On Being Careless

To be interested in street photography is to be careless.

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The above might look better if the boats were cut out of the photograph. The subject would be clearer.

But the eyes don’t always discriminate properly.

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Found scenes are things as they are.

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Boats and paths as they are.

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A child as he is.

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There’s an accommodation of sorts.

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An ordering of nature.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

On Sense and Sensibility

What, really, is there to talk about when it comes to street photography?

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In the end, we’re capturing our selves.

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And the constraints that shape us.

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Street photography is another way of thinking.

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Another way of looking.

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Sometimes the scene seems a bit bare.

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Until one encounters a human figure.

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The art is long and life so short.

In the meantime, my exhibition is still on-going – come by if you’re in the area.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

A Street Photographer’s Camera

I’ve been thinking a bit about the tools we use.

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A street camera is a machine for seeing.

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Frankly, any camera will do. But I prefer film cameras.

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For me, it’s a Leica M6 most of the time, because I need the meter once in a while.

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At other times, it’s a Contax TVS II, a Canon 600D (yes, a digital camera) with legacy lenses, or an Olympus XA 2, just to switch around a bit, to refresh my vision.

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I’m not adverse to using digital. But film cameras do last a long time.

Like my (2001 model) Toyota Corolla, which in Hong Kong, seems to be a mechanic’s favourite car.

It’s forgettable, reliable and replacement parts are easy to find.

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I’ve been reading about self-drive cars and their amazing electronics.

But I wonder how long the electronics would last.

Do we have to replace them the way we replace our tablets/smartphones/laptops?

I’m suspicious of planned (compelled) obsolescence.

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Would a digital camera last more than 3-5 years?

That’s the question I ask whenever I experience that rush of gear envy.

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Thanks for reading!

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

Getting Out of a Creative Rut

Some days, it seems like things just won’t come together.

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You’re feeling blocked.

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The framing is off.

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You look up.

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You look back at people.

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You look up again.

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You try again.

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What else can one do, but try to fail better.

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And then you get the feeling that things are coming together finally.

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And you find something that makes sense, finally.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

2 Idiot-Proof Approaches to Street Photography with a Leica M6

So basically, I have 2 idiot-proof approaches.

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Approach 1, step 1: Set the camera to f/16 and 1/125s on a bright (or even slightly overcast) day, depending on your film ISO.

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Approach 1, step 2: adjust my 35mm lens such that the DOF scale allows for a distance of between 1.2m to infinity to be in focus.

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Approach 1, step 3: walk around and allow serendipity to do its work.

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Approach 2, step 1: focus on a brick wall.

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Approach 2, step 2: fumble with camera.

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Approach 2, step 3: allow serendipity to do its work.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

All that Labour

All that labour.

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Those goods on display.

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Yummy stuff.

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Sometimes we don’t see all the work that goes into work.

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We negotiate a life.

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And a city emerges.

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It’s bigger than us.

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The labour of thinking.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

From Place to Place It Must Mean Something

Today, we look at the act of pushing.

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All that work, all day, must mean something.

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This is us.

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We sort things out.

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We go from place to place.

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From place to place it must mean something.

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The pull of desire.

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All that pushing…

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Ilford XP2 400

Looking for Inspiration

Inspiration – that sudden realization.

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Some find it in trees.

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Others find it in rocks.

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Many find it in the interaction between the built and natural environment.

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There’s a biblical angle to inspiration, akin to revelation.

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What is the street asking of me these days?

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What is my street?

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Is it an impersonal grid?

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Is there a personality emerging?

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Where is the street these days?

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These are all reflections of our selves.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

What We’re Looking For

We’re all looking for something.

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There’s a gap in our lives.

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If only that gap could be filled, we’ll be happy.

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We all want something.

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Anything.

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A friend.

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A thing.

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To whet an appetite.

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After that, the world would make more sense.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN

Let the People Walk

Stand at a corner and look confused.

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Fumble with my camera long enough and someone will walk past.

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I’ll look a bit lost and confused and frown at my camera.

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I wasn’t holding the camera to my eye.

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Another favourite activity: aim at the window.

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And let people get in my way.

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I’ve come to appreciate photographs that look like they were taken accidentally.

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Street photography is an art that requires artlessness.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN