Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sony Diaries #1020: Kensington Market on a Monday night

It is always a treat to meet up with whom I affectionally refer to as the "Old Guys". "Older Guys" would be a more accurate term. Jeff, Allan, and Robin (we were missing Mike) seem to be the only guys within a wider circle of older photographers who are interested in street photography, esp night photography. Jeff is currently a Sony guy (a99II) with a long history with Olympus 4/3rd, M4/3rd, and Panasonic. Jeff is living the retired life that I hope to have: traveling around in a trailer, taking pictures of places. Allan is a retired engineer with a dry sense of wit and humour. We share a common experience: he used to work  in a paediatrics hospital (as a Medical Engineer). Robin, I don't know too much about. I know he dotes on his grandkids, and dawdles on our walks; he takes his time but he doesn't waste time.
These informal meetups are equal parts eating/having coffee/talking and taking pictures. The taking pictures part is in turn equal parts talking about the pictures we just took and taking pictures. It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that taking pictures is only 1/4 of the experience.
But that's okay, because like a meal where the conversation is the best part, photography is just a catalyst for the talking and the walking
Invariably, the talk is on gear: specifically M4/3 for Allan and Robin, Sony Alpha with Jeff and myself. If Mike were around, the talk would include Pentax and assorted exotic lenses (Mike is a walking encyclopedia on this subject).
 All the photos above were taken with a Sigma 24f1.8Macro on a Sony a7III.
All the photos below were taken with a $50 Minolta 50F1.7 on a Sony a7III, set on Auto ISO with a maximum of ISO12800.
I'd love to know what is on their minds.
fallen angel?
how cool (and rare) is this? 3 payphones in one spot.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Portraiture (is a partnership)...

... or the act of a photographer taking a portrait of the subject, is a partnership, a joint effort.

In the official trailer for Annie Leibovitz's "Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography", in the Masterclass Series, Leibovitz says this: 
"There's this idea that in portraiture, it is the photographer's
job to set the subject at ease... I don't believe that.
... isn't that what we all do? We wait to be inspired
...All the work that I've ever done, the ideas emanate from that
person... stand over here, present yourself".

I would beg to differ. Portraiture is a joint effort, a partnership, where the Photographer has to find, and maintain, a kinship with the  Subject. The Photographer has to go past the shield and gain the trust and confidence of the Subject, if only for the portrait session. A session not only refers to the shooting time, but begins when the Subject contacts the photographer (through a reference, perceived common likes and dislikes). For portrait sessions where the initial contact begins 5 minutes before the seen starts, the challenge is up to the photographer to establish a connection right away. To quote Kirk Tuck (whose blog prompted me to post this, my own blog entry),
"The connection can be one of shared purpose, a physical or psychological attraction
or a shared interest. Some how (sic) both sitter and photographer must bridge the gap 
between each other and enter into the moment with a sense of play... and give and take.
If you don't get some sort of spark or connection that goes in both directions you
haven't made a portrait, at best you've made a document."
Some portraits I've done in this past week: