Posts Tagged ‘street photography’

Vintage Car in Cuba

Photo of the Day

Here’s another of Cuba’s famous vintage cars. I couldn’t resist these classic machines especially not when they were backlit by Trinidad’s warm sunset glow.

A full Cuba gallery will be coming soon.

Click to see the image on a black background:

Vintage Car in Havana, Cuba

Photo of the Day

I’m not a car buff, by any stretch, but I couldn’t get enough of the classic cars in Cuba. From an age where form could trump function, the lines of these lumbering machines never failed to capture my attention.

Cubans like to brag that they have the best mechanics in the world. With the embargo in place that has kept them from updating their vehicles, they’ve had to make their cars last and last for a long time. When you know that you may never own another car, you do everything you can to make sure the one you had stays in good working order. And if it’s the source of your livelihood you start caring for it like a baby. A majority of these classic cars are cabs for hire and for a cheap fare, you can catch a ride in a little piece of history.

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A vintage American car on the streets of Havana, Cuba at night.

Mother and Daughter in Trinidad, Cuba

Photo of the Day

Life seems more public in Cuba. The warm climate helps, but even more important, I think, is the sense of community and the tradition of close-knit extended families. Visits to neighbours are constant. As a result, a walk down a Cuban street sees more of daily life happening out in the open than in many other parts of the world.

Getting to see that family life shared so openly is one of the joys of wandering through Cuban cities. Here, Mother and daughter share a stroll up one of Trinidad’s cobbled streets as the sun sets behind them.

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A mother and daughter walk the cobbled streets of Trinidad, Cuba at sunset.

Baseball in Old Havana

Photo of the Day

After a long trip back from Cuba yesterday, I’m back home with a hard drive full of new photos.

There will be more to come from Cuba in the next little while, but I also plan to mix it up with photos from Greece as well as recent shots from the Peak District (and who knows where else). For now, here’s a little glimpse into Habana Vieja, Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features eclectic architecture and the incomparable energy of its residents.

Here, one of the island’s many vintage cars serves as a back stop for teens aspiring for the big leagues in baseball-obsessed Cuba.

Click to see a larger image:

A Walk in Venice

Photo of the Day

I love this couple. I don’t know them, but for the short time that they appeared on the top of this, one of Venice’s many bridges, they blew me away just with how much character they radiated.

As I wandered this particular Venetian street, I was first struck by the quality of the light glowing from the backs of every person that climbed this bridge. That was my cue to set up shop and wait for the right person or people to enter the frame to fill out the scene and make the most of the brilliant rim light.

A while later, my patience was rewarded by this couple.

Click to see the image on a black background:

A couple walk over a bridge in the Cannareggio district in Venice, Italy.

How Eric Kim Shoots Street Photos

Street photographer Eric Kim has posted the following video showing his point of view when he hits the streets with his camera.

It’s an interesting glimpse at how he works: spot a subject, walk confidently and purposefully toward desired vantage point, snap, move along (brief small talk optional). It’s fast and generally not too intrusive and the results are not too bad. See the photos on Eric’s blog.

I’ve rarely used this kind of approach myself – I prefer to ask permission and that has its good and bad sides. On the one hand, well, you’ve asked permission. People appreciate that and some people are decidedly unwilling to allow photos – asking permission avoids trouble. Another big bonus is that you often get a chance to get to know someone you would have normally just passed by. That can lead additional photo ops or even better, friendships.

On the bad side, you’ll often miss shots and the shots you do get after asking for permission can sometimes look posed and stilted.

Either way, I suppose it’s good to be able to work both ways: slowly cozy up to a subject until you can call each other pals or try Eric’s way and be a stealthy photo ninja that has left the scene before they even know a picture was taken.

Evening in Diocletian’s Palace

Photo of the Day

A couple of men enjoy a warm September evening in the narrow alleys of Diocletian’s Palace in Split Croatia.

Click to see the image on a black background:

Split Street Scene

Trinity Lane in Cambridge

Photo of the Day

On a recent trip to Cambridge, the late-afternoon light was providing a brilliant backlight to the pedestrians passing through Trinity Lane. It would have been a nice enough shot without anyone in the scene, but I was sure that if I could wait for the right person to pass, the image would have a lot more interest to it.

Fortunately for me, before the light shifted and faded, the right person did indeed come along and the photo below is the result.

Click for the image on black:

Trinity Lane in Cambridge

Photography and the Law – June 14, 2010

For all the street photographers out there who fear the ever-extending long arm of the law, it’s time to read up on recent developments regarding cameras and cops:

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to remember what you’re allowed photograph, so perhaps it’s time to brush up on your photographer’s rights: UK version and US version.

Photo Links for 30-03-2010

A few links to various photo-related topics have caught my eye in the last few days:

Photo of the Day – Hanoi Portrait

Hanoi was one of my favourite places for street photography, largely because everyone is always in the street. Many businesses that would normally carry out their day-to-day operations inside are frequently found occupying the sidewalks of the motorcycle-choked, labyrinthine streets of the old city. Shoemakers, carpenters, metal workers and other trades and craftspeople are on full display and with a little rudimentary Vietnamese and a friendly smile, you can find some great subjects for your shots.

