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Foto 5 Live and Uncut

A blog of Photography experiences

Shooting the Streets

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The best style of street photography is to get into the action. Get right into the subject matter don’t sit on the other side of the street with your tele-photo or zoom lenses and play ‘sneakey’ street. Many street photographers choose either 28, 35 or 50mm lens, some even user wider like a 14 and 18mm, for exactly that reason to get in ‘close’. For me my preference is the Fuji Xf35mm 1.4.

On a recent walkabout I chose to do something different (for me at least). The idea was to take faces in the crowd. I opened the lens up to f2 (for a shallow depth of field) set the shutter speed to around 1/250th with the

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ISO set to auto… I stood in the middle of the walkway and took photos of the walkers as they passed by me.

As you can see from the images here many show that a few of them spotted me and made eye contact. That’s what I was looking for. Blurred faces in the fore and background with the one face in sharp focus.

Not one questioned what I was doing – some smiled, some acknowledged me, but not one complained.

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It’s a really rewarding way to make street photographs, especially when you catch the face in the crowd, that reaction that quizzical look wondering what you are doing! It’s a process of street photography, that I will be returning to at a later date. Why not try it for yourself next time you’re out and about with your camera.

 

Until next time… All the best..

 

 

 

 

 

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A Fashion and Lifestyle Photography Workshop.

 

29th April 2017 – A Workshop opportunity not to be missed!

Sign up Here!

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I’ve teamed up with Professional Photographer Roberto Aguilar to offer you this fantastic workshop where you will learn about lifestyle fashion shooting in the studio and liza_0149vf-2Urban surroundings.

He was the main photographer for a major worldwide hair company for eleven years, responsible for photographing all of their major world-wide campaigns for brands including Bed Head, Catwalk, S-Factor and Hair Reborn.

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Roberto considers himself a photography geek always thinking of subjects and different lighting. His world revolves around photography and is equally at home on location or in a studio.  He is known for his romantic and sexy imagery with a touch of class and strong composition. It will be held at Roberto’s Studio, Raspberry-Jam Studio in Battersea, London, Unit 3S (Second Floor) Hewlett House, Havelock Terrace Business Centre
London, SW8 4AS, London (map)

Fee – £165.00 per person

Check out The Roberto Aguilar web site that shows his stunning work.

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Don’t miss this opportunity.

To sign up for this exciting workshop click here

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Always with you!

imageThe smart phone, since the
introduction of a camera has given everyone the opportunity to make photographs. Just take a look when walking out in the city, the towns and countryside and see how many people are using the mobile phone to record an image of a scene or family photo!

Photography has never been so popular. The advantage of taking a photograph and then posting it to your website, Flickr, Instagram or Facebook is so compelling and easy to do it becomes almost addictive. Who would of thought the advent of a mobile phone would lead to not only the expansion of photography and photography apps but also the demiseimage of the small compact camera. The camera that’s installed into all the smartphones now produce excellent image quality. Yes it could be argued those images are only fit for screen either on a computer, iPad or just the phone. But have you tried to print them off. You’d be amazed what can be achieved at the printing stage. Check out Jack Hollingsworth, an avid Camera+ user, The Tiny Collective, especially Elif Gulen and Ben Lowy (documentarist and photo-war correspondent) also See here his article on Hipstamatic app from these guys you will see the amazing results that can be achieved.image

Having a camera with you all the time gives you endless opportunities in essence you shouldn’t really miss any opportunity of capturing a moment of interest, fun or intrigue. The camera can capably handle low light situations, OK its a little difficult to control depth of field, but to be honest that’s not what you re looking for from a mobile phone camera. These cameras are light, unobtrusive and so popular on the streets no one really takes notice of you using the camera. For this reason street photography has boomed! But there are so many other opportunities that present themselves when using such a camera. Not onlyimage image creation but also the ‘Apps’ that can be added to the phone to use instead of the standard default camera on the phone.

Hipstamatic is my choice but there are others such as Camera+, Tin Type, Pinhole, 100cameras in 1 and many, many more. The advantage I find with Hipstamatic is that you have countless options to change the film and lens giving you simply loads of creative opportunities in colour and mono. My favourites are using the JohnS lens + AO DLX film, Foxy + Robusta and Salvador84 + Dream Canvas for that reflective mood.

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Photography is a skill to be learnt, practiced to improve, on a regular basis and smart phone photography gives you just that. If you haven’t thought of using your camera phone on a regular basis, then it might be worth thinking again. Not only will you capture those previously missed chances, but at the same time you will be improving your photography.

If nothing more that’s worth thinking about, wouldn’t you say?

