There are often articles on the net about the fact that gear don’t make you a good or better photographer but your vision and your ideas how to use the gear. And they are right. But gear – especially your choice of lens combined with a camera body and other equipment rules what you can or can’t do. In the long run your own given constraints should work in your favour and make you a better photographer. I like to use and mix old and new gear as much as possible but used lately mostly one of my Sony Alpha series cameras mostly with old lenses. Especially in street photography there are only so much you can change in a spur. You have to be fast adjusting your settings in manual (there is mostly no autofocus or auto aperture possible with the Sony, adaptor and old lens setting) before the target goes away.
With the new Sony I can quite comfortably chooses aperture, ISO and as well speed and just have to cover the focal distance setting. Everything else is set. Aperture priority from wide open up to f 11, with the new A7s even the smaller apertures are fast enough. Working this way is just liberating: I know perfectly well what I get and I do not need to worry about anything else. When I started to use the Leica M with a 35mm lens, the constraints are different, but the challenge is fun as well. Using different gear I found that change is giving me some creative jolts, evidently I see the world differently to my taste. It is opening doors that I didn’t know or have seen before.
Apart from using different gear at different settings I like to shoot street photography. Sometimes I am wondering: is my photograph a street photograph according to the standards? Are there valid standards? Does it look candid enough? Do I successfully portray “contemporary life”? A lot of photography seems to be founded on a set of rules, and asking this questions may be useful. But I like to remind myself that the genre of street photography can be much more versatile than certain group think. I don’t go for most of the established conventions, do’s and don’ts. The medium of street photography for me is a platform to challenge myself within my own set of constraints.
Trying it my way I hope to get my own kind of innovation and creativity flowing. Loyal members of my different social feeds and my vision of street photography validate kind of my approach. My own definition for street photography is broader than established conventions. Defining street photography is as well the idea to tell stories of humanity. This should be an important purpose of street photography.Apart from the humanity factor I think that street photography should be urban by definition, mostly candid, never staged and have kind of a human factor included.
What does street photography mean to you? And how do you try to achieve a unique vision? Here some images I took today with a Nikon V1 and a 25mm HDTV lens - just for fun.