer has his/her own style, and personalities and attitudes towards strangers have great influence on your ability to interact with strangers. My feeling, long ago, when I was taking photos that I was 'stealing images' led to some supersensitivity that helped me give up the craft; but after seeing the enduring quality of those photos and seeing how much everything else in society intrudes on your every movement (see bank surveillance cameras, financial records, etc.) an occasional lens pointed at an individual's direction now seems inconsequential to me.
    I justify my craft/art by comparing the best results with the sometimes intrusiveness that some people feel, and I hold my head of proudly. The greater your results, the more you will be able to hold up your head proudly when you have those day-to-day encounters with 'street' subjects.
    And photograph everybody, as practice, friends, neighbors, anybody and everybody who will tolerate you, as you develop your skills, for street photography, even for the most willing subject, may be cut off on a moment's notice by the growing intolerance of your subject, business conditions for that person, family circumstances, and myriad other factors that may cause that person to cause them to cut short the (often impromptu) session.
    Even Cartier-Bresson's chance remark quoted fromn an Aunt to Coco Channel caused the fashion doyenne to clam up on him and from them on he couldn't get anything good from her, through his portrait session with her -- you must work quickly and assuredly (or try to), because you never know when the next shot will be your last (and possibly best). Street subjects can walk away at any time and frequently do, often without much or any warning, so you must always be 'at your best' and honed to the highest level and able to work quickly under pressure with many distractions. There is no time for contemplating your navel shooting 'street' or 'street portraits'.
    ;~))
    john
    John (Crosley)
     
  10. Number one takes some nerve but is fair, number 2 is a nice trick and number three could get your lights punched out.. I ll try one and two and three if I think I can get away fast enough. Great shots, number one is awesome.
    Martin Z. the mirrored glasses shot is very nice and the sharpness makes the shot.
     
  11. John I hope to see that book soon. I know how I would feel if someone asked me for a photo and worse, if they just clicked and walked away. Great advice here. I shall take to heart and read this all again. Thanks.
     
  12. Catherine,
    Most of my "street" is shot at parades and events. Most of the time I try for a glance and a node acknowledgement either right before or right after the shot. For this one he walked up and was slowly scanning the room for someone.
    DS Meador
    00Y8pt-327605584.jpg
     
  13. whoa that guy definitely looking for something...happy I am not it :)
     
  14. sometimes just talking to people can result in a nice relaxed street portrait. Really all the remarks above. [​IMG]
     
  15. Cathrine, I did talk to the guy in my picture, but he was sitting exactly as you see him. I was walking along the sidewalk looking for people to photograph when I saw him to my right. I could have easily just taken a shot but I asked him, took the shot when he replied "sure go ahead" and moved on looking for more. I didn't pose him in any way.
    Below is perhaps a better example of when I put more thought into things. The examples below were taken this past Veterans Day in Long Beach CA. It was my first time at this parade. The route began and ended in a public park. Located in this park is a memorial to Long Beach residents who died in the Vietnam War. It's circular shaped with a life size helicopter in the center. There are benches along the fence around the memorial. These pictures were taken inside this memorial. You see, when I first entered the memorial to change film I noticed the flags behind one of the benches. I thought it would make a nice backdrop to some portraits of military personal. So I walked back into the park and began asking people who were walking past the memorial if they would mind sitting for a quick portrait. I soon expanded to retired military folks, families, and individuals. I cannot explain why I would choose some people over others, but I tend to work from an area of my subconscious I guess. I took about 15 different sets of various people/groups. Everyone I approached agreed to have their picture taken except for one lady who said she never likes how she looks in pictures. Some people immediately got up and left without a word after I took the picture, others hung around and we talked for a bit. At one point a guy sat down on this bench and I didn't want to tell him to move so I left to take shots elsewhere. When I came back almost an hour later he was still there! Finally he got up to leave but by then the light was falling and with my slow films I was only able to take a few more shots. I probably should add that I offered prints to just about everyone who sat for me, but only one person followed up on that.
     
  16. Street portrait from behind. :)
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Marc Todd, your day was well worth it. They are beautiful. I guess that's an idea, to give an email address or such so they can be sent a copy if they like. Nice shot Neven, not exactly a portrait but you caught a nice moment.
     
  18. Catherine, Sometimes I ask. I have found that sometimes when I ask, the person will say yes, but then he or she gets awkward and stiff. Sometimes I prefer to catch something spontaneous.
    00Y95s-327903684.jpg
     
  19. Didn't ask
    00Y95w-327905584.jpg
     
  20. Again didn't ask
    00Y95y-327907584.jpg
     
  21. Not exactly a street portrait neither, but asking - and the scene would have be gone for ever.
    00Y9Aa-327971584.jpg
     
  22. When doing street photography, I seem to get better results shooting at a higher ISO even in good light. I think the fast shutter speed helps to get a sharper image. I will also often stop down to about f/5 sometimes to increase my chances of getting things in focus. I'm still shooting people from far away, because I'm to shy to ask permission. However, I like the shots that people get when they do ask. I am working on overcoming the shyness.
    I don't even think these people saw me. I just saw them. They looked interesting, so I took the picture from across a street with a 70-200mm zoom.
    00Y9BI-327981584.jpg
     
  23. Here is another taken much closer. This time I just snuck up, composed the shot, and fired away unnoticed. There were lots of other people watching me, but my victim was totally oblivious.
    00Y9BV-327987584.jpg
     
  24. And here is someone who saw me taking her picture. I just smiled and waived as she walked by and continued her phone conversation. I chose this subject because of her unique fashion sense.
    00Y9Bh-327993584.jpg
     
  25. Catherine,
    Here's another one. This one obviously posed. This was the second year that I shot this street dancer at the Festival de Dança in Joinville, SC. I sent him a copy the first year and he and several of his friends were happy to let me shoot them the second year. I even got to shoot them doing impromtu in between sets the second year. I'm hoping to see them again in 2011. So, events or competitions where people may come back year after year may be a good place to actually get repeat subjects.
    DS Meador
    00Y9F6-328065584.jpg
     
  26. Here are three of them together.
    00Y9FE-328067584.jpg
     
  27. A few more shots from recent travels (not sure why they are not showing on my browser?)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  28. These are all really good. I see the effects of various approaches,and you can see how it affects the image. Thanks for chiming in to everyone.
     
