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

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

Street Photography and Human Presence

Must we have people in street photography?

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Or is the mere suggestion of human presence enough?

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I’ve grown to appreciate the poetry of things.

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So as to be on the lookout for stories to tell.

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There’s a poetics of space here.

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There’s a story of workmanship here waiting to be told.

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What sort of obstruction is being prohibited? Are the owners of those chairs obstructing access to the door prohibiting obstructions to the chairs? Isn’t the sign itself obstructing access to those chairs?

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Work, work, work.

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The labour of mobility.

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So that we know the weight of things.

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The signpost of a neighbourhood.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 SC

Film: Kodak BW400CN