One of my personal favourite shots from the time I spent there is the one below. Again, this is another one from my brand new portfolio site, this time from the people section. Click on the thumbnail to see the full size:

This guy just looked badass. He was hanging out on the corner, not getting up to much of anything – just checking out the scene and listening to Hanoi’s ever-present motorcycle-horn symphony.

As tough and mean as he looked, I couldn’t bear passing by him without at least trying to get his consent for a photo. I could have walked across the street, slapped a long lens on my camera and covertly snapped a candid, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t be altogether pleased with the result. His appearance was so engaging, I felt I would lose some of that by putting a huge distance between us. Not to mention, I generally think it’s polite to ask when the opportunity’s available.

Armed with one of the few Vietnamese phrases I was capable of speaking, I approached him and the local words for “Can I take your photo?” managed to stumble out of my foreign mouth. The worst he could do was say no and I would have lost nothing except an opportunity for what would have been a somewhat unsatisfying candid shot.

But instead of saying no, he looked at me silently, nodded and then proceeded to take this pose while I got my shot. My Vietnamese was, by no means, good enough to tell him to “act natural” or “cross your arms and look tough.” I got a bit lucky with that, but, to a degree, you make your own luck and this shot wouldn’t have happened without performing the simple act of asking to take the photo.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy to overcome the intimidation factor, but you just have to keep telling yourself, “the worst they can do is say no.”

I’m hoping I can follow up this brief visit of my time in Vietnam with a slightly more lengthy stay there – I would like to gather up some of my favoured shots from there into a “best of” gallery on this site. It’s a fantastic, beautiful country that deserves a longer look than this little blog post here. Stay tuned.

Like Street Photography? Forget Quebec

When you photograph a stranger in the street, do you think about the possible legal ramifications of publishing the shot? Hopefully you do to some extent – if you plan on licensing the image for commercial uses, you will likely need a model release.

But for plenty of uses, consent isn’t required. Let’s say that photo was destined to be in the pages of a newspaper, or that you might want to put it up on your website, or that you just wanted to email it to a friend. No problem, right? Not if you live in Quebec. Each of these uses may be subject to little-known laws that may land you and your photograph in legal trouble.

This article from the Montreal Mirror is from a couple of years ago, but it highlights a strange law that forbids photographers in Quebec from publishing photos of people without their consent, no matter what the use. The article details the origin of this law:

It was [photographer Gilbert Duclos’] 1988 photo of Pascale-Claude Aubry, then 17, wearing a black sweater and sporting cropped bleached hair sitting at the entrance of a downtown Scotiabank that led to the law. Duclos donated the photo to a small, now-defunct literary magazine Vice-Versa, which used the image on its cover.

Aubry – who hadn’t given permission for the shot – claimed that the photo led people to “laugh” at her. She demanded $10,000 in compensation. Duclos offered an amount of “what I would have paid a model.” She refused and sued, with the case going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Aubry won. In 1998 the Supreme Court ordered Duclos to pay Aubry $2,000. More importantly, the court issued the edict that henceforth, publishing an unauthorized photo of somebody violates Quebec law.

Essentially, the strange law boils down to a right of privacy (even though they may be in a public place). Before engaging in any street photography in Quebec, it might suit you to look into the legalities of what you might shoot. If you’re a brave navigator of legal documents, you can have a look through the Supreme Court’s decision which includes the following:

The right to one’s image is an element of the right to privacy under s. 5 of the Quebec Charter. If the purpose of the right to privacy is to protect a sphere of individual autonomy, it must include the ability to control the use made of one’s image. There is an infringement of a person’s right to his or her image and, therefore, fault as soon as the image is published without consent and enables the person to be identified.

As a photographer, I can only say that it’s sad that anyone attempting to document daily life in Quebec through photography may have to worry about whether or not he/she will be sued for doing so. The spread of similar laws over the world would turn street photography into a dying art.

Tips for Better Candid Photography

Digital Photography School has an article about taking better candid photographs. There are a few good reminders here for when you’re shooting without the subject’s knowledge.

Recently, however, while travelling, I have been getting away from candid photography. I have preferred approaching subjects and getting to know them a bit more before taking their photo. If I’m lucky, the photos appear candid because they have become comfortable with me and my camera. I find the results have a greater intimacy to them and I get the added bonus of interacting with some great people.

These close-up candids are a extremely different from raising a long lens at someone from across the street. The skills required are just as much interpersonal as they are photographic. The fact that most of the people I’m dealing with are from foreign cultures whose language I don’t speak and thus, the challenge is even greater. By no means have I mastered the techniques involved, but as I travel, I’m gaining more of the courage needed to continue trying it.

Of course, surreptitious shots can have their value too, and for those occasions, have a look at the article mentioned above.

Street Photography in China

I just noticed a good article by Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape on street photography in China. The article has a bunch of good tips for photographing locals in their own environment and is worth a read.

It reminds me of an older and very helpful article by John Brownlow on street photography on overcoming shyness.