  29. I will put few examples I made with my rollei TLR

    These guys were taking a rest during hot summer day in tree's shade having some vodka. I came to them, talked, have a drink with them and took some pics
    [​IMG]


    Here is some girl reading in a littlebit strange place, so, I wanted include some environment as well as don't disturb her
    [​IMG]

    Talked with old woman that was herding goats in small town
    [​IMG]

    Went silently to fisherman and was just looking after him
    [​IMG]
     
  30. Unaware
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  31. 2 again
    00Y9bT-328457584.jpg
     
  32. Nice on the last one :)
     
  33. Thanks Catherine. It's a funny sequence for me. I thought she was giving me the evil eye in her first shot, but then she hung around for a few minutes, waiting for me to ask her and then went to wait for a bus. The dime finally dropped for me and I asked her if I could take her picture. The bus came and I took the two shots. How shyness makes us miss opportunities! Fortunately, in this case, I didn't completely miss it.
     
  34. Toronto - 11/09/2010
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  35. John wrote:
    you must work quickly and assuredly (or try to), because you never know when the next shot will be your last (and possibly best). Street subjects can walk away at any time and frequently do, often without much or any warning, so you must always be 'at your best' and honed to the highest level and able to work quickly under pressure with many distractions. There is no time for contemplating your navel shooting 'street' or 'street portraits'.
    Ain't this the truth!
    I had a street shot opportunity of a lifetime pass me by (NYC) because I didn't have my camera.. that won't happen again!
     
  36. Buck in New Mexico (asked)[​IMG]
     
  37. and asked, and asked to pucker 8)
    [​IMG]
     
  38. [​IMG]
    I met Suzie in down town L.A. and she insisted that i take her picture. I ended up spending a little time with her and bought her lunch. What a precious lady.
     
  39. Young Merchant
     
  40. Oops! Here's the pic
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  41. Here is a lady I met selling her wooven goods. After seeing her work all day, I offered to share my supper. She accepted.
    00YAgq-329519584.jpg
     
  42. It seems to me that interraction with the subject produces a more sensitive image, than the element of surprise (photo not expected) But I often like the unexpected over the posed, to get a true reaction is sometimes more interesting unless you can capture a true heartfelt emotion as the two above :) Very nice.
     
  43. I guess I could use a little inspiration myself...
     
  44. OK... don't know why this didn't take the first time...
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  45. candids sort of
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  46. ... portrait of a man i met in baltimore.
    we frequented the same cafe. they owners of the place treated him like sh*t.
    he had a wealth of knowledge about cameras and other things that most seemed not to want to notice.
    of all the people i met while living in baltimore, he is one of the few i hold in high esteem.
    00YB7s-329857584.jpg
     
  47. ...correction:
    one of the owners of the cafe treated him like sh*t. i recall him once asking the man if he would be interested in a hot cup of piss. in the same breath, he then attempted to engage me in conversation about the cultural state of my hometown, detroit, about being black, and what constitutes art.
    he seemed incapable of acknowledging the humanity of the man.

    i have much respect for my subject; none for the owner of the cafe.

    this is the last photograph i made in baltimore.
     
  48. "But I often like the unexpected over the posed, to get a true reaction is sometimes more interesting unless you can capture a true heartfelt emotion . . ." --Catherine
    Definitely worth exploring!
    For me, all reactions, posed or candid, are true. The most obvious smile or mugging for the camera is true. If the photographer can find a photographic truth (or meaning) in that, then whatever the gesture or pose and no matter how posed or candid, it will be significant. For me, it's not about the truth of the reaction. It's about how the reaction looks in a photograph (is made to look in a photograph) and what it says to me as photographer and to the viewer who sees it.
     
  49. Catherine: Thank you for the compliment. While I almost always pose subjects I photograph, there is still the oppurtunity to get heartfelt emotions. The level of trust you develop between yourself and the subject is key. Apropos of the images you commented on, most of the communication was nonverbal. There were language and cultural barriers, however we became comfortable enough with each other to let our guards down. For me its about being an obvious part of the scene rather than trying to blend in.
    Sometimes you csn draw out an emotional responce of your choosing. But that can get one in trouble.
    Steve
    00YBTF-330111584.jpg
     
  50. when i see someone i have to have, i will always ask and shoot quickly before they change their mind. from a few days ago.
    [​IMG]
     
  51. Excellent photo Anwar.
     
  52. Some of my stuff...
    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=674200
     
  53. Thanks Charlie. All taken in and around Dubai, UAE One could normally guess whether photis are taken with or without permission by merely looking at it. [​IMG] • M6, Summicron 50 Ilford Delta 400, Ilfosol 3 (1+9) Epson v300
     
  54. this has been a most enjoyable thread, one of the best i have seen in a while. thanks Catherine for starting it.....
    [​IMG]
    here is another. click on it for a larger size. i met this lady the first day i ate at this mexican joint. i completely caught her off guard and by the time i took these three shots she was blushing like a teenager.
     
  55. Just a comment, to provide clarity to the original poster.
    Many of the photos I'm seeing above are not "street portraits." They're quick photos of people on the street. Nothing wrong with that or the photos. But there's a huge difference...
    Here's a picture of some strangers I snapped on the street. Yes, there's eye contact and a tiny amount of implied engagement (there was actually none). But it's absolutely not a "street portrait." I know absolutely nothing about them.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a photo of somebody I met on the street, talked to, spent some time, exchanged names and other info, considered posing possibilities, posed, and took a picture. A "street portrait." The difference should be clear.
    [​IMG]
     
  56. I agree and thanks to everyone, I need to read and reread this from top to bottom. Its so informational and cool with the photos I wonder if the moderators would not consider making this a `sticky`or permanent article for noobs as myself. Defintely a learning thread.
     
  57. Catherine, remember, sometimes communication can be non-verbal and then sometimes you just have a captive audience ;>} [​IMG]
     
  58. I guess that one was non-consentual? lol :) Nice.
     
  59. Many of the photos I'm seeing above are not "street portraits." They're quick photos of people on the street. Nothing wrong with that or the photos. But there's a huge difference...​
    Brad, while i will agree with your view in that not all are street portraits, can you clarify what is a street portrait? please feel free to use any of my images for critique. :)
     
  60. >>> ...can you clarify what is a street portrait?
    Javier, sure. It's about the process of engagement towards purposefully making a well-considered portrait, being in control of the subject and circumstances. Kind of like taking your kids to a portrait studio.
    Like what I mentioned up above: "Here's a photo of somebody I met on the street, talked to, spent some time, exchanged names and other info, considered posing possibilities, posed, and took a picture."
    Here's a pic of a couple guys, John and John, in SF. I wasn't in control. Not a street portrait, though I know them and have taken engaged street portraits of them years ago.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a street portrait of Edgardo, someone I met on the street, chatted with for awhile, asked if I could take his portrait, posed, photographed, and exchanged information:
    [​IMG]
    Here's a portrait of Julius, in the Tenderloin. Same drill. A street portrait:
    [​IMG]
    This is a street photo of a couple people. They knew I was there being a few feet away, I took a bunch of shots, he's looking at me. But def not a street portrait:
    [​IMG]
     
