Street Photography

Sara Melhuish | London

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Hello Sara, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get involved into street photography?
I’m Sara Melhuish-originally from Sweden – moved over to London in 1995 for what I thought was only 3-6 months to learn the language and pull a few pints, little did I know I would be here nearly 23 years later with a lovely husband and daughter.

I have always enjoyed photography and my parents always said I had a good eye but it’s in the last 9 years that it has become a huge part of my life, it moved rapidly from being a hobby to obsession and ‘actually maybe I can do this for a living’ and now I am freelancing in combination with a ‘normal’  Monday to Thursday job to keep the wolf from the door.

I initially captured a lot of classic locations in London, architecture, landscapes but also macro and portraits, even did a couple of weddings. With time though I found that my true passion and calling  is street photography and living in London, I feel like I have found the holy grail.

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So much hustle and bustle on the doorstep with perfectly normal and mundane moments of people just getting on with their day to day life captured to show something simply beautiful. Sometimes the shot falls into your lap, but sometimes you have to position yourself and wait for the perfect moment, especially if you have seen the perfect light or shadow to capture. I can spend hours just slowly walking around and  'merging' myself with the area and pace. I'm usually at my happiest at a street corner in Soho watching the world go by. As luck has it my normal job takes me all over the City & West End which means before and after I can take some time out to destress with the camera, sometimes meeting up with fellow photographers as well which gives an edge and challenge as you get that little bit braver. The weather makes a big difference to what I capture as well.  Nothing like a bit of wet tarmac and cobblestones combined with umbrellas and neon lights at night.

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I am also very fascinated by street art and the gritty urban but oh so beautiful areas of London that has not been gentrified as yet, especially parts of the East End  incl Shoreditch and Hackney but also parts of Camden, so I also spend a lot of time there and try to show and incorporate all of this in my street photography.

What fascinates you so much capturing life in the streets?
It shows the true real life as it is, unstaged and raw. Little glimpses into people's lives and no matter from what social background, gender, ethnicity, religion or political stance.Just that little moment of time

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What are you looking for when you go out into the streets and shoot ?
I look for  little story to unfold in  front of me that I can capture in one click, also shadows and the beautiful morning and evening light that leaves a golden glow. A beam of light wasing over somebody's face or arm, harsh backlights for a sharp contrast/shadow. Maybe not a person, a lonely pair of high heels  deserted on a street on the Strand, a reflection in a window with the whisper of a face or body showing through. Puddles where droplets of rain are splashing with the reflections of passers by with umbrellas, vaping smoke clouds obscuring the view of a face. A hug, kiss or a hand shake, an argument or a tear, laughter and joy. So much out there on the streets of London.

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You submitted work you shot in Soho. Is that one of your favorite places in London?
It is indeed, an absolute melting pot of people and culture. The life goes on around the clock 24/7- it just never stops.

Population demographics Soho
Population: 24,639
Average age: 33
Retired: 16.62%
Unemployed 3.8%
Educated to degree level: 52.81%
Student: 11.25%
Total migrants: 29.59%

There is so much to see and experience.

Local residents, market and stall holders on the back streets with pop up food courts and fruit and veg. All the restaurants, cafes and shops with masses of tourists bumbling around,and taking in the atmosphere. The slightly shady part that comes out at night when the revellers swerving down the neon lit streets  popping in and out of bars, pubs and clubs. Scantily clad, suave looking, fancy dress, killer heels, leather onesies -anything goes. ChinaTown with its colourful lanterns, fantastic food and shops and bars, you can buy amazing cakes or if you fancy - fresh crabs and lobsters. Carnaby Street with quirky boutiques and funky dressed people shopping until thy drop. Old Compton Street with theatres, bars, barbers and cafes.No better place to enjoy a spot of people watching with a cuppa and cake.

You are Swedish and live in London. As a street photographer and observer of the city - Can you tell us a little bit about the relation of the city and its people?
Swedes and Brits are quite alike with dry humour and a lot of sarcasm. People say that London is an unfriendly and lonely place with people just getting on with their life. I beg to differ, I have seen so many acts of kindness towards strangers as well as Londoners standing together in when acts of horror has descended on the city. The true stiff upper lip and getting on with life but also with immense empathy.

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What suggestion for great streets spots would you give to street photographers who are traveling to London?
Well all of the streets and areas as mentioned above as well as the individual ones like Brick Lane, Brewer Street, Camden Market, Petticoat Lane, Southbank, Covent Garden, More London, Leadenhall Market, Spitalfields, Clerkenwell, Farringdon, Greenwich Market, Smithfield, Notting Hill/Portobello, Borough Market - I can go on and on, there are so many fantastic areas to capture.

Was there a photographer or any style of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
Well you have the classics that I have looked for inspiration to over the years like Henri Cartier -Bresson, Vivian Maier, Joel Meyerowitz but newly discovered as I get more and more involved in the genre are Nick Turpin (whom I would also love to go on a photowalk with), Thomas Leuthard, Alan Schaller, Simon Roberts, Becky Frances, Jill Freedman, Harry W. Edmonds, Craig Whitehead (@sixstreetunder) and Joshua K.Jackson (@joshkjack).

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Julia Coddington | Sydney

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Hello Julia, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?

I am fortunate to live in a beautiful place just south of Sydney, Australia on the coast.  Not the greatest place for a crazy street photographer because of the lack of people, but otherwise I think it’s paradise.  I try to scratch a living being a landscape architect in a small place and travel as much as I can with my partner.  

I have always owned a camera, and like lots of kids of my generation had a polaroid camera and a little Kodak instamatic 110 format pocket camera with those little blue disposable flash bulbs.  They were so cool! In the 80s I lived in Indonesia for a while and armed with an Olympus OM10 enjoyed wandering the streets taking photos. My three kids then became the focus of my photos until I was allowed back out of the house to rediscover life! (I’m kidding).

In 2008 I got my first iPhone and this was when I really got hooked after discovering I could discreetly take candid, stealth photos of random people in the street. Since 2012 I’ve been able to travel more and have discovered the joy of street photography in the process.

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You are a street photographer. What fascinates you capturing life in the streets?
I’m sure all street photographers find human beings endlessly fascinating. I just love watching people and their interactions, gestures, movements and emotions. Using street photography to capture those interactions - those special human ‘moments’ is like the icing on the cake. 

Street photography is a very addictive past time. The addiction runs deep for most street photographers because they are on an endless quest to capture that perfect moment. The other addictive aspect of street photography is the meditative, almost ‘fugue’ like state you reach when you get into the ‘zone’. So part of the fascination of  street photography and capturing life on the streets is also around the street photographer’s ability to meld into the street or the scene. I have a slight advantage because I am a small, non threatening, middle aged woman and for this reason am invisible. Wearing my ‘invisibility cloak’ I can become part of a scene. I can listen to what is happening and anticipate what people are about to do.  No one really notices me or pays attention and this gives me confidence and (an ever so slight) sense of power.

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You submitted a body of work called “Out of the blue”.  Tell us a bit about it.
My style of street photography is inspired by the Australian environment - the strong light and colours, and of course the blue sky which is ever present. I like to create photos without clutter and which are distinctive for their colours, shapes and movement. We don’t have interesting old buildings and coloured backgrounds or walls where I live so I use the stark blue of the sky to create a backdrop against which colourful shapes float or stand out. 

Can you describe what you’re looking for in your composition? 
Compositionally I strive for clean, crisp photos without clutter or mess.  Colour and movement are also elements I like to capture. But these are often not enough and I also try to include gestures, emotions and something quirky in my photos.  The best street photographs also have layers with their subjects well spaced. This is what I aim to achieve in the my compositions but is it of course always very, very difficult to capture the perfect shot.

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Are you more of a walk and watch or a wait and see kind of street photographer? 
Both. It really depends on the situation.  If I find an interesting scene where something is happening, or about to happen - I wait, watch and insert myself into it - listening and observing closely. If nothing is happening, I move on or in some situations chase after a subject or a scene.

What's your favourite focal lengths and can you explain us why? 
I shoot wide.  My favourite focal length is the 18mm (28mm equivalent).  Although more and more I am using a 14mm (21mm equivalent) because it allows me to get in very close to the subject.  I occasionally use a 23mm (35mm equivalent) although this is often too tight for me.  If I am shooting portraits or a gig, I will use a 23mm or 50mm.

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What tips or advice would you give a photographer who is starting with street photography?
Most people starting out in street photography are afraid to get close to people or are worried about a person’s reaction if they’ve discovered you’ve taken their photo.  Know your rights as a photographer. In most countries taking photos of people in public spaces is perfectly legal. If someone asks you what you’re doing, explain what street photography is about and the importance of it. Be proud to be a street photographer. If we didn’t exist, those wonderful moments of life on the streets would never be captured.

As a woman street photographer you have a huge advantage because you are less of a threat.  Use this advantage.  Don’t be afraid. Have confidence and courage.  

Read and learn as much as you can about street photography, and look at the work of the masters to understand what makes a street photograph great. And listen to podcasts! You can learn so much from them. But most importantly get out and shoot a lot, and experiment a lot!  Don’t just take photos of people walking towards you. Try all sorts of different angles, look for the light and where the light is, for gestures, emotion, colour and movement.

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How important is traveling for you as a photographer?
It is very important because it gets my street photography juices flowing. Being in a different environment forces me to stretch myself. We all get ‘stuck’ in our own environments, always photographing the same thing. I love taking photos here, with the blue sky in the background, but I also want to push myself and put myself into situations that are unfamiliar. 

Traveling is also a wonderful way to meet and connect with other street photographers. If I could afford to travel all the time, I would! 

Beside your work as a photographer you teach workshops. What can people expect joining your workshops?
I am quite an active street photographer and move around a lot to get the best angle, crouch down low and get in very close to the subject. I love teaching others how it’s possible to do this - encouraging students to get close and help them feel comfortable working in close proximity to their subjects so they gain confidence and courage. Students practice getting into the middle of a scene and working it. They also learn about my approach to shooting colour, light and movement and about ways to produce strong images.