Click here to view my iPhone collection on Google+

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Street photography! A re-think.

street_12-04dscf0147Street photography has never been so popular. Everyone has a camera with them these days, even if it is only a smart phone. Going to work or simply out for a stroll there are great photo’ opportunities of sights, especially in the major cities; fellow commuters going to work; a sunrise; a sunset; an incident, architecture or even yes a homeless person or a busker!

But recently on my show (and this one in particular Photography ‘Live and Uncut’ with Scott Kelby), I have discussed the art of street photography, and comments have been raised, such as… Is there a need? Will it survive? What’s it for? Does it tell a story(?) oh! and ‘God’ for bid… It’s a sneaky practice really – come on Paul! In addition, I have noticed on the many social sites, especially Facebook, Flickr and Instagram, the consistent posts of what can only be described as ‘boring’ street photos (of which I have to be honest, I’m guilty of posting as well) – You know the type? The passer by; The old lady with shopping bags; The pretty girl etc. etc. These photographs and discussions have made me think.

My argument against it being a sneaky practice and its necessity, is that ‘street’ or should we say ‘documentary/social’ photography is not only a worthwhile practice but an essential one, as it documents life as it is today. You’re seeing fashion, style and behaviour of today… Imagine in the future when people are looking back on our society say 30 -40 years from now and there are no photographs to be seen! There maybe the videos yes, but looking at a photograph to me is that little bit more special. (I can’t put it any other way). To think, from where we are now in 2017, not being able to see life in the early 1900’s through the war years or 1914-18 and 1939-45 not to mention later wars and atrocities as well as the study of social activities and fashion, would be a huge lost gap in our lives and history, if those photographs were not available. So to put it that way the street/documentary image making is an essential genre.

img10But, what is happening today in this digital and social networking age we live in, is the insatiable appetite to record(photographically) anything and everything we see and post it out there, simply to get a like or a plus of the foodie, the pet, or some behaviour photo, which to me has no meaning an no Art creativity. What is more, we are seeing images posted by ‘the’ street professional photographers of today, which many are not looking to expand and improve their own work but rather to throw out to the networks the same old style of image making; I suppose it could be said of their reasons not to change, is that these images have got them noticed in the first place and they use social media to demonstrate their ‘skill’ to enhance their career for presentations, workshops and/or tutorials!

So how can we go about making street photographs in a different and more meaningful way? How can we create Art? Firstly look for photographers that are consistently looking to improve their work each time they venture out! Then sit down and look at your images and consider long and hard about the images ‘you’ are producing! How many of you (photographers) actually take the time to look at your work critically? How many of you look to yourself to improve on your previous work? How many of you set an assignment or mr_street-1204project? I bet nearly 99% of you reading this ‘blog’ probably don’t attempt any of the above! Photography is like riding a bike once you have done it, you know how to do it in the future. But you should be looking to compare the art of photography with say golf or playing a guitar; to get better you have to practice (nearly every day) and if you want to compete you have to be aware of your faults and look to correct them. Basically it means picking out the bad parts throwing them away and starting again! There are many sportsman that have done just that… Dedication got them to the top of their chosen profession. Why should it be any different for you and your photography. Because as photographers if we don’t look to improve on our previous work we will post the same old boring ‘stuff’ to the social sites. Which is why I think many onlookers of street photographs get bored with it and start to look on the negative side of our genre. Onlookers will start to say and ask those questions I mentioned earlier, its sneaky, and what’s the purpose of it, does it tell a “story”? By the way, I don’t think a photograph has to tell a story all the time, but at the least, be great and enjoyable to look at. There are many photographs of street scenes that I would love to hang on my walls at home, I might add more by others than by me!

Maybe we should start to look at taking photo’s in a different way. Should we look to be more open and not be timid or embarrassed about what we are photographing; show people what we have or are taking. Photographing by candid means of buildings and then appear to ‘chimp’ the image when actual factlonwalk_1215-8497 taking the ‘real’ photograph of someone or something right in front of us or another way pretending to text on the mobile phone as we take images with a camera IS the ‘sneaky’ side of street photography, which I feel is letting the genre down.

How about checking first if its OK to take a shot rather than after. Make conversation, ask the person to carry on naturally, talk about what they are doing as well as what you are doing, tell them what assignment and project you are working on. All these things I’m sure would improve your photographs and make you feel a little more easier with your self making street photogarphs.

We can’t be a Bruce Gilden, a Saul Leiter, an Henri Cartier-Bresson or even a Martin Parr. Study their work of course and use it as a reference but, if you attempt to be like them and ‘copy’ their style, then believe me you will fail! Dramatically…

Only be satisfied with your work for that last given event or time. Never be satisfied with your work! Continue to strive to improve on your last shoot. Otherwise your images will be become stagnant, boring, and you will lose followers of your social sites and eventually you will lose interest in the wonderful Art of Street Photography.