  61. Preferring a little more context myself (and not into the white background), here's how another photographer does it. Pretty much the same drill as far as engagement goes, though I like bs-ing more...
    Another street portrait: [​IMG]
     
  62. A rigid definition of any category is troublesome, because I prefer those lines to remain blurry. When is a street portrait not a street portrait and another kind of photo, and when does a street photo SEEM LIKE a portrait, whether it IS or not? For me, photographs are more about SEEMING than BEING. So I give a little leeway here and there. Sometimes, I will judge (?) or determine (?) what's a portrait by what I see rather than what I may know about how it was taken. In that case, if it seems like a street portrait then it may as well be a street portrait and if the photographer wants to come along and tell me otherwise, that's fine. I may or may not listen to what he has to say. Just like a photographer may want to tell me his subject was sad and have that influence me. It usually doesn't, especially if I don't see sadness.
    Some photos defy categorization. I've started out thinking I was taking many a portrait that wound up seeming both like a portrait and like a not-portrait. I think the same is true with a lot of photos of people on the street, one way or the other. So . . .
     
  63. There is a difference between setting someone up for a portrait, choosing a background, a pose, focus, getting the subject to smile or react, or grabbing a couple quick shots that turn out to look like portrait shots. I guess to the viewer, who does not know the cicumstances of the photo, they are all portraits, even though one is set up by the subject and photographer and one is not. Maybe as John Crosley does, we should be telling the story might go with the photo.
     
  64. I have an abiding respect and affection for John Crosley and his ways but, and I think he would agree, one John Crosley in this world is enough! His storytelling to go along with his photos is unique and often uncanny. I'm glad others do it very differently and, though I don't want to project onto him, I sense he's glad others do things differently as well.
     
  65. >>> There is a difference between setting someone up for a portrait, choosing a background, a pose,
    focus, getting the subject to smile or react, or grabbing a couple quick shots that turn out to look like
    portrait shots.

    Indeed there is. And at the root it's about intention and control. Rather than redefining a grab shot after the
    fact as portraiture simply because there appears to be eye contact or engagement.
     
  66. Javier, sure. It's about the process of engagement towards purposefully making a well-considered portrait, being in control of the subject and circumstances. Kind of like taking your kids to a portrait studio.​
    thanks Brad. I will have to disagree with you on this. i will also say that these are the simplest ones to make, atleast for me. maybe it is because i have been working with homeless people for over 10 years now and am used to engaging with folks. Anyway, while this may be what a street portrait is and certainly it is for you, i prefer a more varied selection. for you this seems to be a systematic approach to making a street portrait. for me, and what i believe a street portrait is, i will stick with my examples.
     
  67. A rigid definition of any category is troublesome, because I prefer those lines to remain blurry. When is a street portrait not a street portrait and another kind of photo, and when does a street photo SEEM LIKE a portrait, whether it IS or not? For me, photographs are more about SEEMING than BEING. So I give a little leeway here and there. Sometimes, I will judge (?) or determine (?) what's a portrait by what I see rather than what I may know about how it was taken. In that case, if it seems like a street portrait then it may as well be a street portrait and if the photographer wants to come along and tell me otherwise, that's fine. I may or may not listen to what he has to say. Just like a photographer may want to tell me his subject was sad and have that influence me. It usually doesn't, especially if I don't see sadness.
    Some photos defy categorization. I've started out thinking I was taking many a portrait that wound up seeming both like a portrait and like a not-portrait. I think the same is true with a lot of photos of people on the street, one way or the other. So . . .​
    fred, this is beautifully written and i agree with 99% of it. well said.
     
  68. Thanks, Javier. It's great to explore these differences of opinion.
    Be warned, next time I'm going to aim for 110% agreement! Deal? LOL.
     
  69. Got to agree with Javier. It bears repeating Fred.
     
  70. Thanks, Catherine. You're right about this thread. A gem!
     
  71. >>> i will also say that these are the simplest ones to make, atleast for me.
    I understand you like keeping things simple and that's great if it works for you. But for me, that's neither here nor there for producing photos that rise to the notion of portraiture. In the end, I look for quality in a well-executed portrait.
    What I like to see is the photographer being in command of the process, subject, and environment. Rather than those being in command of the photographer. And accepting the circumstances that may be thrown at you - bad light, poor composition with extraneous elements/limbs/etc sneaking in the frame, etc, etc.
    >>> for you this seems to be a systematic approach to making a street portrait.
    Is that bad? Honestly, after thinking about many well known portrait photographers, I can't think of any that do not employ some kind of systematic approach to their craft. From engagement, to thinking about light, to thinking about composition and what is and is not in the frame, to getting their subject to react in the desired manner to reveal whatever character the photographer seeks being revealed. Maybe I'm wrong on that and the well known portraitists like Newman, Ritts, Avedon, Dorfmann, Arbus, etc just do a quick grab and get lucky on all of the other considerations. I doubt it.
    In a few days I'm going to see a series of 100 Mapplethorp portraits. Something tells me I'll detect some kind of systematic approach to managing the variables. Rather than taking a shot and letting those fall where they may.
    [​IMG]
    Susan and Stan in the Tenderloin
     