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Can you tell us anything about the photography scene in Australia? Are there any female photographers you can recommend?
Street photography is a relatively new and unknown genre of photography in Australia.  It is a small community and quite disconnected - largely because of geography. In January, my friend and fellow street photographer Rebecca Wiltshire and I cofounded the ‘unexposed collective’.  We called it a ‘collective’ as a reaction to the traditional male dominated collective. Unexposed is inclusive of all people but we only feature the work of Australian women and non binary street photographers. The aim is to connect street photographers in this country and build community.  So far the response has been great and we’re realising how many wonderful women and NB street photographers there are here. The following people are producing work which is primarily street photography focused: Amal Tofiali Bleed, Catherine Matthys, Deb Field, Kimboid, Libby Holmsen, Linda MacLean, Martine Lanser, Rachael Willis, Rebecca Wiltshire, Simone Fisher, Teresa Pitcher - among others - but please check out the work of all unexposed collective photographers on the Instagram feed and Facebook group page.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be? 
There are so many I would love to do a photowalk with. - such a hard choice.  Dan Ginn recently asked this question on Facebook.  My answer: Michelle Groskopf.

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Julia is teaching a workshop "Getting Closer" at Street Photo Milan Thursday May 3 - from 2 to 6 pm. Get more infos clicking here.

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Website: http://www.juliacoddington.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliacoddington/
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/juliacoddington/

Becky Frances | London

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Hello Becky, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get involved into street photography?
I've always been drawn to photographing people and I started off taking portraits of people I knew in an urban environment. After a while I began to take photographs of people on the street, not really knowing about the genre of street photography.  I joined Flickr and learnt a lot from the community there, people were really generous with their advice and they helped me to grow and develop the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone to take better shots.

What drives you to pick up a camera and hit the streets?
I love to take photographs and I love the city I live in, so I feel privileged to be able to grab my camera whenever I feel like it and wander the streets for as long as I want. I've also had a long struggle with depression and being able to get out and about with my camera helps me to combat that.

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What are you looking for when you go out into the streets and shoot ?
When I go out to shoot I'm looking for different things depending on the weather.  If the light is good, I'm looking for scenes that show this - clever work with shadows is one of my favourite things. If the light is flat and grey, I look for interesting people or interesting situations. I look for linking colours or patterns in a scene or for humour (which to me is the most difficult kind of shot to get and something I find very rewarding).

Is there a favorite place in London where you like shooting? 
If I'm shooting on a weekday I like to head towards Central London.  I walk from Trafalgar Square, through Chinatown and up into Soho. These areas are all busy and vibrant.  If I go out at the weekend, I like to go to East London. There is a flower market it Bethnal Green on a Sunday and you can walk from there to Brick Lane which has a market on. They are both busy and there is a lot going on. Sometimes I stop in Stamford Hill on the way back home which is the centre of London's Jewish community.

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Are you more of a walk and watch or a wait and see kind of street photographer?
I'm always moving around when I take pictures. I rarely stop even to shoot. Sometimes though, I will see a scene that needs something to complete it and then I'll wait around to see if the magic happens.

How do you deal with confrontation when shooting on the street?
Confrontation is the worst thing, its never nice when people are aggressive with you. If I can move away from the situation before it gets to the point of confrontation I will but if people start shouting or demanding I delete their photos I will normally humour them.  I'm usually on my own and I wouldnt argue to the point of fighting - its not worth it.

What do you find is the hardest challenge when taking pictures?
The hardest thing for me is confidence, some days im the most confident person in the world and the next day I find it difficult to leave my house.  I push myself to keep shooting during these times but it is difficult.  When you're pointing your camera at people, you risk confrontation and that can be scary.

What's your favorite focal lengths and can you explain us why? 
I use a 27mm lens, it means that to zoom I have to use my feet and get closer to people.  As a result its easier to take photos that land you right in the middle of the action which is what Im aiming for.

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Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
My Dad bought me a book by Martin Parr years ago and it made me want to pick up a camera and photograph people. I love the quirky Englishness of his work although I dont think my photographs are anything like his.  If it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be a photographer now.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be? 
I would probably pick Joel Meyerowitz because I love how he photographs New York. He's constantly on the move and can see how a scene will look in a photograph in a split second.  He's very clever...

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Emily Garthwaite | London

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Emily Garthwaite is a 24-year-old British photojournalist and street photographer with a focus on humanitarian and environmental stories. She recently co-directed her first documentary in Iraq on Arba’een, the world's largest annual pilgrimage - attracting over 25 million Shia Muslim pilgrims. In 2018, the Iraq series and documentary are being exhibited in London, France, Italy, and Iran.

Emily graduated with a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of Westminster in late 2016. Her photographs have been featured internationally including her image "Chained to Tradition" selected as a Finalist for Finalist for Wildlife Photographer of The Year in the Photojournalism category.

She is a Member of Street Photography International, a collective of four street photographers who formed with the aim to promote the best Street Photography from around the world. SPi is currently Instagram's fastest growing account for the genre with over 400,000 followers and reaching over 10 million people per month. Street Photography International launched The Street Awards and currently run international Street Photography workshops.

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When and why did you become a photographer?

I picked up a camera at the age of 15 and had fun with it. At that point, it was about exploration and researching photographers and painters. I didn't push for a career on photojournalism until a couple of years ago.

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You submitted incredible work shot in India. What encouraged you to start a project on India?

I have travelled to India three times over the past few years. The first was to scatter my grandmother’s ashes, during the second I travelled for six months on my own, and I spent my most recent trip with my partner.

India is a country that is, at times, incredibly challenging and I’ve always believed that it’s because of that I’ve continued to return. A Portrait of India is a long-term series that examines daily life and rituals across India. 

Walking the streets of a city alone with a camera is a meditation for me. Indian cities are paradoxical environments, allowing everyday scenes to become extraordinary. I always wait for eye contact with a passerby, sometimes it never happens, but the beauty of street life in cities is that the next photo is only moments away.

What is/was your most important project and why?

Most recently I visited Iraq with an Iranian documentary film crew. I was photographing Arba'een, the world's largest annual pilgrimage that attracts 25 million Shia Muslims a year. It encompassed everything I have worked towards over the past couple of years, and I was proud to have been selected as the main subject. I will be exhibiting the work next year and wish to open up a dialogue as to why there is a media blackout surrounding the pilgrimage.

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What does photography means to you?
Photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet new people and create art from everyday life.

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Corinne Wargnier | Paris

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Hello, Corinne tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
I’m a self-taught street photographer based in Paris. I’m also a novelist. My first encounter with photography dates back to my childhood. My father had a Leidolf Lordomat 35mm camera that he took everywhere. It was mainly used to photograph the family or holiday landscapes. The camera was omnipresent. It was, in fact, this “object” that initially fascinated me. The way the film was inserted into the camera for example and development of the film. This was all so mysterious to me! Then I gradually became interested in photographers. A documentary on television about the photographer Gilles Caron, who died very young whilst in the field in Cambodia, was certainly very instrumental.

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You are a street photographer. What fascinates you so much capturing life in the streets?
Telling a story, I think. Trying to capture the emotion of and empathy for my subjects, while also composing the shot in a beautiful way. In fact, that’s what I think tends to be the meaning of a street photographer’s work.

Your work is mainly shot in Black & White. Ist there a reason for that?
One of the reasons I shoot in black and white is because it lends a certain timeless quality to the images. I always think in black and white as soon as I prepare to take a picture. Even if the scene I have before me is very colourful, I immediately imagine it in black and white, as if I was a photographer in the past. Another reason is that it helps to emphasise emotion, and gives added depth to the image. I also must confess that I have no talent as far as colour is concerned!

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How important is travelling for you?
For me travelling is initially to discover cultures other than my own, to meet new people in their own environments. Travelling to a new place allows me to observe different things. It’s a great way to broaden my horizons, and fresh sights are a great new source of inspiration: having my eyes open to an unfamiliar world is a fantastic way to get myself out of a creative rut. Shooting street photos in a new city is amazing and provides a wonderful photographic rush.

Paris is a fantastic and constant source of inspiration for street photography. It is difficult to get tired of this city. But it is also necessary to travel to diversify my work. I also get stimulated and awed by what is different and new.

You submitted a body of work you shot in Vietnam. Tell us a little bit about it.
I knew nothing about Vietnam. The little I knew about its culture I gathered from briefly perusing a few books before leaving. So it was difficult to know what to expect. It was a leap into the unknown. I wondered how the Vietnamese would react to me intruding when taking photographs, how I could express my presence just as much as my discretion. And I was very lucky. Each person I met gave me the opportunity to capture a moment of their life, and this trust caused strong emotions to well up in me. I can clearly say that the Vietnamese are a generous and endearing people. I hope that the body of work you see reflects this.

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Did you feel a special inspiration while shooting in Vietnam?
What I felt almost immediately is that Vietnam is a country full of photographic opportunities. I understood that my desire to photograph everyday life in cities and rural areas would lead to discovering and experiencing something beyond simple observation.

You work as a novelist. Do you think that writing has kind of an influence on your photography?Through reflecting on this subject I have often reached the conclusion that the two mediums, writing and photography, are in direct opposition. Photography is a representation of the truth, writing fiction is an invention, a fabrication. At the same time, writing and photography are intimately linked. I don’t write without visualizing the scenes that I describe, and I don’t photograph without aiming to tell a story. They both somehow combine, their influences work both ways.

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Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
I have always and I continue to visit many exhibitions. I believe that the first influence comes from there, even if it is subconscious. Seeing in detail and taking time to discover the work of other street or documentary photographers is very rewarding. You are immersed and impregnated with feelings from it, making you just want to go out onto the street and pursue your own photographic work.

But if I had to name just one photographer, it would be Henri Cartier-Bresson.

What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Certainly, the freedom that I feel when I’m walking in the streets with my camera, without ever looking for anything specific but always observing, hoping that maybe a scene or a face will captivate me.

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A big thank you to Louise Jablonowska for the French-English translation.

