Humberto Segura: All the Elements of Street Photography

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All images by Humberto Segura. Used with permission.

“It’s a contradiction: we live our lives focused on ourselves, on our problems, forgetting to look up, to observe, to appreciate the little things that make life beautiful.” says photographer Humberto Segura. “That´s what I love about street photography, to be able to capture a moment that it might just last a second or less, but it’s there, you just have to be willing to see it.”

Huberto lives in Chile, and by day is a lawyer. I found his work on EyeEm, and fell in love with his sense of geometry and the way that he approaches street photography. You see, Humberto doesn’t just shoot for the hell of it. Humberto instead shoots with the mentality of a film photographer that arranges elements into an image or waits for them to come in and out of the frame.

 

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

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Humberto: I think it was while I was living in Australia in 2007, I had a small digital Samsung camera, and maybe without even realizing it I was experiencing the world with different angles and perspectives, trying to approach photography as I would do with a painting, at least that’s what I had in mind.

Then later in around 2010 I got myself into photography in a more serious manner when I bought my first DSLR camera. It opened a whole new world for me. At first it was all about learning the technical aspects of photography, buying books every month on how could I polish the few skills that I had. Then, in a more progressive way It was all about studying about composition, color, lighting and so on.

Nowadays I’m still in that everlasting learning curve, going back and forth on the things I’ve learned in the past and trying new things, I think i’m finally realizing what is the kind of photography that I like and fulfills me the most.

Phoblographer: What got you into street photography?

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Humberto: I think it’s absolutely fascinating how you can discover beauty and rich stories even in the most simple and mundane places. It’s a contradiction: we live our lives focused on ourselves, on our problems, forgetting to look up, to observe, to appreciate the little things that make life beautiful. That´s what I love about street photography, to be able to capture a moment that it might just last a second or less, but it’s there, you just have to be willing to see it.

Phoblographer: You’re well travelled and have a very large variety of images and scenes that you’ve shot. What typically attracts you to a scene to make you want to compose and photograph it?

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Humberto: Regardless of the place that I am visiting, it’s all about the stories for me, and in that sense, to be able to tell an interesting story I always look for nice lighting, good lighting crucial for me, I think that’s the first thing that attracts me to a scene, then I look for shapes, lines, and color. If I have that, I have the stage set for me to tell a story, then, I look for a character, most of the time that is a person, but it could be an object if I feel the scene is pleasant enough or if it conveys a particular sensation or feeling. Sometimes I have a nice scene, but not the right character, or the other way around, so in that case that particular photo won’t be good enough for me, it won’t be a nice story to tell. I think every photo has to awaken some sort of feeling within me.

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Phoblographer: Your portfolio is a mix of color and black and white. What are your feelings on color and the simplicity that black and white allows a person to convey in an image?

Humberto: This is a very interesting question; I really love both, black and white and color. I’m still trying to figure out what suits me the better (assuming that I have to make that choice), and I have been doing both, and choosing one or the other, depending most of all on the place that I’m in, and what is the “vibe” or “feeling” that I want to convey. Regularly it’s a choice that I take before I begin shooting. For instance, for New York I knew months in advance that I wanted almost all of my pictures in color to represent the chaos and fast pace life of the city.

“It’s a contradiction: we live our lives focused on ourselves, on our problems, forgetting to look up, to observe, to appreciate the little things that make life beautiful. That´s what I love about street photography, to be able to capture a moment that it might just last a second or less, but it’s there, you just have to be willing to see it.”

Color for me, it’s all about waking up some visual appeal, to be able to call for attention in a more visceral way. The tough part though is not letting color exceeds the story.

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Black and white on the other hand, is all about subtlety, the lighting, the shadows, the tones, they are the tools that allow me to convey a more intimate feeling, as it was in Paris.

Phoblographer: Your images seems to involve lots of geometry, would you say that shapes and lines have a big influence on your work?

Humberto: They do, for sure, but most of the time it isn’t something that I’m absolutely aware of when I grab my camera, or when I see something appealing to me. I think I have that very internalized as it shows in a lot of my photos.

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I’ve been following and studying the creative process of some legends in photography, such as Henry Cartier Bresson, who was very much into geometry in his work, and there is no doubt that his photos were absolutely amazing, he knew that the human brain responds to that in a very subconscious manner.

Phoblographer When you go out and shoot and then go to edit, what makes you choose a specific photo to share online or on the web? That is, what is your thought process like when you cull through files.

Humberto: I think the process for me begins even before I’m in front of my computer ready to edit. As soon as I take a particular photo I try to imagine that image on my wall, edited and mounted on a frame, so that way, if I’m not able to “see” that photo as a final product hanging on my wall, I kind of cull that one right away. I think most of the time it works for me that way, even though I have found a few “gems” afterwards when I’m editing.

If I’m able to think that a picture is worth to be hung on my wall, then I share it online or on the web.

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