  72. Brad
    I understand you like keeping things simple and that's great if it works for you. But for me, that's neither here nor there for producing photos that rise to the notion of portraiture. In the end, I look for quality in a well-executed portrait.​
    And this is what makes your photos yours and I think it is great. We just have different styles.
    What I like to see is the photographer being in command of the process, subject, and environment. Rather than those being in command of the photographer. And accepting the circumstances that may be thrown at you - bad light, poor composition with extraneous elements/limbs/etc sneaking in the frame, etc, etc
    Not sure I follow, since I / the photographer am still in charge of releasing the shutter. If anything, I think the way I go about it is more RAW street portrait. Maybe I am wrong in this but it seems more pure to me.
    Is that bad? Honestly, after thinking about many well known portrait photographers, I can't think of any that do not employ some kind of systematic approach to their craft. From engagement, to thinking about light, to thinking about composition and what is and is not in the frame, to getting their subject to react in the desired manner to reveal whatever character the photographer seeks being revealed. Maybe I'm wrong on that and the well known portraitists like Newman, Ritts, Avedon, Dorfmann, Arbus, etc just do a quick grab and get lucky on all of the other considerations. I doubt it.​
    No, not at all. Anytime someone uses a systematic approach to something weather good or bad, it will give you the best results for what you or i am trying to achieve. As far as those other togs are, I really do not know who they are. I am sure I should know, but I don't..Maybe this is part of my problem. :)
    But here is what I think and this is my opinion only. Keep in mind that I am as amateur as they come. While I love photography and it truly is a passion, I am more into the pure raw captured emotion that comes from an image that is not completely set up. Sure I take composition and try and keep to the rules as they do make for a better picture, but those come secondly to capturing the ''moment''. So if it means getting a ''lucky shot'', then so be it. For the record, I also do not believe in luck. Luck is what one makes it.
    As far as getting ''to know'' my subject before I pose him / her, I am just not into that. That to me seems dis-honest. To befriend someone to get a good picture of him or her is just not me.
    Rather like I said above in my first post of this thread. If I see someone I want to shoot, I will be upfront and ask them If I can take their picture and express what ever my reason might be. 9 out of 10 times, people are cool with it. I get there name, give them my card and offer them a print or an email pic. the whole thing is done in a few minutes if that.
    With my second approach, if I see someone coming, I will say something to the affect of, ''Hey, how about a smile, or another appropriate adjective, or simple eye contact and it is a click and go. I smile and I am off on my way. All in a few seconds. No name or card exchanged. Sometimes it will lead into my number 1 approach....but not always.
    With my third approach, it is simply point and shoot. I see someone I want to shoot, I simply shoot. I am never sneaky and I point to try and get my subject in the center and fill the frame. In fact I am so obvious, that most of the time, my subject will not notice me and or apologize for getting in my shot. This is perhaps the most pure and RAW which I love..
    So for me this works. I know the vast majority will likely not agree with me, but this is what I like for me. We simply have different styles and this is what makes this hobby so cool. :)
     
  73. I wanted to try street portraiture this summer as a mean to getting out of my comfot zone and to contribute to bettering my 'street' technique in general. (have none yet) Brad you need to come back and tell us your impressions of Maplethorpe, either here or a new thread. I think I'm somewhat on the line with Javier as to his approach which will work best for me. It takes time to develop rapport with people,get to know them and set up 'composed' portraits as Brad appears to do. They are beautifully done and expressive, but people such as myself who don't spend a lot of time on the street, due to life responsibilites, probably will have to shoot on a more casual snap and go basis.
     
  74. This is great. Thanks, Javier. What's interesting is that our styles and our opinions are very, very different. Yet we do agree on the openness of the category of portraiture. I don't find much purity in candidness. As a matter of fact, I more often see candid shots as the photographer hiding behind his camera rather than anything approaching honesty. I'm not referring to your own photos, many of which I like. I am, however, referring to a lot of so-called street photos. The same, of course, is true of more posed photos. Many are stiff and seem fake to me.
    I tend not to work in studios so my portraits aren't as set up as many portrait photographers but they are not candid. I appreciate the balance and tension between pose and spontaneity that I can achieve that way. I think honesty and authenticity are NOT found in pose itself or in candidness itself. I think it's hard to achieve photographic authenticity and when it's achieved it's a combination of a lot of factors, but is not about the particular genre or even the particular approach. As I said in a companion thread, one can approach shooting someone on the street with the greatest of respect and care and still wind up with a very exploitive photo. Photography has to do with a lot more than intent. It has to do with seeing and with seeing photographically. One can capture what's genuine and one can also create what's genuine.
    A candid portrait can be better or not than a posed portrait. And a well thought-out portrait can be better or not than a posed one.
    Brad, one can shoot spontaneously and in a very spur-of-the-moment fashion, outside the studio and at the whim of the lighting conditions given him and still not merely "accept" the conditions given. A photographer knows what conditions he has and uses them to his advantage. In poor street light, a good photographer will not try to take the same kind of picture he would in a well-lit studio or on a nicely-lit, partially overcast day. Photographers don't just "accept" their conditions, they accept and adapt to them. They use them to their advantage. In an instant, someone can intuit how to use strong backlighting, motion, and an odd perspective to create a good street portrait.
    The idea that a portrait is "kind of like taking your kids to a portrait studio" brought a smile to my face because I so disagree. The idea of a portrait, in so many significant ways, is NOTHING LIKE taking your kids to a portrait studio, thankfully.
     
  75. Its to late for me to edit: Javier, sure. It's about the process of engagement towards purposefully making a well-considered portrait, being in control of the subject and circumstances. Kind of like taking your kids to a portrait studio.
    I would like to try this in future as well, possibly when I retire and have more time to be a 'street' urchin. Not saying when that will be lol :) But it is an appealing idea which I am sure will yeild different results, and will be more arranged and from my p.o.v, which intrigues me.
    I don't think Brad means kind of litterally 'Sears Portrait Studio" but more choosing your focal distance, background, aperture, pose etc.. rather than a quick snap? Meaning an arranged portrait shot from his p.ov, on how he wants to present his subject is what I'm thinking, No portable studios lol :)
     
  76. Its kind of why I will choose to use a 50mm or 35mm lens when I start out, to force me to make contact. Its too easy with a zoom to hang back and just snap. What's your opinion on focal distances?
     
  77. Catherine, that's not what I meant. I didn't think Brad was thinking of a Sears studio. I mean just the idea of studio and setup at all. I'm saying thankfully portraiture includes stuff that is very UNLIKE even the best studio work.
     
  78. I was just kiddin Fred :) And what about color versus b&w...
     
  79. Catherine, indeed! Seriously, though, another thought. Yes. I think the lens you use will have a great impact on your level of engagement. But there's something else to consider. Photographic engagement is different from personal and street engagement. And for photographic engagement, in addition to getting closer in it might be interesting to stay further out. Coming up with photos that are engaged even from more of a distance. A close-up portrait is one thing. A portrait that includes environment and a bit of a story is quite something else. If you can create an engaging photo/portrait (even if the subject is not engaged with you) with a little more distance, you will have accomplished something special as well.
     