Website: https://www.corinnewargnierphoto.com
Instagram : corinne_wargnier

Julie Hrudova | Amsterdam

Hi Julie, thanks a lot for submitting your work. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi Nicole, thanks for highlighting my work. I am a self taught photographer, born in Prague and now based in Amsterdam. I work for several media and companies, and also as a photo editor at a TV station. My personal work is mainly candid / street photography.

When did you first become interested in photography? 
I was always interested in images. But it was digital technology that brought me into photography. I started shooting with a mobile phone. The immediate feedback on the screen was important to me - it helped to make the photos I wanted to take.

Lets talk about your submitted project Lonley Planet Tokyo. How did you came up with the idea?
I was in Tokyo for a bit more than a week and I didn't have much of a plan. I just walked around Tokyo and discovered parts of the city by looking for photogenic locations. It was on the second day when I was looking through my photos when I saw this returning theme of isolation. The following days I was mainly focussing on that.

Tokyo is an example for any other urban city of our time. It seems that life of todays society is changing a lot and we might become more and more robots of our daily life. What’s your opinion about it?
Every city has its own dynamic and life. Tokyo has indeed this robot-like atmosphere because it's such a high tech city. It's regulated by precision. For example, the train delays are measured in seconds instead of minutes. The pressure is high, also on people.

A friend of mine from Tokyo told me that Japanese people don't open up easily, even to friends. There is often a kind of distance and isolation and the city reflects this. I wished I've stayed longer to explore this more profoundly. 

Do you have an intention with your project Lonley Planet Tokyo? 
It's a starting point, an exercise to capture an issue of a society through street photography.

What would be the best feedback you could get about it?
The best feedback... good question. Probably when people feel something when they are looking at the photos.

You studied photography and work as a full time photographer. What advice would you give to to someone who wants to start a career in photography?
To find and follow your fascination.

Was there a mistake when you started your career as a photographer? And if so, would you like to share it with our readers? 
Something I learnt is to keep focusing on your strength. And at a certain point refuse assignments that don't fit to you as a photographer or person.

Was there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
I remember being very inspired by the book Paris, mon amour with photos from French photographers like Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. The book triggered my interest into street photography. I also like Vivian Maier, Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Matt Stuart and many more. 

You currently live and work in Amsterdam. Is there any work of a female photographers in Holland you admire?
There is a very active photography scene here! I like a lot the work of Isolde WoudstraSanja MarusicAnoek Steketee and Rineke Dijkstra. 

What are your long time goals and wishes as a photographer?
I'd like to travel more for work and make more long term projects.

Toktam Tayefeh | Mamaroneck, New York

Hello Toktam, thanks a lot for submitting your work to Women in Photography. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Thank you Nicole for giving me the opportunity. I am an artist since I can remember myself and academically since 1993.  I’ve recently moved to NY from California and it is a real wish came true kinda event. I love changes, learning more about new things and explore as much as I can. To me art and anything creative is the magnetic field and the major source of connection. 

You studied Fine Art and Interior Decorating. But photography is your everyday love. Can u explain to us what photography means to you? 
Since 2005 that I officially started shooting, photography brought me a sense of alertness specially because I love street photography. 

This habit of having my camera with me everyday made me feel ready to really see my surroundings and stay focused.  I have one subject in my mind, life!  It can be anything that makes me stop and click.  Painting is still my first passion but it needs longer period of time for me to get my images internally because all I create is from my imagination. Photography is almost instant and It’s providing me with new feelings and connections that usually help me develop my painting ideas furthermore.  so basically photography helped me with my paintings as well. 

Beside fashion and concert photography, street photography is your main subject. What fascinates you about shooting in the streets?
In streets things are happening in every single moment in a different levels of society at once and they are overlapping each other, it's a great symphony without any conductor. I just wanna grab a note and see if I can hear it well enough to make my own harmony off of it. 

People are fascinating, the way they pass each other or sit in their solitudes plus each city has it differently. Figures, emotions,light, lines, shapes and shadows in any cityscape are just endless sources . It's an infinite world of visual tenderness in a place like NYC, for example. To me it's like poetry. 

You live in Westchester County and you are 3-4 days a week in NYC. Do you think you see the city from a different view as a non resident and can you explain our readers about the special vibe in the city? 
Yes, I think I do see the difference. Westchester county has certain peacefulness and intimacy, it offers a sense of life in small beautiful villages close to harbors where I live.  I don't deal with the rush that is existing in NYC, so I enjoy watching people move around in a fast paced when I walk there.  I see the exhaustion, the naps in subway trains and people occupied by revisiting their thoughts and do their things. Different neighborhoods and different cultures in one city make it all so fun. I usually drive to NYC which is like my Cali lifestyle, then I am out of my car and I feel totally alive in a different way! City vibe is my stimuli.

Is there a favorite place in NYC to shoot street photography?
Hard to choose one particular place for me as a favorite location, the whole big apple is my favorite place. I love areas that are less touristy though, there you can capture the authentic truth about how things really are.

Are you more of a walk and watch or a wait and see kind of street photographer?
Definitely walk and watch/shoot constantly.  I literally hunt my moments down, and that gives me so much energy to shoot more when I know I got it.  I move to adjust myself to what I am witnessing,  sometimes I wait a sec for the composition to feel right but everything is how it was in that moment. Hours of walking and shooting even if I stop to drink a cup of coffee, I am still shooting.  My adrenaline rush is when I know I got a few shots right that I will have fun editing them at home.

The work you submitted are moments and sequences of the nightlife in NY. What fascinates you taking pictures at night? 
The whole night is magical in NY city.  People are more relaxed and they are ready to have fun, you hear happy screams and laughters, so many hugs and greetings. People hand in hand walking, hundreds of selfies happen and you witness it all. Then you see unfortunate people sitting in corners and this opposite side of life strikes you to feel so many things while experiencing the reality of lives of some people. I am into all the things that can move me. It’s how I connect with the world as a person when I see lives of hundreds in front of me through my camera. 

Nightlife in NY also has so many varieties and that gives me the chance to move to different areas and explore different kind of crowds. 

Most of your street work is in Black & White - Why did you choose to photograph in black & white?
Colors are beautiful and I sometimes use them for some shots but I believe in the power of black and white and also the intensity of it gives me so much space to fuse in my own feelings. It's blunt and it's so raw.  Less distractions in black and white and there is more direct contact with the subject. 

What is your everyday camera and do you think camera equipment matters?
First is the knowledgeable photographer, how that person behind a camera reacts and interacts in life would effect the shot, then a camera can help with translating a moment to a real photo. The quality of the photos a photographer needs to have will determine which camera would be a good match.  What a little camera with less options can do is to freeze the moment without disturbing anything and lately they are reliable and have good qualities. For street photography, I have a Ricoh gr iii and my iphone. 

For portraits, concerts and fashion where I need more details in my photos I use my Canon 5D Mark III.  I think if you know what you want there are options to choose from but the most important thing is to have a sense of visual language. It is a direct relationship which starts with the mind, talent and intuition of the person using the device, and a proper device is helping the photographer gets the job done. 

Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
I love all masters in photography in general, all of them. There are so many I admire like Bill Brandt for distorted nudes he created, Micheal Klein, Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank and so many more for their contribution to photography as fine art.  I am inspired by photographers of our time as well,  magnum photographers are my favorites for example.    

What was the best photo you never took?
Great question!  Photo of my son when he came to this world. 


Michelle Groskopf | Los Angeles

Hello Michelle, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get involved into street photography?
I grew up in Toronto Canada but moved to NYC to go to College. I spent most of my youth studying and working in Film and Television production, including teaching in a graduate department. As I got older NY changed and I changed. After 15 years I made the difficult decision to jump ship and move to LA. That’s when I shifted from moving images to still. Best decision I’ve ever made. LA is my muse. When I’m not photographing stories for magazines I’m in the street shooting. I always have to be shooting. It’s my outlet and main form of communicating with the world. I'm also a member of the Full Frontal Collective.

What drives you to pick up that camera day in and day out and hit the streets? 
I love the thrill of street photography. That’s a big part of it. I love the connection it affords me to my surroundings. The way it forces me to be in the present. Photography has been a great gift to me. It’s helped me slow my life down and to get to know myself more clearly after the chaos of my life in NY. It’s allowed me the chance to indulge in how I see the world. Not just to drown in the imagery and ideas of others. 

Your work is very direct & raw and you always use flash. How do you deal with confrontation while shooting on the street or taking close up pictures? 
There is something so beautiful to be found in the details of the street. It’s the details that come to make up the larger picture for me. I’m building a world through my photos as a collective body of work. To get details with flash can be demanding and frightening but always rewarding. I like engaging with the public. I like the conversations that happen between me and folks on those good days. I’m very aware of the space I take up and the energy I put out. When my energy is good and positive I make amazing, if only short lived, connections with strangers. We effect each other. I like to think of myself as a positive disruptor! Shaking things up. When it goes poorly, I get spooked and often have to head home. When I get yelled at or threatened I tend to get very quiet and make myself very small. I don’t fight back. I get it. But it haunts me for the rest of the day. 

Can you describe what you’re looking for in your composition? 
I’m a perfectionist when it comes to composition. Everything in the frame is there cause I want it to be. I’m directing your attention to something specific. Look at this face, look at this gesture, these colors. I guess that makes me a control freak! More likely it comes from my film training. Great filmmaking is about making decisions. Knowing exactly what you want to say. Being focused. 

What's your favorite focal lengths and can you explain us why? 
50mm for street portraits, 35mm for story. Over the past couple of years I’ve found myself moving away from story. I’ve rebelled against it. I don’t think you have to tell a traditional story in street photography. It’s so limiting. I tend to use the street as my art studio instead. But that’s just for my personal work. I love telling stories for magazines. Whereas I completely reject context for my personal work, context is everything when you are trying to transport people to an event or a space. 