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#streetphotography, #art,

The Launch of The Fall (A new Magazine)

I was delighted to receive an invitation to attend the recent launch party of The Fall magazine.

fullsizeoutput_bd8In this day and age its surprising that some entrepreneurs would get together to create and start up a new photography based magazine. But this is no ordinary ‘Photo’ publication. The Fall, is not your usual ‘how to do it better’ photo periodical. There are no instruction sections; Seasonal projects; book ideas; and the dreaded ‘biased’ camera and lens reviews… How refreshing that is! It could even be considered a book rather than a magazine.

Why The Fall? F=Fashion; A=Art; L=Literature; L=Lifestyle….  The Fall could be considered a photographers GQ. Its all about great articles, great location shoots and stunning Photo projects with expert photographic direction. At 288 pages large there are no advertisements – which I’m sure will change in the future; for how can a magazine of such design survive. If you’re interested in fashion, lifestyle and portrait photography it has always been considered to study the various publications such as GQ, Esquire, Vogue, InStyle, and Tatler. The Fall can join that illustrious list, as it offers the photographer opportunities to get inside the photo shoot or project. With projects by photographers named on the front cover and others such as OriolKeith, Roberto Aguilar, Mahaffey and Lambrechts, plus the intuitive and considered articles by writers WassPerry and Pierce,  The Fall is a must buy for any photographer both professional and amateur alike, who should consider adding this to their periodical subscription list.

On my show “Photography Live and Uncut” (here’s a link to the live show), this week the photographic director of the magazine, Alex Lambrechts, (a top fashion and lifestyle photographer in his own right) will be joining me to talk more about The Fall, its background, his role and what they’re looking to do in the future.

The Fall has established its brand, lets hope the publication continues to produce quality articles and stunning images as this first edition has.

by Griffo

The Value of Workshops. by Paul Griffiths 11th January 2017

It’s around this time of the year that some of you have probably set some targets or made New Year resolutions to improve your photography. Maybe, join a camera club, read more books, study the masters, watch You Tube videos or maybe listen to the odd interview! But, there’s nothing better than getting out street_12-04dscf0147with your camera ‘taking’ or rather making images. For those that enjoy Street Photography you will be aware of the Photo walkabouts, but it could be argued that these are not necessarily the best option to learn from. A walkabout typically starts off with good intent of a group sticking together but as with many they slowly disintegrate, as many attendees drop away, get lost or sometimes decide on another route. Not really the type of event to gain more tips and skills from. Yes, in may cases you can make some really good friends on a walkabout and there’s nothing better than to spend the best part of the day, talking about cameras, gear and sharing photographs. Practice makes perfect! Your photography will improve if you practice! You no doubt have heard these statements? Well they are true, nearly, as long as you are ‘guided’ the correct way to practice!

Inevitably, the ardent photographer, will start to xt10_street-1176look for better options as they search for their insatiable “want” for learning and to improve, would probably be better suited to a “Photography Workshop”. Whether you prefer working outdoors or indoors you will find one to suit you. In such an event of not more than 6-8 people, you will invariably get a ‘hands on’ tutor who encourages and can demonstrate camera skills and be prepared to be taken out of your ‘comfort zone’. That’s the best way to learn! Not to repeat the way you have worked so many times before, but to be shown another way, a different and successful way, which the tutor has used with great effect.

london_24-11_dscf9822This is what we at ‘Photography Live and Uncut’ intend to offer the photographer; a workshop that will teach you new skills, to try different ways to make photos; take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to look and to be observant. The workshops will be either studio based or out on the streets, depending on your preferred genre. Whichever photo’ interest you prefer, we want to ‘share our knowledge’ with you, to ensure you gain the most from the event experience and improve your photography.

Go to Photography Live and Uncut workshops for more details of future events.liza_0149vf-2         img_2089

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle and fashion photos ©Roberto Aguilar

Late night shoot with Medium format. by Paul Griffiths 6th Jan 2017

Just before Christmas I went out for a late afternoon walk with my Yashica D (medium format) camera. Using Ilford XP2 400 rated at 800ISO this time, I was looking to see how the film and camera for that matter would preform in low light.

Agascreenshot-2017-01-06-14-41-17in, overall which this second roll of film, I’m quite happy with the results from the film and the camera. I was expecting the images to be underexposed and was pleased how my light-meter (an app on my iPhone – myLightMeter Pro – for £2.95) gave me the results that I was looking for. The results show very little grain (noise in real terms).

