Learn the most celebrated photography style, The Street, with the National Geographic Photographer Massimo Bassano, joined by Vancouver emerging photographer Myriam Casper.
“Together we designed an intense Street Photography Workshop to push you out of your comfort zone, giving instant feedback, direction and ideas of how to capture street moments”
Information available here.
So, we had our first Meetup on a cold, windy and very wet day in Vancouver. After expecting no one to show up, a total of 9 brave souls came out to learn and shoot. Almost everyone showed up early for the coffee and doughnuts at 49th Parallel on Main Street. Well done everyone!
Here are a few of the images I captured playing around with the setup on my camera. Testing Auto Focus today with the 23mm f/2.0 and practicing Shooting from the Hip.
As I mentioned I would be taking the Free On-Line Street Photography Class along with everyone else and that I would post notes. Here is the first installment.
• Part-1.1 – Howard Becker: Introduction to Visual Sociology
The paper explains the importance and relevance of Sociology and Photography in the early years and how in many ways they are the same, or at least, chasing the same goals. This leads to the importance of ‘candid’ photography or what we call ‘Classic Street Photography’. I feel it’s important to both gaining an understanding of Street Photography but also to explaining or defining What Street Photography is. There is more on this in the Required Reading Part-1.2.
Two important paragraphs and a great lesson stand out for me that should make you think, and hopefully help you change your ways.
“Laymen learn to read photographs the way they do headlines, skipping over them quickly to get the gist of what is being said. Photographers, on the other hand, study them with the care and attention to detail one might give to a difficult scientific paper or a complicated poem. Every part of the photographic image carries some information that contributes to its total statement; the viewer’s responsibility is to see, in the most literal way, everything that is there and respond to it.”
I think that when Becker says “Photographers, on the other hand” he is referring to accomplished or at least somewhat photographically educated photographers. Most new photographers have neither the knowledge, understanding, the eye for, nor the developed photographic language to notice the subtle nuances and statements that can be found within an image. But, don’t let that deter you. This stuff can all be taught, and learned, an Becker even gives the reader a valuable exercise.
“Using a watch with a second hand, look at the photograph intently for two minutes. Don’t stare and thus stop looking; look actively. It will be hard to do, and you’ll find it useful to take up the time by naming everything in the picture to yourself: this is a man, this is his arm, this is the finger on his hand, this is the shadow his hand makes, this is the cloth of his sleeve, and so on. Once you have done this for two minutes, build it up to five, following the naming of things with a period of fantasy, telling yourself a story about the people and things in the picture. The story needn’t be true; it’s just a device for externalizing and making clear to yourself the emotion and mood the picture has evoked, both part of its statement.”
I highly recommend you try the exercise to help train your eye and your mind to better read images and to help develop the language of photography. Judges and Critics do this, not as an exercise but merely from looking at images over and over many times for many years. Unfortunately, many do not learn to really look at them and thus are not better than those that merely read headlines.
“When you have done this exercise many times, a more careful way of looking will become habitual. Two things result. You will realize that ordinarily you have not consciously seen most of what is in an image even though you have been responding to it You will also find that you can now remember the photographs you have studied much as you can remember a book you have taken careful notes on. They become part of a mental collection available for further work.”
It’s that ‘mental collection’ that becomes a valuable tool for your art or photography. Keep learning, looking, and shooting!
Please know that I am always open to discussion, comments, and corrections. I’m not the expert. I work hard at learning as much as I can and at growing as a Street Photographer. Tell me I’m wrong! But please tell me why you think I’m wrong. I encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns on this blog.
Want to share relevant images? Please share with us at our Facebook Group “Streets I Have Walked”.
All Class Notes (as I post them) can be found in the respective Free On-Line Street Photography Class pages.
This is a great opportunity to learn from a recognized long time street photographer. Ian has announced two Vancouver based Street Photography workshops for 2018. He has also announced workshops for Toronto, Montreal and Paris. The dates for the Vancouver workshops are June 15th to 17th, 2018, and August 10th to 12th, 2018. You may want to book early!
You can register for his workshops on his website here.
For those of you that are wanting to start the On-line class, here is some information.
Please Subscribe to this Blog (link at the right) via E-mail, this will help keep you informed.
Go to the Learn Street Photography Menu and read the About this Class page. Then go to Part-01 and read all the required materials. Note that the very first thing to read (Introduction to Visual Sociology by Howard Becker) is probably the most difficult to get through as it reads a little like a scientific paper. Push through it as its worth reading. The others are easier.
This class is meant to be done at your own pace. There are things that are asked of you that are designed to specifically address different elements of Street Photography. It is important that you do them if you want to get everything you can out of this class. This includes setting up your Free WordPress site where you will post your notes and images. This is where you can have friends or peers review your work, offer CC or make recommendations. It also serves as a log of your work so you can see how you progress over the years. The writing component of street photography is a helpful and powerful tool that will make you a better photographer.
As I have just set all this up and created the site in the last two days, we may run into some obstacles. If you have any issues, concerns, or suggestions with any of the class materials please let me know. Note that I will be doing this class one part at a time and posting my results and observations here. See you on the streets!
Also, you may want to read the post below this one as it will help introduce you to me and how I got started in Street Photography.