You live in LA. Is there a favorite place where you like shooting? 
LA is one big muse for me. I love every inch of it and its extremely photogenic. There are all kinds of people, and a multitude of scenery and landscapes. I could go on about the light but I tend to obliterate it with my flash so...I love to shoot all over and take a lot of pleasure in exploring places I haven’t seen or shot before. I got my driver’s license for the first time when I got here so driving is a real pleasure for me. That’s a big part of the process for me. Driving to new locations. 

Do you think taking part at Photography Awards has an influence to the career of a photographer? 
I personally don’t bother submitting to awards. I hate lists. They’re silly. I also find that my work isn’t easily categorized. I don’t think of myself as a traditional street photographer. More of an artist who makes use of the street. I think traditionalists have a hard time accepting what I’m doing so street photography competitions tend to ignore the work I’m doing. Which is awesome because it affords me great personal freedom. I don’t care if I’m liked, I want the freedom to explore my ideas without interference or judgement. I wish that for everyone. Caring too much about fitting in changes your work. It’s a curse. 

What tips or advice would you give a photographer who is starting with street photography? Don’t look behind you or in front of you at what other photographers are doing. Look in. 

Are there any female photographers who inspire you? 
There are so many amazing women out there. I could spend a lifetime answering this question. We all deserve each other’s respect and admiration just for being out there and doing it. I have so much respect for women like Tammy Mercure, Casey Meshbesher, Toby Kauffman and her team at Refinery29 and any of the other women out there who celebrate female identifying photographers through curation and information. We should all be helping each other because its only through a strong sense of community and sisterhood that we’ll all succeed. There is so much power in that. 

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be? 
Mary Ellen Mark or Diane Arbus. What a wild day that would be. 

You can find more about Michelle's work here:
Website: www.mgroskopf.com
Tumblr: www.dailystreet.tumblr.com
Instragram: www.instagram.com/dailystreet

 

Yona Elig | Geneva, Switzerland

Hi Yona, tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how did you get into photography?

I got into photography long ago, when I was in my twenties (I am 63 now) and studying graphic design in London. I was lucky to share a house with some photography students from the same college. They taught me a lot and gave me a chance to discover the darkroom!

Unfortunately, because of certain personal events I stopped two years later and came back to photography about ten years ago when I stopped working.

You submitted pictures of your project ‘Cafe Culture, a Travellers Viewpoint’. What made you to start this project?

I love the intimacy of the cafes, their "decors".  That amazing light and of course all those anonymous actors who, each in their own way, occupy their space and tell a story, inspire me and thanks to the Leica I got the atmosphere I desired.

The fact of traveling helped me in discovering other cultures, baristas, interiors, colors and so much more... And walking in the streets made me thirsty and curious.

Did you have a particular procedure while you were shooting in cafés?

I usually shoot with the camera on the table trying to make myself as invisible as I can which is not always easy with a Leica as it is not auto focus... But I try at least not to have the eye contact, I am too shy.

Most of your work is post processed by using an iPad. I would describe it „Photography meets Painting“. How came the idea up to mix these two mediums und use this technique to edit your photos?

It started for different reasons. First of all, as a graphic designer I always liked mixing photography with another form of art even with typography. Secondly, I love technologies. I am very curious about new applications and objects that constantly give us a chance to discover and use new technology. I have to admit that I am very Apple driven... From the moment the iPad Pro came out with the pen, I knew, that I would find a way and application that would give me a chance to do what I wanted for a long time. And you described it so well it became "Photography meets Painting".

Would you say, that paintings have influenced your photography?

No, I wouldn't say that paintings have influenced me, it is rather my search for something different.  It is by using the tools that I came to realize that my photography had become almost like a painting...

You said you are photographing with Leica Cameras. Why did you choose Leica Cameras to express your vision? Do you think Gear matters?

Actually, I have Leica and Fujifilm now and before that I used to have a Canon for a long time. No, gear is not important. In my opinion, for good photographers, it's the vision that matters. My case is different. It started with a birthday present at my 60th. I used the Leica when I decided to concentrate on shots in cafes, in interiors and people... With the Leica I realized there was something different.  Taking time to focus means taking time to watch the scene. ...and the noise of Leicas is unique ;) - I am just an amateur photographer...

What do you enjoy most, when you are out in the streets taking pictures?

I enjoy most having an aim - searching cafes, looking at people, seeing cities with another point of view, discovering streets and sometimes I find pearls on my journey!

You are traveling a lot. Do you have a favorite place/ country where you like to take pictures?
Can you explain us why?

I am lucky to travel to three cities which are immensely photogenic - and these are Paris, Istanbul and Tel Aviv. Each bring their own magic. It is very difficult to explain. It is usually a mixture of visions and feelings that are indescribable except through a lens.

What and who inspires you?

What inspires me is creativity, people and places. Things that amaze and surprise me - that are breathtaking - just by existing.  This makes me feel extremely alive, also this world is suffering.

You can find more about Yona's work on her Website http://www.yonaelig.com

Juliette Mansour | Atlanta

Hello Juliette, tell us a little bit about you and how you got into photography?
Hi Nicole! When I was a kid I had a Kodak Instamatic camera that fascinated me. Sometimes I would go through the motions of taking snapshots with it even if the film had run out! Photographic art had been snoozing inside me for most of my life, though. My strengths were in writing and music to start and I focused on foreign languages in college and grad school and my plan was to teach abroad. I had to stay in Atlanta though for family reasons and ended up teaching here.

In 1998, my career took an abrupt left turn when I left teaching and was invited to fill in temporarily for a friend at an advertising company. What started out as a 3 month short-term gig ended up as a career in web design and marketing. That led to graphic work, of course, which stirred up the visual artist in me. I picked up an old Sony Mavica camera and someone told me I had potential.

I began taking classes and shooting all the time. I joined meetups, got into shows, festivals, sporadic online publications and eventually started a group of my own dedicated to street photography.

What fascinates you so much about street photography?
There’s what I love about the genre itself - the viewer who walks into a gallery and sees an exhibit of street photography - and there’s what I love as a photographer who shoots street. For now, I’ll focus on the former rather than the latter.

As the aficionado of the genre, I don’t feel like there’s any other kind of photography that can capture so many elements all at once and accomplish this with such grace. It’s a beautiful balancing act! You have first of all, the candid nature of a good street photo. Look at the classics like Henri Cartier-Bresson and you’ll see how he manages what he coined, " the decisive moment" - a sort of marker that allows the photographer to freeze emotion, history, and composition all at once. You look at the scene of a great photograph and there’s a story in it that is so unique - either because of its historical significance or because of the location it was shot and what it means to the viewer, etc.

Then you have the emotion that’s behind that shot and that emotion can both speak to that protagonist in the scene and evoke an emotion in the viewer as well. And tying all that together is compositional elements and style of the photo (e.g. black and white or color, etc.), and the photographer’s shooting style.

All elements bring the photograph into balance and give it drama and mystery all from one candid moment . Documentary photography can accomplish this same feat but street photography is not war-torn or newsworthy necessarily. Street photography is just the unrestrained, artistic exhibition of how people are living daily life and to me, being able to capture this eloquently makes it fascinating.

You submitted your project "Reflections". How did the idea came up to this project?
One cold day in January I was out shooting with my street photography group (and cold in Atlanta is probably like springtime to some northerners)! I usually shoot both digital and film but that day I was just using a medium format Yashica TLR camera. There weren’t that many people out and it seemed like it was time to turn around and go home.

Out of nowhere, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a store window. I chuckled to myself because I rarely saw myself with so much winter garb on - a big hat, thick gloves, heavy coat and scarf, etc. I looked so funny to myself, so in an unintended Vivian Maier sort of self portrait, I took a photo of myself. Then I tried to walk up and down the street looking for others inside the buildings rather than outside. On that day, I think I took about 10 shots of people’s reflections.

When I developed the roll later, what I saw was an interesting blend of black and white shadows, highlights and images that often crossed each other or overlapped in interesting ways. The way this enhanced the story was interesting to me. That was in 2010 and I’ve been building on these images ever since.

Many street photographers are looking for reflection in their images. Can you describe what you’re looking for in your composition?
Right, I did notice in the last few years that a lot of others are shooting reflections as well. When I compose, I’m waiting for a moment in which all elements converge in a way that adds a another layer or special element to the story. For example, I posted some 35mm images recently and added them to my reflections portfolio online. The scene was just a young guy making corn dogs behind a window at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. This would seem like a pretty boring event until you stood there and noticed how many others were watching as well and how their reflections interacted with his movements. There is one image in the series of three in which a bystander’s mouth aligned perfectly with the top of the corn dog from the other side of the glass! That was enough for me to create an interesting moment. In other singular images, sometimes what inspires me is just a mood or the lighting that conveys something interesting to me.

What do you find is the hardest challenge when taking pictures?
Lighting, timing and composition are the most important elements to me and sometimes trying to wait for that magic moment when all three cooperate is not easy.

How important is traveling for you as a photographer?
Atlanta historically has not lent itself easily to classic street photography. This is rapidly changing but people here still love their cars and finding candid street scenes can be challenging, so often my group and I have to use events as the backdrop for candid street scenes. Travelling allows me to get outside that restriction and experience an abundance of active street life without having to hunt for it. For example, you could stand on a street corner in New York or Chicago, never really go beyond one block and get dozens of decent shots in a half an hour! In Atlanta, you struggle a bit to find that. Also, travelling to places where you can find amazing beauty AND interesting street scenes is a bonus - and then I’m in heaven!!

International travel is especially interesting to me because of my origins. I’m first generation American and have been to both my parents’ countries but have spent most of my childhood travelling to Colombia, South America. Recently, my work from there was shown in a local exhibit during Atlanta Celebrates Photography .