 

It’s definitely a process of image making which I’m enjoying and intend to use more especially on the street. Even though the camera is reasonably large especially when compared to up to date mirrorless cameras (generally the choice for street photography), I didn’t experience any public issues using it, in actual fact more of a look intrigue at me using what appears to be such an old camera,  which in truth it is!

There were eight from the twelve exposures that I am more pleased with. Probably 3 would be keepers!

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Here I was looking to get the classic walker by with the theatre illuminated boards behind. Ive tried to edit in Lightroom to gain a little more exposure on the walker-by.

 

 

 

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The classic silhouette. I like the way the wet pavement reflects the light from the backdrop which has it happened was a rolling screen of advertisements for the cinema. I waited for both the walker and the screen to be white. This would be a keeper!

 

 

 

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One of my favourite places to visit in London at night time is Piccadilly Circus. I suppose it’s the closest thing we have to Time Square, New York, but that said using Mono film I was looking to create a silhouette scenario again with some form of a classic London interference. I think this image is almost there with the London Bus just coming into the shot on the left side. I maybe clutching at straws here, but the image is very close to what I was looking for.

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The Dresser. Another attempt at catching the passerby, whilst using the background light-source from the theatre bill boards. For me there is just enough intrigue in the shot. Bright lights, dark streets and theatre goers. Another keeper.

 

 

 

As you can see from the images here, there is no problem pushing Ilford XP2 400 to 800 ISO next step would be to see how it handles at 1600… Will I get more grain (noise), I would expect so. But loaded in the Yashica D for now is a roll of 120 Acros 400. By all accounts this is a clear favourite for film photographers these days. I’m really looking forward to using that next time. The camera? Well it handles beautifully. It definitely slows me down which is a good thing, which has in-turn helped me when using my Digital camera’s… Focusing? Although, shall we say is a little ‘fuzzy’ when looking down through the viewer, is really straight forward. Shooting with a square format is not one that I have used before but have found that to be enlightening, giving me a tighter area to concentrate on.

Here’s to the next time – Yashica D with Acros400 – can’t wait!

 

Architecture abound on the Cote D’Azur by Paul Griffiths… 12/19/16

This summer (2016), I had the chance to go to Monaco. Just to see how the other half live!
Cars, yachts and new Architecture were everywhere, as this tiny principality struggles to maintain its uniqueness, as it slowly expands almost to a point of bursting.
But a pleasant and quite little spot I found close to the man made beech was the Japanese Garden. All the noise from the city seemed to just drift away.

 

 

From Monaco we took a quick trip across the border to San Remo. Just to get a little Italian respite really!
The day started off well with good weather but soon led to threatening clouds followed by a huge thunder storm.
With the fast changing light it gave me a chance to use the Fuji X-E1 which has been converted with a 720Nm IR filter.
With a little editing in Lightroom to enhance the typical IR look… Blues become BLACK Greens become WHITE.
and to enhance it still further drop the clarity and add some grain!

 

 

Of course a Faux IR can be achieved direct from a RAW file Ill leave that for another time!

Regards Paul
http://www.photographyliveanduncut.com

Working with a new Format… by Paul Griffiths 12/17/16

There has been an interesting turn of events as many photographers I see returning back to the good old days by using film cameras.yashblog 100 2016 screenshot 2016 12 07 21 19 23
Many that I read have invested in some really neat gear Leica, Nikon and small compacts such as Rollei, Olympus Trip and Contax. Also that some are looking to new formats like medium and large format. There’s never been a better time than to check out the used camera sellers online for prices especially for the medium format camera. There are plenty out there such as the Rolleiflex, Mamiya and Yashica all in good working order I might add. These cameras were built to last.

For me I bought a Yashica D in excellent condition and couldn’t wait to test it out at the earliest opportunity. With no internal light metering system I had to rely on a light meter which I later found out was probably about 1 stop out! That didn’t bother me as you can see i was able to make the adjustments in Lightroom from the scans after I got the processed film back from the local camera stop. Using Ilford XP2 400 film, as I prefer the very contrast images that this film produces. Everyone’s talking about Acros though, maybe because of Fuji’s filter option in the Latest X-T2 and XPro2 cameras! Thats something I have got to check out…

So here are the results nothing really outstanding just a good set of solid images with good exposure. All taken at The Battersea Park on beautiful clear sunny winters day. One thing I found – Using medium format, does slow you down, which is not a bad thing! Making you think about composition and light. Yes film processing can be expensive which is another reason to consider each shot extensively and to ‘slow down’ when using film cameras. Unless of course you are commissioned!

Here’s to the next 120 roll when I’m going to push the 400 rated film a couple of stops to see what results I get!

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