This summer, for some reason that goes beyond me being an old shut-in, has been boring.
I’ve ridden my motorcycle as much as makes sense given the Seattle-like climate that seems to hang over the mid-Atlantic region each summer. Still, there is no place to ride. Nothing is happening. I can’t ride to go shopping. I need a trunk for that. Shopping isn’t really fun unless you’re rich or maniacal anyhow….
I have an advertising shoot with a young Puerto-Rican model for my line of T-Shirts coming up next weekend. I’ll keep you posted on that. Still, even though I love taking photos, it’s work. It’s not guilty, ignorant fun. I want THAT. The ignorant shit.
I’m getting old. My romantic engine is showing it’s age and struggles to get started most days. My sufferance of fools and friends is at an all time low. Despite this, my overall temperament feels jovial. I’m not brooding.
I need activities. I’ve taken some pretty neat photos this summer. A handful of winners maybe, but thats all that can be expected. My X100F remains a solid choice of mine. It’s the greatest street photography camera of all time perhaps.
As I’m trying to transition into being a full-time photographer and do it MY WAY, I find myself treading water most months financially. A monetary breakthrough would be nice. With my checkered past, age, and tendency to be self reliant we shall see….
The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.
It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.
Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.
Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….
Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.
Here is a list of 10 random things I like ❤️ love about my Fujifilm X100F…
🔘 The X100F autofocus is accurate and fast. I was worried it might be a bit sluggish when compared to the Panasonic/Leica Q. No worry needed though. It’s zippy fast!
🔘 The X100F is quite useful to me for sideline shots when I shoot sports. So useful in fact that I prefer using it over having a standard two DSLR setup. No need for a 35mm lens on my 5D mark III when my X100F has a great 35mm equivalent lens and a filler flash to boot!
🔘 I love having analog style dials for my ISO, exposure compensation, aperture, and shutter speed. It beats having to dig through menus in my humble opinion.
🔘 The 35mm 2.0 lens itself is pretty sharp to my eyes, even wide open. RAW files are particularly awesome.
🔘 The ACROS film simulation mode (jpeg only) is maybe the best thing about the camera to me. You can shoot almost anything in ACROS and it looks surreal and historic.
🔘 The flash is useful in a pinch. I use it a lot for sideline shots as I mentioned earlier.
🔘 I almost exclusively use the EVF. It’s so good that my original reason for buying this camera, it having an optional OVF, is a non-issue.
🔘 The camera fits in my pocket and is extremely portable. It’s also so light that I can scarcely feel it dangling around my neckbone.
🔘 The Fuji X100F is 100% silent when the shutter volume is turned off. Dead ass quiet.
🔘 Lastly the little focus knob is swell. It works about as good as the ones on the pro DSLR’s I’ve had the fortune of using.
Thinking of purchasing this camera? Don’t do it! Lol. I want to keep all this bananas awesomeness for myself.
Please support me by buying my classic street-fiction novel available here.
Don’t know what shadowbanning is? Google it. The thumbnail sketch goes like this: Instagram makes you think people are seeing your post when you use hashtags, and when you check the hashtags yourself your post is visible, but others cannot see your post when they search for that hashtag.
Instagram is mind-fucking you. They want you to think your post and hashtags are reaching new users, but in fact only your followers can see your post.
That’s some dastardly shit.
Reportedly, other social media outlets shadowban users. Twitter has been allegedly doing it for years. My issue with it is just one of disappointment. Sure, Instagram is free and the owners can do whatever they like, but it’s just that I’m running out of ideas of how and where to share my street photos online and potentially be exposed to folks I don’t already know in the process. Should any of this matter to me on a personal or even a professional level? Nah. Still, it’s fun to share photos and gain followers and get likes and all. People may hate on the idea in principle but who cares if an activity is important or not if that activity is fun? Everything a photographer does doesn’t have to be part of some Machiavellian scheme for world photographic dominance. It’s perfectly fine to get a kick out of people “liking” your photos, even if folks generally like “everything” and aren’t really interacting with your portfolio.
I don’t understand Snapchat at all for the record….
At any rate, Flickr seems to filled with foreigners and old people. Facebook is over-saturated. Twitter is for famous people and to find out if somebody is really dead. Instagram has started shadowbanning users. Great. Just fucking great. I am in the streets shooting, interacting with people every day. It would be nice if it didn’t end there. It would be nice if there were some allowable enjoyment to be had via street photography besides the act of taking the photos themselves…..
I care about street photography and sharing is caring. We shouldn’t all have to be like Vivian Meyer and have our entire portfolio discovered after we are long dead….
I get it: photographers are not thought to be as “important” as electricians or bricklayers, nor are they generally thought to be as valuable as teachers or meat cutters, but has anyone ever attempted to organize photographers into anything more than an elitist collective like Magnum?
My thoughts on this are as follows: most photographers are petty and despise the work and success of their contemporaries. It’s pretty hard to organize into a brotherhood when you think that way. You cannot be petty and small-minded if you want to unionize. It would be nice to, for example, have standard levels of apprentice, journeyman and master photographer, and to have wage scales commensurate with said levels. This would make shooting for a major publication a straightforward process financially speaking, and may add clarity as to what an apprentice should charge to shoot a wedding as opposed to a journeyman.