You founded the Atlanta Street Photography Group. Tell us a little bit about it.
In 2008, I ran across the story of Vivian Maier on John Maloof’s website, which at the time was beginning to be known in the photography community. There were several photographers on Flickr from all over the world who were enamored with her work and decided to hold a global Vivian Maier day, inviting us to gather other photographers in our city and go out and shoot Vivian Maier style. I volunteered to do it and got a small number of people together and we posted our shots on Flickr. I loved it so much that I decided to start this group as a general street photography group. We moved from Flickr to Facebook around 2011 and now we’re a small, private group dedicated to classic street photography. We learn so much from each other, we share challenges and successes and we get together on a very laid back basis to shoot when we can.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be and why?
Believe it or not, it wouldn’t be Vivian or Henri. I think their work is pure genius but I’d prefer to hang out with Joel Meyerowitz because he is an expert who has managed to keep true to this genre in the present day, he embraces the use of color (which I always have) AND he is not an egomaniac! He is passionate about this work and presents it in a way that is fluid, makes sense. He feels like a soul brother! I know I would learn a great deal from him. 

You can find more about the work of Juliette on her website: http://www.juliettemansour.com

Shana Rappel | Tel Aviv

Hello Shana thanks for your submission about the Pride Parade in Tel Aviv! Can you tell our readers a little bit about you ?  
From Paris to South of France to Miami, from Miami to Tel Aviv, I expressed my art everywhere. First in painting, then in street photography. I track the light everywhere and that moment of fusional love delivers creativity in me and gives me this personal look of people and cities.

My pictures are spontaneous, without post editing, and for a few seconds I have this pleasure and excitation to capture the moment to make it unforgettable. I often tell myself to be lucky to have been there without deciding it, at this place, with this unique light that allows me to give life to my Art. I want to show people situations that highlights an aspect or different aspects of who they are. The human experience is unique and entirely unpredictable. It’s a fantastic challenge to explore it through Street photography.

As an artist you went from painting to photography? How did this come ?
By reducing the home's square meters. I had a lot of fun to paint but the pleasure I feel in photography is even more intense and passionate. Why? Maybe because photography is more instantaneous than painting. The resultis immediate. Photography gives time to see things that the eyes do not have time to see.

What fascinates you on street photography ?
Bring back to consciousness a scene differently from what everyone sees in his own way, is create a different life to a stage, an object, an event, a person that anyone could see in an unconscious way, trivial, but my eye constantly revisits these street scenes with my own sensitivity and light is my mentor. I put on stage continually a scene even without my camera . I imagine it and I create it in my lens.

For me, photography is a spontaneous pleasure. I'm not a photographer in love with technique, rules. I love to shoot in a car behind the glass for example. The speed of images in my lens and my frenzy to capture these fleeting momentsare very intense.

I do not want pictures prepared in advance. I refuse to lock myself in the technique. I do not want to photograph poverty and pain. I photograph people in their deepest intimacy, in their thoughts, in their gestural expressions, in their daily life or in their special moments ... I like the street, during the day, the night ... I love people in their life and I love to freeze those special moments they offer mein a candid way... and to transmit what I felt at this exact time to others.

It is the emotion of a stealth and magic moment that I want esthetic also. My photos are expressed by the movement and are intimate, could be with an Iphone or a 24 Millions Megapixels camera…

You submitted a project you shot during the Pride Parade in Tel Aviv 2016. The pictures show the distinctive atmosphere duringthe parade.  Can you tell us a little bit more about it ?
I wanted to show that Tel Aviv is one of the cities in the world where people can post their difference in total freedom without undergoing the eyes of others. This allows them to express their exhuberance and madness that I wanted to capture in my photos. I have stolen beautiful and unique moments through their looks, their attitude, their poses and if my viewers can feel the essence of the Parade through my photos, it means that I reached my goal to transmit this distinctive atmosphere.

The Pride Parades are always very colorful and vibrant. Is there a reason why you choose to take the pictures in B&W?
B&W gives a different character and originality to the images. A different spirit, drama, globally, a very different atmosphere.

The subject in B&W is more valorized than in color, because in color, the eyes can be distracted by all the surroundings who are part of the scenery, but not focused in the subject. 

What are you looking for when you go out into the streets and shoot ?
Multiple encounters and lights, topics, situations, atmospheres which inspire me.

How do you choose places for street photography ? Are there any great spots in Tel Aviv for street photography ?
I do not choose any place. It is in my random walks from one neighborhood to another that I find my inspiration and I have not even operated all locations in Tel Aviv or in Israel in general.

Tell us a little bit about the photography scene in Israel . Are there anywork of female photographers you can recommend ?
There are a lot of photographers in Israel, women and men so the photography scene takes a large place here. I don’t know personally Orna Naor but I like her work as well.

What are your next plans and projects?
My next project is my daughter’s wedding in November where, for the first time, I am going to experiment my photography skills with a drone but it ‘s too early to talk about it.

My next plans is to go to Antartic and Cuba.

Hyun Suk Kim | Hong Kong

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi Nicole, thanks for giving me a great opportunity to share my images on Women in Photography. I'm Hyun Suk Kim and I love to take pictures as a hobby. I have around 5 years of experience in photography. I love all types of photography, however my passion is specifically street photography nowadays.

How did you get into photography?
When I moved along with my family 8 years ago from New Work to Hong Kong, I didn't know anyone and quickly lost interest in visiting famous tour spots. My role as only a mother and a wife caused a sense of lost identity. So, I found that photography sparked my interest. However, after becoming a photographer, living in a new city was inspiring and fun. I was able to meet new friends with common photography interest.
 


What do you like about street photography?
My passion for street photography means I need to get out and walk around. 
I NEED TO APPROACH AND INITIATE STRANGERS, I NEED TO SHOW CURIOSITY FOR OTHERS.
I started with places that are familiar to me, and then slowly explored strange and unique places.
With my camera in hand, an average situation can easily change people and places into unique and special. For example, taking pictures of tourists from around the world who take pictures in front of the Bruce Lee's statue with various different poses makes me excited. 

You submitted an amazing series called @ the Beach from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is usually not knowing for it's beach life - so how did the idea came up to you to work on this project?
Hong Kong is famous for the high sky scrapers and has fantastic night lights. But after seeing it everyday, it become the norm. So, I spent researching and looking around my area carefully.
My home is located near many beaches which i've never swam - however almost everyday I have opportunity  to watch beach scenes of local people.

Spending time at the beach  and taking pictures made me even more nervous than usual because of the special situation of people being half naked or wearing skimpy swimsuits. Even though these are considered private moments many people sincerely enjoyed to interchange their moments with mine. I made a point to visit each beach on the south side of Hong Kong. Each beach has their own personality. Each single person's story was fantastic and I enjoyed capturing that moments with my camera. Another surprise I didn't expect was the change of weather
conditions.

Which equipment do you use? and do you think gear really matters?
After 5 years with various lens and camea bodies, especially Canon 5D Mark II, I prefer to take pictures with a light compact camera, no zoom, such as Leica D-Lux 5 (not to use zoom).
My approach is to raw and transfer to black and white. I find myself using my I Phone camera too.

I know that for the professional, for the commercial, and for the scenery photography one should shoot with highly tuned equipments, however, I prefer small and light cameras. It gives me flexibility and at the same time remove the uncomfortable feeling for others so there is more chances to share the moments on the street in its natural form. Lastly, I'm not technical at the mechanical knowledge.

You said, that your photography is strongly influenced by movies. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
I notice that my photography is strongly influenced by movies which usually shot by 16:9. There is also a certain style which tells a story. When I studied film and television in college, I was particularly interested in making storyboards which usually broke down the whole script and evalutated each single shot. I think this process definitely helped me to develope creativity and to able to capture a story in every single image. For example, my all time favortie movies are Federico Fellini's Amarcord and the La Strada which show the ordinary people's extraordinary life story in black and white. 


Tell us a little bit about street photography scene in Hong Kong. Is there a favortie place you prefer for your street shots?
Cosmopolitans like Hong Kong is also difficult to take pictures of people but when I try to have open minds with good and positive attitude, still there are many chances to take pictures in HK. A Favorite place? the beaches?  When I started to learn photography, I used to complain of my environtment such as, a small city, bad weathers, and etc.
 
However, everywhere in HK, every weather in HK, and every time in HK make me excited with my camera these days. That's why I'm able to take this project, @ the Beach. A rainy day, a cloudy day, less or more people at the beaches, sometimes none ... etc. 

Just enjoy and appreciate your ordinary life with camera, I think  every one can enjoy the street photography.

What are your next plans?
I'm still interested to take pictures at the beaches so I've been taking more beach shots from other cities for last summer, such as in LA, San Francisco, NY, and Busan (Korea). I also want to develope some images of women who lost their identity with my own point of view but still thinking and thinking...

Dawn Mander | Blackpool

Hello Dawn, thanks for submitting your work. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?
Not really much to tell, semi retired translator/interpretor with background in theatre and arts.

How did you first discover street photography?
Everyone starts out taking pictures of signs, and details, and sunsets. But not many people feel the need to take pictures of strangers.

What attracted you to it?
I find street photography exciting, I love people and people watching, imagining their lives and private stories. The behaviour and expressions of people on the streets excites me, draws me to the individuals.  I’ve been known to run up and down the streets to catch that moment , that special shot that makes me think ‘yes’ to myself… thinking ‘right that’s it now I can go home’ knowing that have captured that ‘thing’. But there are other times when I will find a spot and if the light is right will stand on a corner or sit on a step somewhere and wait,  watching daily life as it unfolds around me, sometimes am lucky and a story will come in to my line of view and I can capture that ‘attimo della vita’ that happens and is then gone…

You mainly document life in your hometown Blackpool. Can you tell us a little bit about the relation of the city and its people?
It's simple really I love my home town, not big enough to be a city but bigger than a small town its got something for everyone. Like many coastal towns it gets neglected when 'out of season' but its a great place with great characters for photography.

What drives you to pick up that camera day in and day out and hit the streets?
I think of street photography as a way of documenting history, capturing candid moments of subjects in everyday situations. I will leave the house with a destination in mind and go in search of the right light, once I get there will either go looking for a shot or simply wait till something or someone comes in to my frame and then, hoping that have the correct settings, will just press the shutter button capturing that moment in someone’s life when without knowing it they came in to mine.

