I´m getting out much more now in the city to photograph my “Corona photos. Theese little photographic adventures have almost become addictive to me. I feel like a I´m photographer again. Instead of just letting my gear collect dust, I´m out on my own making photos, the photos I want to make. Damn, it´s actually quite liberating.
And I learn a lot as well. Street photography is a hard craft to master, as is any other photographic style of course, but I dont know if there´s any other photographic “genre” that forces you to master so many elementary rules and knowledge of photography. I think that if you become good at street photography, then you become a much better photographer in any photographic situation and style. Like weddings, events, journalism, live – everything. Why?
Because what makes street photography so fascinating and exciting, at least if you ask me, is that you have to pay attention to so many aspects of what´s going on. There are no limits to how you can use your creativity to find awesome photos everywhere. You just need to know what to look for.
What do you CHOOSE to have inside your frame? How is the background and foreground? Is that shadow too distracting? How can you use existing light and shadows, lines, forms or color for storytelling, or to create a super dynamic photo? I love that there´s so many things to consider and learn. And by constantly training your brain to think about all these things, or some of them, you will eventually do it automatically when you shoot, you will subconsciously make the photo much better. And this will make you a much better photographer in general, since your skills have improved across the whole photographic spectrum, or at least in many aspects.
Am I saying that I master all these aspects of photography now? Hell no! Not even close. But I´m getting better and more experienced every time I go out to photograph and that´s a wonderful feeling.
After only some weeks of this project to try and document what´s happening in our society right now, I already start to see things in pictures. Like yesterday when I was going home from picking up my daughter from daycare, I saw how people are waiting on the subway platform several meters apart. People were having picknicks in the grass in the foregound and the boring residential houses rose tall as a backdrop. I saw the photo and thought it would be awesome, but I had no camera with me – so many times when I have left my Canon 5D MKIV with the heavy 24-70 2.8 lens at home since it´s too big and bulky to carry around everywhere.
I hate when that happens, when you see this epic photo but you cant take it. If it wasnt for the fucking Coronakillerofalljoyassholeofavirus I´d still have some money left to buy a smaller camera more suitable for street photography, like the Fuji XT-3 or 4. Or some new nice prime lenses for my Canon.
But on the other hand, if the Coronakillerofalljoyassholeofavirus hadn´t happen, then I woudnt be out documenting this or needing a smaller camera. Hmm, well I think I would still prefer the virus didnt happen at all.
Okay so what about the photos and my thoughts on the editing, the “color grading” that some people say now after watching too many tutorials about video editing.
As some of you hardcore photo editing geeks out there might have already seen, I´m using some Lightroom presets that emulates different classic analogue film stocks, like Kodak Portra, Ektar, Gold etc. If you´re a old school film shooter then you most likely think these presets look nothing like real film, and that´s fine because to be honest – I dont know how those films really look like anyways. I´ve only shot on film when I was in my teens and that was on an APS pocket camera, never used a “real” analogue camera except for 2 days in film school.
I consider these presets as starting points, same as you might use a LUT for color grading video. First you color correct the photo by setting the right white balance, adjusting the exposure, curves, tonality etc. Then you apply the preset to see if it suits your feeling or vision about this particular photo. Many times it looks like shit straight out of the box, you have to make many more adjustments and tweaks to get it right, and sometimes the photo just goes next level Award Winning right away.
And I absolutely dont use these presets for everything, for most client work I dont use them, except sometimes weddings because many times the clients prefer the somewhat trendy and hipster looking “cinematic” feeling that some of these presets can give to the photos. I think used in the right way on the right photo, emulating analogue film can really make a photo take off, it can add a timeless, nostalgic and dreamy feeling to an image, or for documentary work it can add such drama and intensity. Depth.
Basically, as always – it´s in the eye of the beholder
For the work I´m doing right now with these “Corona photos”, I think that some of the presets really help me set the mood and tone on the photos. And I think I want to have a film-ish journalistic feeling to the photos, like if they would have been from another time, from a crisis back in time and not today. It´s a contrast I think, you look at a photo of a current pandemic crisis happening today, but the photo looks like old film ( or at least not super digital anyways ) so it´s kind of weird. Maybe I think that the photos look more old school journalistic – more serious or something …. I dont know for sure to be honest. I just know that I like the way I can shape the photos with these presets, to give them a look that I think enhances the content and the story. And the black and white presets really makes it much easier to get the black and white just right, not boring grayscale black and white, but like really deep black and white.
Then again, you guys who shoot on b/w film probably think I have no fucking idea what I´m talking about, ” thats not REAL b/w, that looks nothing like the real thing, the grain is horrible!!! “. That´s also totally fine, I´m not trying to be you guys or claiming that I know exactly how to make the best “real” b/w photos, all respect to you that shoot film and knows a lot more than I do about seeing in black and white and getting the most out of the photos in a real darkroom – I mean damn, that´s mad respect – but it´s just not for me.
I´m just a digital guy enjoying the analogue-ish look
Ok folks, I think this is enough for today, super long post but thats how I roll haha, I talk alot and write even more. Hope you like the photos and my blog, feel free to drop a comment or questions, I´ll do my best to answer as fast as I can.
COMING UP NEXT:
I`m not exactly sure haha, I´m trying to get some kind of structure for all my photos right now. I think I´ll focus on Social Distancing next time, or interesting and creative solutions I see people do to stay safe. Or maybe just random photos from different recent “photo walks”, come back and you´ll see! Until then, stay safe and bring your camera with you!