Let me pause and say that I’m a political moderate AKA a registered independent. I’m not typically the guy who has strong opinions about labor unions. There are all sorts of counter-argumentative things to consider when organizing a photographic union, and price undercutting and scab behavior would be rampant, but this is just a thought exercise, not a proposal….
Actors and screenwriters have unions, so it’s not like you have to just build or fix or teach something in order to unionize. There can be artists (if we are indeed artists) who form unions. Many photographers would be utterly terrified of being blacklisted or denied work, but I also think many of us on the street photography side would consider joining such a union. Street photographers don’t get paid anyhow and most of us earn a living through conventional jobs. It’s the wedding, portrait, sports, magazine and commercial shooters who would bitch up and cross hypothetical picket lines in all likelihood. I understand that we all have families to feed, but a union would be beneficial to all of us in the long run and provide a much needed hierarchy and eventually structured payment to the whole genre. Of course, as I said earlier, most photographers seem resentful and jealous of other, more accomplished photographers. That is unfortunate and is part of the reason, along with affordable amateurism, that the whole of the photographic profession is drying up money-wise….
This is no micro-struggle. This is real shit that I’d love Peta-Pixel or one of the big dog blogs to address. We are dying and we need to band together in order to survive. Of course I could be wrong for caring about this, being that nobody else seems to….
I’m going to be a bit of a toolbox here, but bear with me….
I cringe these days when I see guys shooting street photography with a fat DSLR. Full disclosure: I used to be that guy myself just 3 short months ago. Since then I’ve gotten my tiny little Fuji X100F, which might be the worlds best street photography camera, and now I feel embarrassed that I ever pointed my big ass Canon 5D Mark III at an unsuspecting street denizen with artistic intentions. It’s like what Obi Wan Kenobi said when he tossed that blaster aside after shooting General Grevious to death: SO UNCIVILIZED…..
Of course my Fuji, and perhaps every Leica outside of the Leica S (and the Leica Sofort), is an elegant photographic weapon harkening back to ages past. Sure, you can blast away 15 shots per second with your crude DSLR but it’s much more fun to manual focus or shoot in single shot mode with a compact or a rangefinder. Also, I’ve never been braver than I am now with my small camera. Sure, we get braver as we mature as street photographers regardless, but my ninja shit is on fleek these days. (Do the kids still say that?) I can literally stand in people’s faces and my silent leaf shutter compact camera makes absolutely no noise as I snap away photos like a maniac…..
Are Leica’s and little midget Fuji cameras better than say, a Nikon D500? Probably not, UNLESS you’re shooting street. So you need to be committed to specificity if you are contemplating adding a compact camera to your arsenal or switching altogether. In my case I still have my Canon system for sports and my Fuji camera for street and candids, well, until I can afford a Leica….
I mean, I’ve never earned what some may call a significant income, or anything close to that. I’ve basically toiled alongside the legions of the working poor my entire adult life. Trust me, I’d love to earn an income that would enable me to buy a house or a killer condo downtown, but right now that’s just a dream, sitting beside winning the lottery or finding an original copy of the US Constitution at a garage sale in my mind.
I do love taking photos though. I mean, no other activity that I earn money from has brought me as much pleasure while doing it, including my days as a rapper signed to a major recording label. Taking photos beats rap in activity based pleasure, though perhaps not in POST activity perks such as groupies and free alcohol and weed. Plus I was young and blissfully angry and stupid back then….
In an ideal world I’d love to earn money from shooting street photography. (FYI, I don’t want you help whores giving me suggestions or condescending pep talks in my comments section. If you have a real offer contact me discretely.)
Street Photography is notoriously ineffective as a profitable venture. I’d have better luck as an electrician or a landscaper, but I HATE doing that stuff and LOVE taking photos in the streets. For this reason I suppose I wouldn’t have to be paid much to be happy doing it. Shit, I don’t earn THAT much shooting sports but I love it so much more than anything else I’ve ever done for money 💰 that I don’t mind the lack of life changing income. Again, I’m not looking for business pep talks here….
Maybe I will figure out a way to earn a nice living shooting women walking down the street. Most likely I’ll live and die and the world will do the same as if I or it never existed….
The minute you tell a so-called “professional” photographer that you shoot street, they immediately think you’re an amateur. Of course they might be right, but never mind that. The thing that so-called and especially “wanna-be” professional photographers fail to grasp is that most of us shoot street because it’s fun. We know it doesn’t generate income. We are fine with that…
I’ve been challenged by many photographers who swear they know composition, shooting strategy and have mastered editing. Most (and by most I mean none) don’t know that I also am sports photojournalist and have been doing it for years. My editing and delivery standards for my “pro” work is worlds apart from what I generate in my personal street projects. This leap in logic is apparently beyond the old film guys and young hustling coons I run across in various Facebook groups. They refuse to believe that people can enjoy being liberal in their artistic persuits, but be very conservative in their professional persuits. People do it all the time. Eddie Money was an honorable NYC cop before he became an 80’s radio rock overlord. It’s called balance.
Maybe I’m just upset that photographers love playing the critic role way too often, as if their own work is more than marginal or derivative. If you like shooting black and white photos of flowers 🌺 then that is entirely up to you. If I don’t like it I don’t feel the need to be critical of you. It’s your shit. Do you. I don’t have clairvoyance to be able to predict what great art will be. All I know is the rules and that I should break them whenever the fuck I feel like it….