Are you more of a walk and watch or a wait and see kind of street photographer?
There are times when I will find a spot and if the light is right will stand on a corner or sit on a step somewhere and wait,  watching daily life as it unfolds around me, sometimes am lucky and a story will come in to my line of view and I can capture that ‘attimo della vita’ that happens and is then gone…

How do you deal with confrontation when shooting on the street?
I frequently ask self "will this shot get me in trouble"? but I usually just risk in and come up with an on the spot explanation if questioned. A high viz jacket is always a good thing to have if going somewhere you shouldnt really be. Saying that I generally try to avoid being too noticeable using a Canon fd 28mm manual lens on my Lumix G2, also having the appearence of someone's (everyone's) grandmother helps!

How do you stay positive when you’re shooting on the street?
I get on the streets as often as I can and always feel positive when out shooting the unsuspecting public.

What advice would you give new street photographers that are stuck in a rut and can’t seem to move forward with their work?
Never compare yourself with others and don't copy other people's styles and images find something you like and practice till you're happy. Always look for something different.


If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be and why?
William Eggleston - because I love his simplicity, the colours and the seeing something in the everyday.

Bruce Gilden & Dougie Wallace - because I admire their courage of using flash on the streets and Georgie Jerzyna Pauwels, a facebook photographer friend whose work have admired for many years.

Do you have a favorite photobook?
I have many and will carry on collecting ... I think mine will be my fave when I get round to printing it!!

Thanks for taking the time for the interview, Dawn. 
It was a pleasure!

ALEJANDRA VIDAL | DUBLIN

DSCF0574.jpg

Hello Alejandra, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? How got into street photography?
Hello Nicole, first of all thanks for giving me the opportunity to take part of Women in Photography, I am so glad of it.

Hi all readers, I’m Alejandra originally from Spain but living in Ireland, I left my country four years ago. I was traveling with my husband in Mexico and Guatemala for over a year, when we decided to move to Dublin where my passion of street photography started.

All my life I have been curious about photography but never interested in landscapes, wildlife or macro photography. I had an old Nikon for my travels..  My passion for street photography truly started one year ago when I bought a Fujifilm X100T.

When I got into street photography my first inspiration was Des Byrne the founder of The Irish Street Photography Group. I saw a video of him talking about his passion of street photography. Then I became a member of his photography group, where we met once a month.

After some research on google about street photography I came across and discovered Bruce Gilden one of the most famous and controversial street photographers all over the world - it was love at first sight.

What were the difficulties when you started with street photography?
When I started shooting, the most difficult thing I came across was getting close to the subject due my lens is 28mm so need to be very close, it was embarrassing at the beginning but not anymore. It is exciting, pure adrenaline.

What fascinates you to take pictures of people?
Taking photographs of strangers without permission and unplanned is my passion. I love facial expressions, one expression can tell more than thousands of words, from my point of view one of the most interesting pictures you can take is of people.

How do you choose places for your photography?
When I grab my camera and go out for street I usually go to crowded places, food markets, protests, parades, events. These are great places to find good street scenes and stories.

What are you looking for when you go out into the street and shoot?
I am very attracted to special characters, facial expressions, colors, shadows, light, anything that appeals to me.

You said you like flash day or night why so?
I love shooting with flash day or night - this gives my photos another dimension. I know it is quite controversial. When I started doing flash and getting so close to the subjects many people told me if I was mad? I did not listen to them. I thought it is my responsibility and like it, so continued doing it.

What are some tips you give yourself, if you started with street photography all over again?
If I started again in street photography the first thing what I would do is look for interesting subjects, don't shoot whoever you meet.

How important is traveling for you? Is there a place in the world you would like to photograph?
When you travel to a new place you see new things.. The light is different, colors, people, specially if you live in a country where the sun doesn't come out often, everything is exciting! You feel the adrenaline, you feel exited, your eyes open hungry of new experiences, so yes, it is very important for me, not only because of street photography it is important because I love traveling.

Next year I plan to visit Japan - love taking pictures of Asian people. I find them very exotic, I love Asian food too, I can’t wait.

You said that you are really inspired of the work of Bruce Gilden. What fascinate you about his work?
The first time I saw a video of Bruce Gilden, I got shocked, fascinated how brave he was shooting all of those people in the streets without permission in a way I’d never seen before. It was love at first sight. He is best known for his candid close-up photographs of people using a flashgun, he is just brilliant.

Tell us a little bit a about the photography scene in Ireland. Are there any female photographers that you could recommend?
Dublin, where I live is a city with many interesting subjects, spots and color, particularly in Dublin I miss shadows and light, as I mentioned before , sun does not come out as often as I want.

I think Ireland is a great place to all of those people who love photograph landscapes.

Respect any female photographer in Ireland, I can recommend Esther Moliné , she is a great street photographer living in Dublin, she is from Spain amd has participated in many street photography projects. She runs the Smena Photographic Society here in Dublin, a group dedicated to sharing photographic skills and photowalk meetings.

What are your next plans?
I am delighted to have one of my photos selected in the upcoming International Street Photography Exhibition at the In-spire Gallery in Dublin.  Starting next week and is a part of the Photo Ireland Festival 2016.

I am also thinking about to get into film as I am very curious about it, just need free time and be patience.

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Natalia Jaeger | London

Hello Natalia, can you tell us a little bit about you and how you got into photography?
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. When I was 19 I moved to Arizona where I studied fine arts at Arizona State University. The work I did while in art school was multidisciplinary and, in most cases, it included video as well as performance art. My interest in photography developed soon after I moved to London.

How did you get involved with street photography?
Two circumstances led me to get involved in street photography. In 2011 I moved to London; a place I had never been before and where I knew very few people. It was also around this time when I received a gift from my mother: an Olympus OM-1 camera that had belonged to her since 1976. So, without having planned it, I had acquired all the necessaries for this type of art practice: solitude, a camera and a new city to explore.

Most of your work are street portraits… What do you like about photographing people?
I truly enjoy observing people’s engagement with the details of their everyday routine. A person’s expressions and habitual gestures are, to me, a gateway to that something hidden underneath our character and personality.

Your street portraits are characterized by their very minimal composition and intimate moments. How did you come up with it?
There is an intriguing and haunting trait that seems to emerge when someone is in a state of waiting (i.e. at a bus stop, waiting for someone/something to arrive or, just simply, gazing into the distance). These brief reveries are, perhaps, one of the few instances when a person’s essence is unveiled. I continue to be fascinated by observing these moments and, by photographing them, I wish to exalt the inner life of people.

When you are out shooting, how much is instinctual versus planned?
At the moment my work is guided by instinct and chance. The only planning I do involves choosing a location (a street or a neighborhood) and the time of day. This approach has been, for an over-thinker like me, quite a freeing and enjoyable experience. By not setting a particular goal, and without the need to achieve any type of objective, I have been able to focus on observation—something I feel has helped me create a visual language of my own.

Most street photographers shoot in B&W - you shoot in color - can you explain us why?
This has been choice based purely on instinct. I enjoy seeing the play of colours created by the juxtaposition of reflections and don’t think B&W is capable of producing the same effect.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous photographer, who would it be and why?
Saul Leiter. He was a remarkable photographer with an interesting and wholehearted personality.

What and who inspires you?
I am, for the most part, inspired by films. The works of Maya Deren, Stanley Kubrick and Béla Tarr (to name a few) have helped me understand the importance of seeing and framing an image with a meticulous and attentive eye.

What are your next plans?
I am currently in the process of finding opportunities to train as a cinematographer. The combination of my work as a photographer, my love of cinema, and the urge to learn a new skill has prompted this new creative search.

Sandra Jonkers | Rotterdam

Hello Sandra, welcome to Women in Photography! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
First of all thank you for having me here. Always great to see that there are people like yourself that are giving us street photographers opportunities to show our work to the public and talk about street photography.

Hi all, I'm Sandra Jonkers. I'm a street photographer living in the Netherlands, Rotterdam. I'm hitting the streets as often as possible. But only when I feel the need to shoot, I shoot.

How did you get involved with street photography and what fascinates you about shooting in the streets?
I was already in possession of my camera and taking some courses when I noticed that what I was doing in photography bored me. I really needed some excitement in my photography. That was the moment I noticed the world around me, really noticed the world around me. The streets, that's the place where you find excitement! That moment was life changing for me personal and for my photography. I'm really fascinated by the fact that when I take a shot, you see me. What I shoot is who I am. Nothing more, nothing less.

People are calling you „The pirate of the streets“ Can you explain us why?
They call me 'The pirate of the asphalt' to be frankly. It all started as a joke on Facebook, because I'm hitting the streets with my cam on an electric scooter for disabled people. Someone made a cool joke about that and gave me this nickname. Another one picked that up and used that in an interview with me. Now my nickname 'The pirate of the asphalt' pops up everywhere, it's funny.

What demands do you have on your camera equipment?
Ha, for most people this is going to be a strange answer. I'm using a Canon 70D with a Tamron 24-70 for my street shots. Not really equipment street photographers use for street photography. Most of the street photographers use system camera's. System camera's are much quicker and much smaller and light weighted camera's. You need to be quick on the streets, those camera's are perfect for that. Why I still use a DSLR which is so much slower and also huge and heavy? It's because I'm feeling one with it, the camera became a part of me. Maybe I will take the step to a lighter and quicker camera in the future, but for now we still are having a really good relationship. My scooter is also a part of my gear, that requires a totally different way of shooting the streets, so I'm a bit strange anyway. ;-)

What do you find is the hardest challenge when taking pictures?
Street photography in general is a real challenge, it's so not easy to do. I'm always trying to catch the eye. To me that's the door the someone's soul. Eyes are strong and powerful. They can tell you a lot and nothing at all at the same time. But while I'm looking for that, I also don't want to interfere in that particular moment. I want the moment that I push the button to be as pure as possible. When I succeed, people see me, but not really. In this split second they look at me, and the next second they forgotten all about me already.

