Features

On Shooting from the Hip in Street Photography

chris gampat the phoblographer leica m9p review (3 of 15)

In the street photography world, there is a big debate that while seemingly frivolous, is worth talking about for ethical reasons. It involves photographers shooting from the hip: which many have done for years and produced incredible images while doing it. Their case: it helps them to get the images they need with a different perspective and while not disrupting what happens in front of them.

The other photographers need to bring the camera to their eyes to shoot. Their case: it helps them to get a better idea of what they’re shooting and also helps them develop a bit of a rapport with the subject. It also in some ways, makes them look less creepy to the general public.

And then there are some that say to use the viewfinder simply because of some unknown standard of being better than one another.

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Chris Gampat Film scans from pinhole and personal 2014 (2 of 17)

Think about why you got into photography. You were probably inspired by someone else or you liked what you could create. Then you went about researching how to become better. To that end, you probably ended up studying the work of specific photographers, looking at them, etc. That went onto looking at the work of photographers in Flickr, 500px, Instagram, etc. All that time, you were not only looking at images and building your own understanding of what pleasing images look like, but you were trying to figure out how you could do that too.

This act of looking at photos, internalizing them and pondering over them is something that is so incredibly important to a photographer’s growth. The biggest reason: you never stop learning.

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On Being an Aerial Photographer

Praying Monk, Phoenix, AZ

All images by Sherry Eklund. Used with permission.

Aerial photography is an incredibly rewarding profession, but one that intimidates many photographers. While barriers to entry are higher than some other photographic niches, they are lower than you might think. If you’re considering new options for your photographic talents with the new year, here’s everything you need to decide if aerial photography is something you should truly consider.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Instagram for the iPad (1 of 1)ISO 2001-20 sec at f - 4.0

The idea that your followers don’t matter as a photographer holds some truth–in certain circles. But gaining followers, people who love your work, and your own community of fans can help photographers in many, many ways. One of the best ways to get these followings is through social media like Instagram, EyeEm, Facebook, etc.

Followers have been likened to a form of currency in the world: as have likes, retweets, etc. But most photographers don’t understand it; and those who get burned out with social media may not realize just how valuable it can be.

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You Are Not a Photographer

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This is a syndicated blog post from James Douglas. The text and the images are being used with permission.

Please allow me to explain the above factual statement in slightly more depth before you roll your eyes and go back to redesigning your logo which is sure to solve all of your photography business problems.

This statement has been one that I’ve said to myself over and over again throughout the years. Sometimes in the form of me doubting myself artistically, sometimes it’s because I’m acting as an art director on set, or consulting on a big time project for a large agency. There’s a reason the degree I received from University of Delaware doesn’t say “Photographer” on it… although I haven’t seen it since graduation day but I’m 97% sure that’s not on it. It says Bachelor of Fine Arts on it… FINE ARTS!!! I’m probably going to go on a bit of a rant here but it makes me sad and hurts my brain when I meet with a budding new photographer and they have never heard of Imogen Cunningham or Yousuf Karsh. It’s nearly impossible to explain how Annie Leibovitz employs Rembrandt style lighting in her work when all too often theplaid clad individual I’m sitting across from thinks that’s a brand of fucking toothpaste.  Ok rant over…

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR review sample images from X Pro 1 (10 of 10)ISO 64001-50 sec at f - 2.0

There are loads of you who read this site and that want to quit your day job and shoot for a living. That’s completely commendable and wonderful. However, there are a couple of considerations you should be making.

Most of those considerations have to do with an income and knowing and understanding that professional photography is like any and every other industry: it’s about the money and marketing. You can’t pay your rent with a portrait session, you can’t trade Polaroids at the grocery store in order to eat, and you can’t place a print in the bank to accrue interest.

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Doing Photography With Partial Blindness

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All images by Walter Rothwell. Used with permission. In our previous interview with Walter, he told us about how he shoots panoramic street photos while being half blind. Here, he speaks more to the disability and how it affects his art.

Ask many photographers what’s their most important tool and they will say their eyes. Personally, I have always disagreed with this as I think the brain is the most important, but it is hard to argue with the first viewpoint. I discovered this to a huge degree early last year, my eyesight has been problematic since an accident in childhood, my left eye was sliced open by a lump of ice. That left me with partial sight in the eye and permanent double vision, I learned to ignore the second image, so although it was always there, I only really functioned with one eye. The amazing part was, I was still aware of my peripheral vision on the left, my brain had basically split the vision, ignoring what was in front but recognising signals and movement from the side. Then, early last year, things started to change.

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The Blind Can See the Pain Chris Gampat Leica M7 50mm F1.4 Summilux Review (1 of 15)

“Because it’s important” is what you’re most likely going to say to anyone who questions your photography project. When a photographer comes up with a cool idea for a documentary project or photography project to begin with, it’s typically because it’s important to them. If there is social action behind it, then it’s also because they want to get a message across. For example, the BJP recently featured a story on photographers who instead of photographing the poor, photograph the lives of the lavishly wealthy in hopes of social change.

But while a project is important to you, you’ll need to think more about the promotion and sharing of it way ahead of time.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography LCA 120 black and white images (3 of 11)

Look through Instagram and other spaces in the web community and you’ll see images like the one above everyday being tagged with #streetphotography. Each generation holds key influencers who go on to define or redefine the culture–and street photography over the years has become an even hotter topic than we all think. Years ago, it would be common for my bosses at B&H Photo to tell me that there was way too much street photography on their blog that I ran, but today, as a cultural platform, no one can get enough of it. But with all this comes what the definition of street photography is.

Street photography in its most colloquial form was about everyday scenes out in public and a documentation of life as it happens. But the major genre defining characteristics were that the images needed to be in public and that people–not things needed to be the primary focus of the scene and have to have a meaningful impact on it.

On social media platforms like Instagram, 500px, Flickr and more, it’s common for people to label other things as street photography.

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Earlier on before last night’s announcement, I had a chance to play with the new Fujifilm X Pro 2. To me, this is something that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. This camera is Fujifilm’s flagship in terms of the rangefinder style camera body–but it will live alongside the XT-1 as a flagship body but just marketed to the rangefinder crowd.

This camera in many ways takes what Fujifilm wanted to improve on and what many of the users wanted improved. It isn’t a full frame camera–and that’s fine. A camera like this is about the experience on top of the image quality it can put forward.

In my meeting, I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of the camera; but I spent considerable time with it. Than I usually get. Here’s what I remember and why I feel that for street photographers, this may be one of the more important cameras released this year.

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