  80. Javier: Not so sure engaging a person and befriending them before taking their portrait is dishonest. Speaking for myself, I don't photograph people I don't find interesting. I treat all subjects with respect, and enjoy the interaction as much if not more than the subsequent image.
    Steve
     
  81. >>> While I love photography and it truly is a passion, I am more into the pure raw captured emotion that comes from an image that is not completely set up. Sure I take composition and try and keep to the rules as they do make for a better picture, but those come secondly to capturing the ''moment''.
    And that's great. And that's what, for example, Garry Winogrand does really well, street photography. But I don't think most people that engage in SP or street portraiture would classify what GW does as "street portraiture."
    >>> As far as getting ''to know'' my subject before I pose him / her, I am just not into that. That to me seems dis-honest.
    Kind of an strange comment on what constitutes dishonesty. Please explain. As one who goes out of my way to engage strangers on the street because of my love of humanity, I find that really offensive. Many times it's as simple as saying, "I like your tats/glasses/purse/face/shoes/piercings/etc, can I take a portrait." Hardly dishonest. If you're speaking to moral issues, it's a fair negotiation with both parties understanding what's going on and what the end result is. It's respectful and dignified. As an aside, I think doing walk-by snaps of the "homeless" without engagement is undignified and dishonest.
    >>> As far as those other togs are, I really do not know who they are. I am sure I should know, but I don't..Maybe this is part of my problem. :)
    I'm really sorry to hear that. They were/are some excellent portrait photographers put out just off the top of my head. If you're trying to break new ground and redefine what portraiture is, it would be good to understand who some of the masters are/were. If you were to take some classes and workshops on various photography topics, you would expand your view about photography. And understand why portraiture is not merely taking candid pictures on the street with people in them and calling them portraiture. You may want to call it that, but that comes from your lack of understanding. As a very personal aside addressing understanding, for me learning about the craft and history photography is a life long endeavor. In six years I've taken seven photography classes at a local university and another three at a local junior college. One of the seven was "environmental portraiture," it was about what I and others are doing now, not candid shots redefined as portraiture. Next month I'm starting another one on portraiture. I also like workshops. One 3 day SF workshop last year I really enjoyed was about street portraiture. That same workshop was also put on in LA last year; it's a shame you missed it, I know you would have enjoyed it. All of these (classes and workshops) are taught by people that are well-known in their field and superb photographers. Does that entitle me to define with the final word? Of course not and obviously not. But at least I'm coming in with some understanding and desire to learn.
    In the end it's about what one want's to call portraiture. It doesn't take much searching to find a somewhat broad consensus on that.
    >>> Brad, one can shoot spontaneously and in a very spur-of-the-moment fashion, outside the studio and at the whim of the lighting conditions given him and still not merely "accept" the conditions given. ... Photographers don't just "accept" their conditions, they accept and adapt to them.
    Absolutely yes, one can. But I don't see that here much. Rather in many cases I see what looks like regular street photography of someone walking down the street being redefined as "street portraiture." With what seems like little command of the circumstances.
    >>> I'm saying thankfully portraiture includes stuff that is very UNLIKE even the best studio work.
    Obviously (and I think you know this) I'm saying the same thing as we're talking about portraits taken on the *street* in a subject's *local* environment without lights, props, backdrops, etc.
    >>> Brad you need to come back and tell us your impressions of Maplethorpe, either here or a new thread.
    Ha, that was a little bit tongue-in-cheek regarding about how he worked. Yes, I'm seeing his portraits this week, but from knowing about the artist, studying his work and controversy of the past, etc, I'm already going in with a ton of respect.
    [​IMG]
    Cory, in the Tenderloin
     
  82. >>> I wanted to try street portraiture this summer as a mean to getting out of my comfot zone and to contribute to bettering my 'street' technique in general.
    Catherine, just keep shooting on the street doing regular street photography. That's how I started. After time, and when your comfort level is raised a bit, you'll have even more interest and care about people and want to go deeper, understanding who they are, what they're about, etc. That can be your transition into street portraiture.
    By the way, I often write about the subjects I engage on my blogs. For me it's the engagement and learning I find rewarding. I have so many "friends" on the street in San Francisco now as a result. Friends not in the social sense, but as people where there is a lot of mutual respect and care flowing both ways.
    [​IMG]
    Ted, a Glide cook, in the Tenderloin
     
  83. Steven
    Javier: Not so sure engaging a person and befriending them before taking their portrait is dishonest. Speaking for myself, I don't photograph people I don't find interesting. I treat all subjects with respect, and enjoy the interaction as much if not more than the subsequent image.
    Steve​
    Thanks for the response and I apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently offended. My statement did not come out as intended. Having said that, I too love the engagement process and infact this is a huge part of what it is that I do on the street, but not for the purpose of taking a picture. Here I will give you an example. I met Terry last summer in Santa Monica at Palisades park. The way I met Terry was because I saw this lady crying on a bench, so i went to offer some help. He came from Ohio and found himself homeless, hungry and cold, something I have seen allot of, sadly. That day I was out handing out care packages. A care package is a bag I fill with a days worth of food, tooth brush and paste, wipes, cream, and chap stick. I will hand out 13 packages a day on weekends, usually twice a month...It may not seem like much, but for those folks it is like Christmas come early.. Well by the time I got to Terry I was out of care bags and felt pretty bad. Here was a guy who could really use one and nothing. So after spending a few minutes with him, I invited him to lunch, but he refused because of his appearance. ( He is a transvestite, he was the lady on the bench)...So I said, no problem. I left and came back a 1/2 hour later with a pizza and water. We ate together as the people around us where staring and one person even snapped our picture of which I personally did not care and Terry never noticed. After we were done eating, I asked him to take care of himself and left. As I was leaving he ''asked'' me if I wanted to take his picture. I said no, I would rather this picture stay in my mind. At that, he lit up with a huge smile. I never spoke of this particular event with anyone other than my wife. If ever there was an opportunity to take a cool unique picture, this was it and I chose not to. So to me sometimes the best pictures are the ones I never take. ''please, I am not tooting my own horn and hate talking about these things''..As for Terry, I ran into him a few weeks later and then a few months after that in Hollywood. SADLY he was worse and did not remember me any longer. But altleast for that one day, he knew someone cared about him....So my statement was coming from my own POV and again, I did not mean any offense to anyone.
     