Why did you choose to photograph in black & white?
I just love black and white photography. Though it was not really a choice, I just didn't took a shot yet where colors would add something extra into the picture. At the moment colors in my pictures are just not important to me.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to start with street photography?
Make sure that it is really is what you want to do. Be friends with your camera, be one with it. Taking good street photo's needs a certain devotion. You need to step over some personal boundries. Loose the fear of getting closer to people or stepping into a scene as soon as possible. Fear will be seen in your end result. People will not kill you for taking a photograph. Stay close to yourself, shoot what YOU want to shoot. Don't shoot what others are shooting, and when you do make sure you do it better. Shoot from your soul, shoot from your guts. Never stop learning and be open for useful criticism. It will bring you to a next level.

Was there a photographer or any style of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
Consciously and unconsciously I'm influenced and inspired by a lot of photographers. I could not really give you a name. I'm absorbing a few thousands street photo's a week. From the big masters and the smaller ones. I'm pretty sure that has an impact on my daily shooting. But what I can say is that I just love the work of Vivian Maier deeply to give you a name of a big master. But other masters to me are for example my Facebook friends from New York Mark Brown and Melissa Breyer.

Tell us a little bit about the photography scene in Holland. Are there any female photographers you could recommend?
For sure there are a lot of female photographers in the Netherlands, but I have to say that I'm only focused on street photography. Street photography is a man's world in the Netherlands. I really could not give you any Dutch name of a female street photographer. I don't know any who's really devoted to street photography. I hope someone's out there and will respond to this, I would really love to meet and see the work of other dutch female street photographers.

Here you can find more about Sandra's work:
Website: www.sandrajonkers.com        
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandra.jonkers.14

Laura Domrose | Istanbul

How did you get involved into street photography?
I have been interested in photography without any specific focus or category for over 40 years. I never really focused on one particular style or category as I just enjoy taking what attracts my eye. I think that since moving to Istanbul over 15 years ago, I just seemed to fall into that category as most of my shots seem to comprise of, well, the street life of Istanbul. So, I decided that I was more compelled to shoot street scenes to capture the constant flux of this city. I actually enjoy photographing everything. Unfortunately, It seems that photographers have to pick and choose a category, so I choose to focus on Street Photography.

Can you talk about the relation between the city of Istanbul and its people?
The city of Istanbul is an amazing city of contrasts and contradictions. Istanbul is constantly changing - for better and for worse, and this creates a continuous element - almost overwhelming at times - of intrigue. I find many opportunities to capture the ironies of these contradictions and intricate layers. Istanbul is a mass in motion in a sense. Waves of people trying to get to their destination move, while others already at their destination remain to watch the flow.


Can you feel a change of daily life in Istanbul after latest bomb attacks?
I was actually surprised that there was a noticeable change, since I have always thought of the Turks as resilient. This country has seen so much and they will get through this as they have always done. I was here during the devastating earthquake in 1999 and the Gezi Park protests in 2013, and have witnessed this resilience, but this time it feels a bit unnerving at seeing a frightened people. I know that people want to return to normalcy soon.

Where do you find your best subjects?
The majority of my images are from meanderings in many different areas of Istanbul, where I try to capture the many layers of overlapping complexities. I return to the same areas of the city often to find that places no longer exist or are morphing into something completely different. This myriad of activity compels me to try and capture the process in its entirety. The best subjects are everywhere here.

Most of your photographs are in B&W. Why?
I shoot in both color and black and white, but the textures of the city often have more feeling in black and white. I feel it captures the grittiness and urban mystique of the city and its people better.

Do you shoot daily?
I try to shoot daily. I see so much on my way to and from work so I usually can't help but shoot daily! I sometimes like to give myself 'photo assignments' or tasks to keep my eyes alert. It's very easy to find photographic subjects in Istanbul so I like to be prepared to capture the moments - which are often very fleeting moments.

What advice would you give to someone who starts with street photography?
Shoot lots and don't hold back. Look for lines and angles and textures - or details- that most people would walk right past. Be ready for anything and just have fun with it.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous photographer. Who would it be and why?
I just love the boldness of Vivian Maier. It's sad that her wok wasn't discovered when she was alive and wasn't able to see a lot of what she had shot. I connect a lot with her work. She would've had a great time in the digital world. Well, at least she would've been able to see more of her images.
 
What and who inspires you?
In terms of photography, walking around in cities inspires me most. I like trying to find the hidden gems. Other photographers inspire me and help me learn more about my own style and images.

Lauren Welles | New York City

HI LAUREN, first of all congratulations for winning the 3rd prize of this year's Miami Street Photography Festival for one of your Coney Island photos and the Juror’s award in the Center For Fine Art Photography’s “Simply” Contest! How do you feel about that?
Thank you! It felt great to be recognized for something that I love to do. I enjoyed the proverbial 15 minutes.

Tell us a bit about the Coney Island project.
It started out, in the summer of 2013, as just a day at the beach.   I was out with my camera in New York City, and there were no people on the streets. The city can get pretty desolate in the summer, when everyone flees from the concrete jungle, so as not to forget what a tree looks like.  Feeling pretty lonely and uninspired, I decided to take the subway out to Coney Island, to put my feet in the water, be around people and feel the vibrancy of the place. It wasn’t so much about photography at that point; everyone photographs Coney Island and I didn’t think I’d see anything new. I just wanted to get out of the mood I was in.  Anyway, as soon as I arrived, I saw visual stories everywhere and I was able to frame them in ways that kept me interested.  I would go back a few times a month and a body of work started to develop. The project depicts the many cultures and the joie de vivre for which Coney Island is known.  In today’s society, fear, negativity and that “us vs. them” mentality get an inordinate amount of attention; it’s nice to be reminded of a different reality, where people from all different cultures come together to share in happy times. 

When did you first become interested in photography as a mode of expression?
Back in 2003, I was looking to change careers (to what, I had no idea), so I took six months off to travel and get a new perspective on things. I wanted to take pictures on my trip, so I figured I should learn how to use a camera before going. I enrolled in an into to photography class, and the love affair began. 

Is there a photographer or a type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
There are too many to list, but Cartier-Bresson’s work was my first and probably greatest influence (his geometric compositions, in particular). Then there’s Helen Levitt (I love kids).  The graceful movement and intimacy of Sylvia Plachy’s work inspires me, as does Koudelka's sort of melancholic romanticism.  And, more currently, Alain Laboile’s work; it captures an idyllic innocence and free spirit of childhood, which leaves me speechless.

You’re a former lawyer. What made you decide you were ready to dive into the career of a full time photographer?
For years I had been trying to leave, but I just couldn’t handle giving up my security; it seemed so irresponsible and terrifying. Then my health became a bit compromised and I intuitively knew that it was due to the work stress I was stoically harboring.  At that point it was more terrifying to stay where I was than to move forward.  I don’t know that I felt ready to dive into a full-time photography career, but I was definitely ready to leave my legal career.  Then, little by little, the photography fell into place.

Commercial photography is a totally different kind of photography than personal work. How do you handle the challenge in meeting the demands of clients? Was it difficult in the beginning?
The challenge of meeting the demands of clients is like any other job - I have to please someone else without compromising my own integrity.  But it also feels good to satisfy someone else’s needs when I'm doing something I enjoy (in contrast to much of my legal career).

I was nervous as hell on some of my first assignments. Then, like anything else, it got easier and I became more confident.  Being flexible and resourceful when working professionally is so important; something unexpected almost always occurs during a shoot. I still feel as though I’ll never learn it all, which can be scary, but that’s also what keeps it interesting.

What do you like about street photography? Do you think it helps being a female street photographer?
I love how there is a jumping off point from which to create a visual story. I’m not good at creating something visual from scratch; my blank canvas tends to stay blank. I need to see things to get ideas.  When I’m out in public, everything and everyone is stepping onto my canvas, so all I need to do is eliminate, or add, and then frame. 

As a female photographer, I sometimes think I'm not as threatening to strangers as a man might be, especially when photographing kids.  But whether you’re male or female, I think psychology plays a huge role in street photography. If you look at it like you’re doing something wrong, invading someone’s “privacy,” you’ll tense up, making it more likely for people to get upset with you.  But if you are truly interested in people and maintain a humanistic perspective, your energy will be positive, which can make all the difference.   That’s not to say people don’t get upset with me. But when they do, I try to respect their feelings, not take it personally and move on. 

How important is it to hear your inner voice as a photographer?
It’s the most important thing for me as a human being, let alone photographer! It’s an infallible compass. I think that’s what mid-life crises are all about—your inner voice goes from a whisper to a scream so that you can no longer ignore it. Mediocrity is inevitable if my heart isn’t in something, be it photography or anything else. 

As a photographer we all go through different stages. How do you deal with a creative block and what do you do against it?
I used to get really frustrated and frightened by it, thinking it would be permanent. But I’ve learned to trust more in what the moment is than what it isn’t and just allow things to run their course.  The block is often just a gestation period, though I usually don’t know that until it’s over.  

If I’m not feeling inspired, I’ll still take my camera around just to "stay in shape.”  I’m naturally curious about people.  So, if all I do is have a conversation with a stranger on the subway, I’ll still go home with a smile on my face. That helps me ride out the dry spells.  

How important is traveling for you? Is there a place in the world you would like to photograph?
It’s so important! I’ve always had a streak of wanderlust in me. I love experiencing different cultures. There are tons of places I’d like to visit. But I usually don’t know until I get somewhere, if I’m visually inspired.  I need to be interested in the other aspects of a place, the soul of it perhaps, in order for the visual attraction to be there. Based on that, I think I would enjoy photographing in parts of Eastern Europe, where my grandparents were from.  Before I knew how to photograph, I visited Hungary and Poland (I took pictures, but they were horrendous).  So many things felt familiar to me—the food, people’s demeanor, the look in their eyes.  I’d like to go back one day with my camera and explore. 

Website: http://www.laurenwelles.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurenwellesphotography
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenwelles
Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenwelles/
Blog: https://laurenwellesphotographyblog.wordpress.com

Sara Nicomedi | London

Sara, tell us a little bit of yourself and how you got into photography?
I started my studies at the National Academy of Dance in Rome to become a professional dancer until I realized that rigid rules and smelly dance halls were not for me.

