Zac Patsalides: Capturing Love on the Streets in Asia

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All images by Zac Patsalides. Used with permission.

Zac Patsalides is a wandering street photographer. If you happen to find yourself in Thailand, you might come across a fellow with a Leica M Monochrom around his neck and an affinity for capturing the moment. Patsalides dedicates his time almost exclusively to black-and-white photography, so much so that when he looks around, he sees in monochrome. Here, Patsalides shares some of his story and his street photographs from his travels in Asia.

Phoblographer: Are you the stand-and-wait type of street photographer or the walkabout type?

Zac: I’m definitely the walkabout type, I’m too impatient to wait. I will walk for hours wijulius motal the phoblographer zac patsalides image 04th no real purpose, that way I get off the beaten track and get lost in the process. I like to think that the world presents me with the moments I capture but it’s probably just luck. I feel if I waited for something I’d miss out on all the things planned for me up ahead.

Phoblographer: What attracts you black and white over color photography?

Zac: Well I grew up with black and white film and fell in love instantly. Personally, I love the fact that it’s timeless. Some shots I’ve taken can’t easily be placed in a time period, they could have been taken anywhere within a century. I generally photograph people so I also like the fact there aren’t strong colours drawing attention away from the emotion of the picture. Since film, I basically see in black and white when I’m shooting on the streets. When I got my first digital camera I found myself converting everything to black and white so I’ve pretty much stuck with it.

Phoblographer: How did you get your start in street photography?

Zac: That’s a tough question, I can’t really remember. I guess when I started to study photography I was seeing all these photographers that created the most amazing shots while on the street. What I love about photography is capturing that moment. That moment that will never happen again, I think it takes a certain skill to do that. With landscapes and portraits they can be recreated; mountains and seas tend to stay put and poses can always be done again. I like the fact that what I captured won’t ever be captured again, it’s mine.
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Phoblographer: Tell us about your Along the Way series in Asia. Some people seem aware of you and others don’t. How did you navigate that?

Zac: Along the way” is a collection of photographs I have taken while traveling South East Asia. Within julius motal the phoblographer zac patsalides image 07this series there are several sub-categories. One I’m focusing on at the moment is “Love”. This series began in the poorer regions of South East Asia. A lot of communities I visited didn’t have a lot of money, possessions or technology–but for what they lacked in terms of wealth and materialism, they sure made up for with Love. The love between parents and children, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends here is unreal.

When people visit countries like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, they focus so much on what they don’t have. They don’t have money, they don’t have a car or a new phone. I decided to focus on what they do have: Love. Of course, in Western culture, we still love one another. But somehow, between the 9-5 jobs, the school run, technology and the daily grind in general, we’ve somehow forgotten how to show it. I hope that this series will remind us that at the end of the day Love is the most important thing in life, with love comes true happiness that no amount of money nor any kind of job could bring.Well I’ve been photographing for a while but I’ve only had a real social media presence for around 4 months. I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of followers and feedback I’ve got since I started, as well as the opportunities.

Hopefully soon everyone will know about me, haha.

Phoblographer: What’s your gear setup and preferred focal length?

Zac: My main camera is a Leica M Monochrom, which is perfect for me being able to only take black and white images, I also shoot with a Leica M6. I’m a bit of a camera hoarder and have everything from mirrorless cameras to home made large formats. I shoot pretty much all my work with a 50mm. It’s the first lens I used and it fits me perfectly. I occasionally use a 12mm, it’s good for shooting from the hip because I don’t really need to focus it.

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Phoblographer: How did you get over the fear of photographing strangers that plagues nearly every street photographer in the beginning?

Zac: I’ll be honest I can’t really remember having much of a fear, it was more of a thrill for me, it got my heart going. Thinking about it retrospectively, that probably was fear. Knowing your rights really helps, in the UK you’re well within your rights to photograph anyone in a public place. Also smiling helps, after pretty much every shot I take I’ll smile at the subject, it’s not so good to rush off because people will feel pissed off and violated. In Asia I’ve even been learning the different languages so I can engage the subject and sometimes ask to take their photo in their native language, but a lot of the people out here are most obliging when it comes to having their photos taken. 

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