  84. Brad
    And that's great. And that's what, for example, Garry Winogrand does really well, street photography. But I don't think most people that engage in SP or street portraiture would classify what GW does as "street portraiture."​
    Now GW i do know off and really enjoy his captures. :)
    I'm really sorry to hear that. They were/are some excellent portrait photographers put out just off the top of my head. If you're trying to break new ground and redefine what portraiture is, it would be good to understand who some of the masters are/were. If you were to take some classes and workshops on various photography topics, you would expand your view about photography. And understand why portraiture is not merely taking candid pictures on the street with people in them and calling them portraiture. You may want to call it that, but that comes from your lack of understanding. As a very personal aside addressing understanding, for me learning about the craft and history photography is a life long endeavor. In six years I've taken seven photography classes at a local university and another three at a local junior college. One of the seven was "environmental portraiture," it was about what I and others are doing now, not candid shots redefined as portraiture. Next month I'm starting another one on portraiture. I also like workshops. One 3 day SF workshop last year I really enjoyed was about street portraiture. That same workshop was also put on in LA last year; it's a shame you missed it, I know you would have enjoyed it. All of these (classes and workshops) are taught by people that are well-known in their field and superb photographers. Does that entitle me to define with the final word? Of course not and obviously not. But at least I'm coming in with some understanding and desire to learn.​
    Thanks for the names Brad. I woke up this morning with the intention of looking up their work. I am also not trying to redefine anything. I believe there is nothing new under the sun. As for classes, I will admit that I have considered them and I am sure I will benefit from taking a few.
    Kind of an strange comment on what constitutes dishonesty. Please explain. As one who goes out of my way to engage strangers on the street because of my love of humanity, I find that really offensive. Many times it's as simple as saying, "I like your tats/glasses/purse/face/shoes/piercings/etc, can I take a portrait." Hardly dishonest. If you're speaking to moral issues, it's a fair negotiation with both parties understanding what's going on and what the end result is. It's respectful and dignified. As an aside, I think doing walk-by snaps of the "homeless" without engagement is undignified and dishonest.​
    Brad, I am very sorry for the way it came out. I did not mean to imply that you where being dishonest. I explained my thoughts up above and meant it as a ''personal conviction to myself''. This is why I should not write when I am tired, so I humbly ask for forgiveness.
     
  85. "If you were to take some classes and workshops on various photography topics, you would expand your view about photography. And understand why portraiture is not merely taking candid pictures on the street with people in them and calling them portraiture. You may want to call it that, but that comes from your lack of understanding."
    I agree with Brad that learning and understanding is very significant when it comes to any art or craft. Learning in a school setting, however, may not be the only way. Learning by looking and reading can be just as important. Looking at other photographers' work is of special value. Balancing between that looking and not being unduly influenced is also of value. Depending on one's needs and desires, none of this is necessary, however.
    I don't think Javier's and my (and I am familiar with every one of the photographers you mentioned) use of the word portrait comes from his or my lack of understanding any more than I think your insistence on limiting the word comes from an over-emphasis on a school-book type of very narrow and restricted understanding, which is what we often get in school.* It may simply be a difference that is really not a difference. It's just a word. It may be no more than that we choose to use it differently. We argue whether a photographer is anyone with a camera or someone who has earned money or reached a certain level of expertise. We argue whether or not this or that "thing" is art. Categories can be used descriptively or restrictively. They can be understood rigidly or more loosely. They can be used as a bludgeon. They can be used in order to devise exclusive classes or they can be used to welcome more diversity. Usage says something about the manner (not manners, just the way, the approach, the general tendency), not just the understanding, of the user.
    *Lest you think I'm anti-school. I'm not. I've learned a lot in my classes over the years and am thankful to many a good teacher. I recognize the advantages of school, as well as the disadvantages or at least potential traps it can set.
     
  86. Javier, no problem, we're good... :)
    Fred, from your response, in the general sense, I wasn't implying (and even stated with an appropriate caveat) that learning "in school" is the end-all be-all defining word on the subject. But is just one element in the learning process. Which also includes practicing one's craft, reading, seeing exhibitions and shows at museums/galleries, having a wide circle of friends getting together in discussion groups, viewing films, etc. BTW, and as a coincidence, yesterday I saw a large exhibition of Helen Levitt and Leo Rubenfien work at a local museum. Some work I (and possible even the artist may, I suspect) would call portraiture, some street, and some documentary. Rather than labeling everything portraiture. But if someone want's to label everything in the show in that manner because there are people in the frame, that's fine. But I'll disagree.
    I'm not using the "category" as a bludgeon, but rather to communicate about certain types of photography. Especially when communicating with people starting out with their craft. I'm sure sports photographers have their views about their craft and are probably rather restrictive. As do photographers who do commercial, wedding, motor-sports, documentary, landscape, glamour, event, advertising, travel, etc photography. There is a common language used as a basis for understanding.
    Fred, I think you're local, and I really enjoy and respect your photography a lot. Care to hook up for coffee sometime?
    [​IMG]
    Mark, at odds with Tenderloin Section 8 housing
     
  87. Javier: Your image of Suzie exemplefies your connection with your subject. No doubt some photographers shoot for their ego rather than the experiance. It usually shows in their work. Some wedding photogs I've watched fall into this category.
    Catherine: You have gotten some very good advice from forum members on pursuing street photography. May I add a little technical advice? Don't limit yourself to a single focal length. Using one exclusively as an exercise in understanding its strengths and limitations is a good idea. However there are times a 50mm viwe helps isolate subjects from distractions. And times a 28mm will allow you to get in front of distractions, or when you are in a tight spot. I like a fast wide to normal zoom. My 2 cents.
    00YDFF-332001584.jpg
     
  88. Working in a tight spot with wide angle.
    00YDFI-332003584.jpg
     
  89. That's the thing, Brad, I think sports photographers, etc. probably are rather restrictive, and that always bothers me. What I see Javier moving toward, Catherine expressing, and myself doing, is almost intentionally trying to blur the lines between categories. It's not just for the sake of undermining the categories, it's for the sake of undermining expectations and easy explanations. Many folks who have looked at some (not all, because clearly most of my photos are portraits) of my photos do seem to wonder, and have expressed this to me, whether it's a portrait or not. I take that as a compliment. Because to me, every portrait is on a significant level also not a portrait and is a photograph. Every portrait has its abstractions, its play of light and shadow, and every face that represents a real person is also a photographic face that is pure fiction. Every face tells a story and goes beyond likeness and portraiture. And many photos that were not intended to be, were not pre-considered, were quick grabs, and have no direct engagement, are portraits.
    I think an important way to come up with innovation and new kinds of visions is to not think in categories or at least to think very loosely about categories. Yes, sports photographers may think in very specific terms. But they will likely always be sports photographers. Those wanting to be artists (and any genre of photography can be art, including sports) will probably move outside those parameters to some extent in order to universalize their message more. By looking for the portrait aspect of street work or, for that matter, the street aspect of portrait work, one might not fit easily into a formula but one might discover a new twist on an accepted genre or a new genre completely.
    I can't tell and don't care whether this photo was set up, whether Ton talked to this guy or not, whether Ton took a brief instant to point his camera and shoot or whether he and the guy set this up for an hour and a half, and I really don't see THIS falling clearly into portrait or not-portrait.
    My sense is that THIS photo was NOT taken to be a portrait, per se. It was a street shot at some sort of festival. Hanging in a gallery with other street shots, especially ones with more action and crowds and movement, I'd see it as adding to the street shot vocabulary. But let's say Ton got the guy's phone number and then mailed him a print of this and the guy hangs it in his living room. I bet most people who know him, and even the guy himself, would consider it a good portrait, and maybe even a pretty accurate one at that, at least on some levels.
    THIS photo of mine has spawned a lot of discussion over whether or not it's a portrait. I haven't really decided. I will say that a lot of viewers and fairly experienced photographers have discussed that questioningly and it seems to both be and not be a portrait and I've always considered that a plus. I can tell you that in some situations I label it with the person's name, Ian, and in others I give it more non-portrait-like title.
    Context has a very important role in all this.
    Sure, email me or send me a PN message and we can get together sometime! That would be fun.
     