After many years of strictness I needed to feel free again. I started studying Art and Photography and found myself on the streets with my camera. Five years ago I moved to London where I got in touch with street photography.

You shoot mainly in color, digital and film. What is your opinion on film vs digital?
I use my digital camera a lot for the obvious reason we all know, but I also like to shoot on film. I always carry with me a disposable camera or a compact Yashica. I dedicate a different energy and emphasis to a picture that I take with film because I know it’s precious. 

Film is a material with substance, even if the picture is not “perfect, it has something to tell you, to evoke you. With digital we need to be more careful to don’t over-produce soulless images.

You have a very strong body of work from your trip to India last year. Tell us a little bit about it.
Travelling is necessary for me. My trip to India was the first outside Europe where I travelled alone. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do that, despite my initial fears. I have never felt so much joy and satisfaction. One of the best and most important decisions I ever made in my life.

Did you feel a special inspiration while shooting in India? 
Street photography is a challenge we do with ourself, there is no communication with the subject, in some way it reflects perfectly our individualistic society and our culture. India opened my eyes to a different way to photograph.

It gave me the opportunity to talk a lot with people. I opened my heart and mind, my curiosity and my need to communicate increased. I enjoyed the human side of shooting in India.

Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
One of the first books I bought years ago were „William Eggleston’s Guide“, „The Last resort“ of Martin Parr and Photie Man of Tom Wood. I think they were my first inspirations. I also like to look at film photographs from the 70’ and the 90’ and love the current projects of Alessandra Sanguinetti, Caroline Drake and Alec Soth.

What would be the best compliment you can get from the viewers of your pictures?
I like to see the body language of the viewer when they see my pictures. This can be a smile, a frown or a whiff - these are all good signs. It means that I am communicating something. Pure reactions from the inside are much more honest than words.

What are your next plans?
I’ m organizing a trip to South America where I would like to do something similar I’ve done in India. I also would like to continue a project I started about Italy. My country is in ruins and we are not doing anything to change things. We are just waiting for something to happen, I would like to document this immobility.

What is your favorite picture of your India Portfolio and why? Can you write a little bit about the story behind that shot? 
My favorite photo is the one where a man cleans the path. It was taken in Varanasi, which is the holiest city in India. Day by day Hindus follow their rituals along the steps or in the Ganges, where they also cremate bodies of their deceased loved ones. 

When I took that shot, it was early in the morning, foggy and the atmosphere was very mystic. The man was sweeping the dust which might have been the ashes of the deaths. I could strongly breathe death, religion and devotion. I got very emotional while watching the man. This image will always remember me of the essence of India.

Website: www.saranicomediphotography.com

Sally Davies | New York City

You moved from Canada to New York’s East Village in 1983, which has been a very rough area during that time. How did it feel for you as a young woman, coming from a small town from Canada? 
I started leaving my hometown when I was a teenager. Rural Canada in the 70s was the middle of nowhere. I moved to the East Village in 1983. It was a creepy, dangerous broken drug war zone. By the time I arrived here, life had moved on the greener pastures and what remained were drugs, a bunch of rag tag artists looking to rebuild, and mostly burnt out buildings. Nothing about this place looked like where I was from... but oddly, it felt exactly the same... the middle of nowhere. The old was almost over and the new hadn't figured itself out yet.

There were no cars to speak of, unless they were burning on the side of the road. It wasn’t densely populated (too scary for most) and even the scale of the buildings was low, sharing a big sky. It was impossible not to photograph. 

Not sure why exactly, but we all knew things were changing here…and there was a sense of urgency…to document your experience. 

Can you describe how the area has changed since then?
Gentrification is pretty much the same, no matter where it happens. Artists move in to dangerous fringe neighborhoods because of the cheap rents. Restaurants and bars open up, then rich people start coming there because its cool. Then the developers buy up all the real estate and make everything nice and shiny and expensive. Then the artists and poor people can’t afford to live there anymore and leave in search of the next forgotten poor area. It works for a brief cross over period, when both sides are still there but ultimately the artists leave and there remains only rich people in shiny buildings, and its all over but the crying.

You’ve actually been a painter, what has brought you into photography? What does photography mean to you? 
My father gave me my first 35mm camera when I was a teenager in the 70s. I’ve been shooting since then. I didn’t know back then, that I could “be” a photographer, so I just always shot while doing other things. That relationship with photography continued through my college experience as well. I was a painting major, and spent the 80s and 90s in nyc exhibiting my paintings at OK Harris Gallery then at Gracie Mansion in the east village. Photography was something I did by myself, for myself. No one gave a shit about my photos and that was an amazing opportunity to get out there and shoot, unfettered with no plan. Somewhere around 2006 I decided to stop painting entirely and only photograph. That was when I began to shoot every day, on purpose.

Do you carry your camera with you all the time? Do you think it is important for a photographer to shoot everyday?  
Indeed I do carry my camera with me everywhere I go. And if I forget I have my phone camera.  The minute you don’t have it, is the minute you wish you did. That will be a missed shot, and you can’t go back. Once its missed, its missed.  

I don’t know what other photographers should do, but I shoot every day.  Perhaps its because I live in New York City, and its a 24/7 situation out there, but I have never gone out and come home with nothing.  

How would you describe your photography? 
My work is the result of an ongoing relationship with New York City that started over 30 years ago. I’ve been called a street photographer, but I don’t see myself in that formal tradition. I’m not interested in a big situation. I’m looking for  the small, the every day… for the tiniest slice of the giant pie. I am looking for the emotional footprint. The things that are broken…that's the glue that holds us together.

You are a full time photographer. Many photographers struggle to make a living as a full time photographer. In an interview you said once „I don't have a plan B.“ So tell us,  is there a secret how it works? And do you have any advice for young women who want to become a full time photographer?
I struggle just like everyone else. I used to work at a magazine shooting cosmetics, and that supported my street habit. But that job ended as the magazine world started to fold, and I have been only shooting street since then. My work reaches a lot of people, and I am getting well known these days, but that does not guarantee photo sales. I think it's good to have a “real” job to pay your bills. Then you can obsess on your photography without the pressure of selling it.  

Lots of photographers who try to make a living out of it start to compromise with their work - to get a show or being published. Have you ever been in that situation? Or is this a no go - cause you just do the work you feel and want to do?
One night in the 80’s,  years ago, I was at a fancy restaurant. Andy Warhol and I had a 2 minute conversation in the bathroom. He said, “Decide what you want to do and get really really good at that one thing. Don’t chase what you think will be the next big thing because there are already people great at it, waiting for their turn. Better to stay put, get super good at your own thing and wait. When it arrives you will be ready and be the best.”  

What advice would you give young photographers to get a gallery show or being published. Should they apply to galleries or send work to publishers? Or do you think this is a waste of time, cause the tendency nowadays is getting discovered? 
The world is changing quickly, and that includes the art world and photography too. What I would have told someone 10 years ago, is not what I would tell them now. I’m not sure there is a clear path anymore to one prize.  

That said, it certainly never hurts to get your work in front of art dealers and gallerists, providing they are the right reps for your work. Ask yourself, do they understand what you are doing?  Do they have the appropriate collectors for the type of work you do? Do they already have artists in their stable doing similar work?  

I don’t think “all the eggs in one basket” is a smart career choice anymore. You must consider any and all options that are available to you. Social media…get online, get your work on different sites, they all have different viewers. Friend other photographers on Facebook. There are so many great ones on there, and most of them are helpful lovely people. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions, ask for help etc. Get your work out there every day.  Don’t get discouraged if nothing happens…it usually won’t…But one day, it will. 

Do you think Social Media has influenced and changed the photography business? Is it easier now to get discovered or was it easier a couple of years ago?
I think “getting discovered” is easier now than in the old days. There are so many more opportunities to show the world your photos. The internet is amazing in that way. It is the great level playing field. The down side is that its available for everyone else too, so the competition is much fiercer. People are over saturated with images, so its important that you figure out what your trying to say, then say it well and often.

Can you tell us a bit about your „McDonalds Happy Meal Project“ which went viral in 2010, receiving over 1.5 million hits to date! Have you ever expected this hype? And since then did you ever had a Happy Meal again?
I have been a vegetarian since I was 15, so I was not eating any Happy Meals. Long story short – In 2010 I bought a Happy Meal and set it out on a plate in my apt to see if it would mold or rot. I photographed it every day for 6 months. No rot, no mold no nothing. It was featured on Refinery29 website and from there went viral. It's still in my apt and still looks pretty much the same as it did 5 years ago when I bought it. It will be 6 years old on April 10 2016. On the day it went viral, it was the most viewed story on the internet. It makes me laugh to think I may die and my legacy will be that burger.  

Are you currently working on a new project? Or is there a dream project which you would like to realize? 
I’m not really a project person. My photography is my daily story, my walk to the grocery store, my dog walk around the block or my bike ride somewhere.  

Your work is mostly from New York. Is there a place in the world where you would like to photograph?
I look forward to spending time somewhere else soon. Maybe LA. We’ll see if moonlight on a garbage bag is as heart breaking on the west coast, as it is on the Lower East Side.

Sally Davies is photographing NYC over 30 years. She achieved her first public recognition in New York in the 90s with her „Lucky Paintings“ and „Lucky Chairs“ exhibitions at New York’s OK Harris Gallery and Gracie Mansion Gallery in East Village. Her art has been featured on HBO’s „Sex in the City“ and are in the collections of Havard Business School, 9/11 Memorial Museum, Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Winger and others.

In 2014, Sally's ”Lower East Side Photographs" were exhibited at the "Bernarducci Meisel Gallery" in New York City, with a 2nd solo exhibit “New York at Night” that followed on June 4, 2015.  In 2014 Sally received a citation from the city of New York for her ongoing interest in photographing the Lower East Side. She lives and works on the Lower East Side and continues photographing New York City.

Website: www.sallydaviesphoto.com