David Gleave Channels Robert Capa by Getting Close to Subjects On The Street

All images by David Gleave. Used with permission. 

To create street photography with impact, one of the proven methods is to go dangerously close to the subjects. David Gleave, a Licentiateship distinction holder in the prestigious Royal Photographic Society (RPS), adopted the “in your face” approach in his street photography work.

Based in Manchester, David Gleave is a street photographer shooting people documentary style. Inspired by the popular “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you are not close enough” mantra by Robert Capa, David chose to go extremely close up to the strangers on the street.

To fill the frame with the subject, David works mostly with a 35mm lens which requirs him to be courageous and move himself physically near to achieve his “in your face” shots. He mentioned that his influences and inspiration came from renowned documentary and street photographers including Robert Frank, Robert Capa, Eugene Smith, Bruce Davidson, Garry Winogrand,  William Eggleston, William Klein, and Mary Ellen Mark. His personal camera of choice when he was shooting on the street was a Ricoh GR, and David emphasized the authenticity of his images by rarely doing any retouching or manipulation in post-processing.
The series of images shown here were taken from David’s first book called “In The City”. Using a 35mm lens which is rather wide in perspective, David must have been no more than one or two feet away from the people he photographed on the streets, yet the faces showed pleasingly natural and sometimes candid expressions. In the few images with direct eye contact with the strangers, they appear perfectly calm and relaxed. Being so close, the photographs become personal with the viewers as David became personal with the people he photographed. It gives you the feeling of being there in the moment.