On a recent photo tour, we wandered through the East Village, Nolita, Chinatown and the Lower East Side with an emphasis on street photography. I have a number of suggested tours which can all be customized or we can start from scratch and create a photo tour that is based on the style of photography and/or neighborhood that interests you. Whether you’re new to New York City or you’ve lived here all your life. And whether you’re new to photography or very experienced at it. You can see reviews on my site that run the gamut of experience and knowledge of the city. A photo tour is private and it could be one-on-one or you can be a group of up to 4 people. If you’re interested, I also do photo tours for larger groups.
Capturing a photograph that embodies the spirit of the place that you’re in is for me always my goal. Street photography has at least 2 elements to it. The spirit of place and the human element. To be able to get both of those in a single frame is a real bonus. In my last post I talked about patience. And in the majority of the photos that really capture both of these elements, patience is the biggest factor. I typically start with composition. With a background that speaks to me for whatever reason. Be it shadows, repetitive patterns or even a building to name a few things. Then hurry up and wait as the saying goes! This photo was taken during the Chinatown Street Photography Workshop on 2 April 2017. I have a number of workshops and private photo tours where we explore many different neighborhoods in New York City while working on different photographic techniques, including street photography.
When it comes to street photography and photography in general, I tend to have a preference to process in black and white. This photo was taken in Bushwick and the street art is in wild and hot colors. There are many occasions when I find color more of a distraction then something that supports the composition of the photo. As soon as I viewed the photo without color it jumped out for me. I imagine that for many people the idea of taking photos of street art automatically assumes that you’ll use color. It was that way for a very long time for me. I like to challenge my notions about how things should be done on a regular basis. To experiment with the different ways that I take photos and process them. If you’re interested in going to Bushwick and photographing street art as well as exploring different creative methods in photography, my next workshop there is on Sunday 30 April.
People love to get dressed up in Harlem. Especially on Sundays. The men and women wear hats. Fabulous hats with style and character. Once upon a time wearing hats was more common. I’m not talking about baseball caps! There are so many things to photograph in New York City! Harlem is a favorite neighborhood for street photography and in general. The next Harlem Street Photography Workshop is Sunday 16 April. There a few spaces available. It’s a maximum of 6 people and it’s good for all levels of experience. You can see reviews from previous attendees here on my site.
Weather is not usually something that gets in the way of me taking photos. It has to be a fairly extreme situation for me to not go out and shoot. I probably like overcast, rainy days as much as I like sunny days. The weather conditions are like art materials to be used in the making of a photo. Each time you shoot you are given a different set of materials to work with. It is a kind of improvisation. What will be the paintbox for the day? It starts with an intention and then the rest is left to chance. One of my favorite quotes by Proust is “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” As a photographer I try to spend much time seeing, looking at things. Often I look at the same thing and photograph it many times on different occasions. Maybe it’s a bit like mental aerobics. It’s easy in a crowded city to miss much unless you stop and take the time to really look at things and that means also seeing them in different light. That works both ways. This photo was taken during a Street Photography Workshop in Chinatown, October 2016.
Yesterday we had some great shadows and light for the Chinatown Street Photography workshop! The weather is of course, always has an influence on photography. As you probably already know, I love shooting in the rain! I also love shooting when there are strong shadows as well. So when I say that every workshop is different, the weather is just one of the factors that go into it. The next Street Photography Workshop is in Harlem on Sunday 16 April.
Street photography and photography is for me always about the spirit of place. Whether in my workshops or photo tours I always draw attention to what is unique about the area, the people that live there, the architecture etc. And some of it, much of it, is also about the moment. You can really only take a photo once no matter how many times you take it. It is always different. And there’s always so much that can be captured that it’s impossible to entirely exhaust an area. When I get bored (which is rare) I realize that it’s more about my ability to see things differently than anything else. Tomorrow is the Chinatown Street Photography Workshop and space is still available. I never tire of Chinatown. Photo taken during a photo tour. Chinese TV, 24 March 2017