  90. [​IMG] Is this a portrait?
     
  91. Anwar, great example.
     
  92. Thanks Fred G. but I am now confused. Based on wikipedia:
    A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.​
    So, taking it from wikipedia's definition, my photo of this limping man above is not a portrait for the sole reason that it is not a still photo. Now, let's try this:
    Image deleted. Per the photo.net Terms of Use, do not post photos that you did not take.
    Is the jumping couple shot not a portrait because they are not in a still position?
    Please enlighten me.
     
  93. Anwar, according to that definition it also wouldn't be a portrait because he's not looking at the camera. Imagine all the great profile portraits your dictionary just dismissed! I'm definitely advocating a much more liberal usage of the word "portrait." Dictionaries are a good starting point, as far as I'm concerned, but in many instances (especially regarding photographs and art) they are limited. Did you ever try looking up what art means in a dictionary? Is it helpful?
    Where I agree with Brad is that I find it very helpful to know what the traditional definitions of things are and how those traditional approaches were carried out. Again, that's a start. I build from there. Words are fluid. Meaning is not some fixed state of affairs. Meaning evolves. It does not stand still. Nor does the subject of a portrait have to!
     
  94. I was thinking that maybe since "portraiture" originated from paintings, the 'original' concept must be that the person, whose image is taken, has to be in a still position?
    And since film was 'slow' during those early days, a moving portrait would be impossible?
    And since now we have 'fast' films, lenses and scanners, a moving portrait would be possible?
     
  95. Don't you think painters ever worked from their memories of people who were in fact moving around? Degas painted dancers who were often in motion when he painted them. And, as far as I know, capturing movement in photos has always been possible.
    At one time, I'm sure stillness was an important part of portraits. That's changed.
     
  96. But was it called portrait of dancers?
    Is it correct to assume that daguerreotype cannot take moving photos as it requires at least 10-minutes or so for proper exposures?
    One of Abraham Lincoln's photo is a still portrait using the daguerreotype and also Edgar Allan Poe.
    Agree with you that - 'stillness was an important part of portraits. That's changed.'
    The medium used and the moment of capture are two very relative things in portraiture. Will you still now require a 10-minute pause for just a single click of the shutter? But that moment of capture remains 'still'. Still at 1/8th of a second? Still...
     
  97. Anwar, I'm afraid I'm not following you. I don't know what you're trying to say about portraits and stillness.
    Yes, I think some of Degas's paintings are portraits of dancers. I don't necessarily think they were intended as such, and I don't care.
     
  98. OFF TOPIC I got my first, asked for portrait..sort of portrait. I broke my own comfort zone and asked this guy for a pic. Nothing to write home about, he just pushed the kids forward but then I said how about dad too? He said "grandpa' oops lol.
     
  99. oops here> oh well nevermind like I said nothing to write home about, but the experience was ok..
     
  100. >>> Is this a portrait?
    Anwar, was there an engagement with the subject, or a relationship established between photographer and subject? Did you consider several composition possibilities, thinking about the light, making adjustments where you were located, trying different poses, taking control of other variables like background clutter, other people in the frame, etc? If so, it's not apparent. If not, then not a portrait.
    It appears to be a "street" photo. Nothing wrong with that, by the way. I literally have tens of thousands of street photos I've taken over the years that are not portraits and don't feel the least bit slighted that others as well do not consider them portraits.
    Here's a quick grab shot, everyone is aware (including her not too happy boyfriend), and was taken from a few feet away. But definitely not a portrait. I still like it though:
    [​IMG]
     
  101. Here is one I took, I believe the week before last. I saw them, liked what I saw, went up to them and said....L.A. Cool, How about a pic to which they hammed up. :)
    [​IMG]
    Lumix LX-5
     
  102. Uh-oh, what happened to the photo, Catherine? In any event, good that you broke through your comfort zone. Engagement is key. If you approach people straight up and are honest about what you're trying to do, they'll literally go out of their way to help you out. The next time it will be easier. And it keeps getting easier and easier each time.
    Are you in or nearby a big city?
    [​IMG]
    Raymond and Toni in the Tenderloin
     
  103. >>> Here is one I took,

    Winner winner, chicken dinner. A portrait, Javier...
     
  104. Here is another one Would this be a street portrait or a street shot? I am not sure. I saw this fellow carrying this antique and had to grab a picture. He was ''willing and wanting'' to trade me his set up for my LX-5....Ahhhhh no....
    [​IMG]
    Lumix LX-5, click image for larger version.
     
  105. >>> Would this be a street portrait or a street shot? I am not sure.

    I'm not sure either...

    Just as a humble *suggestion*, if it were me, next time put in that situation I'd make the technicals better to remove any doubt.
     
