Archive for the ‘street photography’ Category

I’m a journalist with a camera.  Or a storyteller with a camera.  I’ve come to realize photojournalism defines me.  My photography.  My approach to seeing the world.

I was listening to a podcast with a street photographer and she said she documents what makes her think of her childhood.  Another photographer said they are drawn to light and shadow.  Not me–I’m a story guy.  I want to capture the story of people wherever I find them.

I am the founder of the RoyStryker.com documentary photo project, and it’s all about capturing human stories in the U.S.  Because that’s who we are and that’ s what I see and seek out.

Interesting light is nice, but without a story leaves me feeling nothing.  Creamy bokeh and amazing technique are both worthless to me without content.  Because story is what I need, what I think most of us seek in a photograph.

Other street photographers look to juxtapose interesting elements–an advertisement and a person, a color pattern, or something that makes for a geometric image.  They’ll wait until the elements line up perfectly to get their shot.  Those are fun to look at, but I need story, too.  Otherwise, those are just people plucked and placed into the composition, but they may have no connection to it other than the photographer’s sense of humor.

I can’t stay put that long, a story may be around the next corner.

I’m teaching a street photography workshop this week, and the only thing I can possibly teach is to see people and look for stories.  Because that’s all I see, so it’s all I can help others see.  Like a photojournalist, find the story and document it with images.  Tell the story.

Two people walking with inner tubes is not that interesting, but the chivalry of this guy is what makes this photo a keeper. If you have to get your tube to the river, get a guy like this!  It’s serendipity that I would see them the moment they were crossing the river.  And that there’s another tuber in the river below.

Story.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we were.  It’s even in the word HiSTORY.

There’s no telling where it will appear next.  We just have to go out and look for it.  Wear comfortable shoes!

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I wanted to gather all U.S. photographers who shoot street photographs, to collect their information into one place.  So, I have at StreetPhotoDB.com.


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It’s divided up by state, so add your work with the submit button in the menu.  And check out the other photographers.  It’s brand new, so not a lot on there yet, but we’re building.  With your help…

I’ve added my site and a photo on the Colorado page.  And I added John Free from California, who I know is a street photographer there.

No telling what this will become, but you have to start somewhere and work to build great new things.  Here’s to great light.  Happy shooting!

Not only do I enjoy walking this antique flea market when I visit my folks in PA, but I love photographing some of the people and getting into conversations about photography because of my Leica IIIf that I’m shooting with.

I carry that camera everywhere I go, because it’s small enough to fit in my front jeans pocket with the lens collapsed into the body.  (I take the case off.)
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And these are the wonderful photos it makes.  The camera is from the 1950s.  The lens from the 1930s! (Click the photograph to enlarge it.)

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I am a working commercial photographer, who shoots in both film and digital.  Often, digital is required because the client needs the images in a very short turnaround.  And they need a great quantity of images.  Digital is good for that.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that PROJECTS are not going to get you anywhere but closer to paying this month’s bills.  To make a name for yourself, to get successful, you need PRODUCT.

The difference, I see, is like this.  A book is a product.  It can sell for years to come.  A gallery show is a product–it’s an event featuring you and your work.  A film, a record, a book, a short story, these are all products, and you can create a career with them.

But photographing a freelance job that gets images for one purpose, even if you can shoot ten of them a week, is still a project.  The project ends, and there is no lasting value, except perhaps to photograph it another time.  Many clients in this business end up being one and outs.  Those shoots pay the bills, and that’s all they do.

Products aren’t about creating for someone else’s needs.  Products are the result of creating for your own needs.  Putting your name on the cover and calling it your love.  And risking they may not buy it, like it.  They may even call it worthless and ridicule you.  But if it’s your vision, that’s what is valuable.  Your willingness to say something.  That’s the basis of product.

So, my focus is on my products, not projects.  It’s how I can go farther in my career and create lasting value in my work.  It’s how I can create legacy–my products are all that will be remembered.  Names are forgotten.  People disappear.  But we know the work.

That work is the product.  And that is what we must work for.

I AM LYONS COLORADO is a book I published in 2013.  It’s a product.  It exists in people’s homes and in the local library.

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Made with a Rolleiflex T twin-lens reflex camera on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado, it’s a moment captured on film that has a feeling all its own.  And very few of the digital photos being taken today will last 50 years, like this will.  Because this negative is physical–I can hold it in my hand.

She was working across the outdoor mall at a store, and saw my Rolleiflex, and came over, explaining that she’s a Rolleiflex shooter as well.

I am a proponent of legacy portraits on film, and this right here, is why.  Printed in a real darkroom on photographic paper, 12×12 framed, this is a stunning portrait for any room of the house.

…then a detail photo, one that lets us really see something that we might have missed, is worth a million, too!

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You can see more at ColoradoFaces.com

…then a comedic one is worth a million as well.  Because there are things in our world that are genuinely funny.  And capturing them is its own special joy.

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You can see more at ColoradoFaces.com