  106. I'm not sure either...
    Just as a humble *suggestion*, if it were me, next time put in that situation I'd make the technicals better to remove any doubt.​
    lol, after this thread, I Better....The reality and it shows is that this was a series of images I was trying to save. They are over exposed and well...it shows. But still i got the shot. Truth be told, only the center image would be a portrait, I think, but now I am no longer sure. Thanks for the compliment and chicken dinner :)
     
  107. I think a lot of the work I do especially at Union Station and Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade have a foot in both camps. I can fill the frame so that it looks like a studied portrait but most are candid shots such as the one below. I'll take anywhere from 1 to a whole roll (10) of shots. Sometimes depending on the situation I'll shoot even more and change rolls.
    00YDRp-332197584.jpg
     
  108. So, based on the discussion and definitions, this is not a portrait.
    00YDW6-332251584.jpg
     
  109. And this is a portrait.
    00YDWA-332253584.jpg
     
  110. DS, aren't you glad you've nailed that down? (NOT) LOL!
     
  111. I'm going to post my first asked for (actually I got 2). Brad I live in Montreal, and an ethnic suburb (reformed ghetto) that still has ghetto quality, so I should be able to get some interesting photos once I get past my inhibition. Its very united nations in this sector of the city and quite an interesting place which is why I asked about street portraiture in the first place. Ok its my first shot asked for shot so it was just a breaking down of the communication barrier for me, practice at a local park, where people were out with the kids etc. Like I said, just an ordinary shot but it helped me to aapproach people, spoke to a few actuallly, and so the odyssey begins. :) I hope to visit the asian market soon and that will yeild something a bit more interesting hopefully.
    00YDYf-332309584.jpg
     
  112. On the subject of focal length, thanks above, this thread is a long road :) I will continue with 'wide to normal zoom' 17-50mm, tamron 2.8 but am thinking 24-70 2.8 L in future. I had imagined the 50mm would push me to approach people, but of course on my crop sensor its till longish..so I lrealized yesterday that the short zoom is ideal. Thanks. I think I'm ready now :)
     
  113. DS ,6:57am nice capture.
    Steve
     
  114. Catherine: Lots of oppurtunity in Montreal. Congrats on taking the first step.
    Steve
    00YDZd-332327584.jpg
     
  115. >>> Ok its my first shot asked for shot so it was just a breaking down of the communication barrier for me,... Like I said, just an ordinary shot but it helped me to aapproach people, spoke to a few actuallly, and so the odyssey begins. :)
    Perfect start! That's the essence of "street portraiture." Getting up enough nerve breaking down personal barriers, getting out of your comfort zone, approaching total strangers, and ultimately learning about people while taking a portrait. And in the process discovering that strangers aren't so unapproachable or scary after all.
    That's the aspect that a lot of people don't get about street portraiture. And no doubt argue over definitions simply due to that element being uncomfortable.
    Avedon spoke about the *relationship* between photographer/camera and subject being an essential element in portraiture. That's what street portraiture is about, but taking that one step further getting out of the studio and into peoples' environment. Sure, you can take candid pictures of people and then proclaim them portraits. Many obviously do. But street portraiture, like portraiture in general, is really about engagement and relationship. People that actually practice it daily (rather than theorize about it), understand that perfectly.
    There are a lot of ways to practice getting up to speed. I used to shoot a lot of San Francisco events just for that purpose. At events, participants are there to be seen, express a point of view, and are always good for engagement. After awhile you learn that all events are about the same, with only the costume and message changing. Protests marches/demonstrations are similar avenues.
    You then look for greater challenges and projects. For me, that's people that initially don't want to be seen or discovered. But after the approach, there's always something on their mind and a story to tell. I've become very good at listening. Right now I shoot in a SF neighborhood that most photographers stay out of because to many it's scary going in and being treated with suspicion. For me it's energizing and is now part of a long-term project.
    >>> and so the odyssey begins. :)
    What's great is it's an odyssey with no limits. I've been to Montreal just once, but I suspect there are huge opportunities at many different levels that one can spend their life exploring.
    [​IMG]
     
  116. >>> I will continue with 'wide to normal zoom' 17-50mm, tamron 2.8 but am thinking 24-70 2.8 L in future.
    I had imagined the 50mm would push me to approach people, but of course on my crop sensor its till
    longish.

    The Tamron 17-50 is what I used when I shot with a crop body. It's a great lens for both street and street portraiture. I actually like it better
    than my 24-70 f/2.8 that I used to use on my FF body that I shoot with today. That's a heavy and large lens. I shoot
    just with a 35 (on a FF) today. It's a nice crossover lens for both street and street portraiture.

    Yeah, for me a 50 on a crop body is long. Like a telephoto. I don't use mine very much.
     
  117. Photographers and these individual threads seem to fall into many camps. There's an emphasis in this thread on process, on intention, on "meeting people" and "getting out of yourself," etc., on what a street shooter is, all of which should not be minimized. It would be interesting now to explore it from a visual and visualization perspective. To look at photographs not because of how they were made but because of what they look like.
     
  118. Ok Fred. I'll start with an easy one. Walking around Antigua I came across this scene. It struck me as timeless, so I tried to capture how I visualized the moment.
    I hope this qualifys as what you meant.
    Steve
    00YDay-332345584.jpg
     
  119. For me it is a street portrait, I don't know how it will be for you...
    00YDbb-332365584.jpg
     
  120. Javier -Thats exactly the philosophy that I use. If in doubt on the first two, just take it!
    Some good advice here Catherine.
     
  121. Thanks for the nod Steve! And, yes, your shot from Antigua could have been shot in many places and in many eras - so, yes, I'd say it is timeless.
    Catherine - a good beginning! Keep at it. I'm pretty sure there are street photographers in Montreal. Maybe you can find contact info for some and maybe see if you can shoot together some. I don't know this person, but he's got some nice work.
    http://www.j-roumagnac.net/index.php?showimage=115
    DS Meador
     
  122. This has all been great and great reading. I don`t know anyone, who shoots mainly street, but I always run into people when I`m out downtown, so who knows. I feel like I know you guys now so if your ever in my neck of the woods, shout me up and I`ll put on my bummiest clothes and give you the grand tour. I think its a goldmine for street. Bob Kurt (Montrealer) always finds a great one...
    Brad you know being a guy helps. I don`t think Montreal has any really tough or sensitive areas as many big American cities do. I can say that I feel safe on the streets of Montreal whatever part of town it is or whatever time of night. At least the issue has never concerned me. Of course stuff happens, but its usually isolated incidents between people known to each other. I think I just made Montreal sound really boring lol
     
  123. Along with what I said earlier about my pic(orchestra portrait). Since I enjoy Latin American photography, I also wanted to capture it in a more "Latin American" style. As opposed to my usual one.
    Did I succeed?
    Steve
     
  124. What`s Latin American style? Don`t tell me countries have `styles`? So what`s Canadian eh?
     
  125. [​IMG]
    Another recent one. Can a street portrait have two people in it?
     
  126. Catherine: I was alluding to the discussion on the Different Cultures thread. The claim is that the culture you are raised in effects your style. They articulate it much better in that thread than I can.
    Javier, Of course you can have two in a street portrait.
    00YFF3-333777584.jpg
     

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