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Posts tagged ‘Trent Parke’

# 7 CHARALAMPOS KYDONAKIS, Rethymnon Street Photographer

Leica Liker is honored to have Charalampos Kydonakis, a Rethymnon (Crete) Street Photographer as our #7 guest. He’s also known as Dirty Harrry [sic], author of a very informative and purely visual street photography blog – Dirty Blog.

If you’re like me, I began my street photography journey by poring over countless photography books and of course, the ubiquitous internet. One of the first websites I came across was Harrry’s ‘Dirty Blog’. It is a wealth of information. Photos upon photos, conveniently organized into categories and alphabetized. You can see some very inspirational photos by masters, contemporaries and even little known photographers.

What really drew my attention was not Harrry’s encyclopedic endeavors, although I very much appreciate it, but rather his own photographic work. Many of his photos are raw images (raw in the sense of visceral) of people and animals at night,  instilled with a surprised and sometimes nightmarish vision. They occasionally hark of alcoholic induced momentary flashes (literal with flash lighting) of  the figurative paintings of existentialist painter Francis Bacon. And with a little inspiration from master street photographer, Bruce Gilden to boot.

Harrry’s street photography work takes surrealism to another level, in particular his multiple exposure photographs. His use of allegory is whimsical, adding a layer to street photography that is not often seen. My favorite being the feature image here with the dog’s face overlaid over a woman smoking. Some have a twisted sense of humor which often appears even in his less ambitious street photographs. And his subjects are not always shown in the most positive light.

We live in a world where we are bombarded by images of flawless people, photo-shopped to absolute perfection no matter if you live in a developed or underdeveloped country. So it’s refreshing to see artistic images that poke fun or simply point out the banal side of our human selves.

Here is my interview with  CHARALAMPOS KYDONAKIS.

Nick Name: Dirty Harrry
Currently living in: Rethymnon, Crete
Motto: If I get to 80 years old, maybe I ‘ll have one.
Profession/Job: Architect

Street Photographer since: I started shooting street photos in 2008. But I consider myself just a guy with a camera shooting and not strictly a street photographer.
Street Photography Blogger since: March 2011
Websites: http://dirtyharrry.blogspot.com  and http://mydreamsyournightmare.blogspot.com

Favorite Street Camera & Lens: Canon E60D with a Voigtlander Colorskopar 20mm , f3.5
Back-up Street Camera & Lens:  I don’t carry a backup camera. I always carry a second battery and a second memory card. When the batteries run out or the cards fill up then it’s time to put the camera back in the bag and go get some rest.
Favorite photography gadget:  My bicycle and my sport shoes.
Favorite street food: Beer

Do you listen to music while shooting? No
Favorite music when editing Photos: Astor Piazzola, Vicente Amigo and many more.
Favorite photo software: I open the raw archives with Lightroom 3 and the jpegs with Photoshop CS4.

3 Favorite Master Photographers: Weegee, Martin Parr, Garry Winogrand, and  Diane Arbus. Sorry. I couldn’t end up with 3.
3 Favorite Contemporary Photographers:  Martin Parr, Bruce Davidson, Trent Parke
Which 3 photographers’ prints do you own? Unfortunately I don’t have prints by others. The only prints I own are about 30 of  mine. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see all my photos printed.

Color or Black and White? In the past, I shot only black and white. Now, I think  about 5-10% of what I shoot end up in black and white. I only turn to it for a few photos, mainly the ones that I shoot at night. It’s difficult for someone to throw away the easy vintage-romanticism of black and white photography and create something with valour in color terms. But I believe this is the challenge. I still like black and white photography and haven’t rejected it. But I think the future belongs to color.

Shoot Film or Digital? If there were someone to develop and print for me for free, maybe I would shoot film. Right now I think spending time and money in developing and printing can make someone a better printer, but not a better photographer. Time is more important to me than exposure tolerance, grain etc..

Is there a special time of the day you like to shoot or is any time good? I like to shoot early in the morning (unfortunately this can happen only on weekends and vacation), or 1-2 hours before sunset. The light in the beginning and the end of the day is beautiful.

But most of the time I prefer to shoot at night. It somehow has different rules from the day. In the day you can be invisible.  At night I use a flash. You can’t be invisible and I don’t’ care.  I just shoot. Most of the time it doesn’t work. But once in a while you get lucky. You just have to shoot a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night. The more you shoot; the more you read; the more you see what other people shoot; the more it helps your photography.

Why did you choose Street Photography and not another form of photography or stamp collecting?  I bought my first analog camera in 1997 while I was at university. It was required for my studies and work. At that time, I shot only buildings and urban spaces. In 2008 I bought a digital camera and started to shoot more. Then I saw some Magnum photos and realized that I would like my photos to tell human stories.

Street photography is what gives me adrenaline. But lately I have started to shoot anything and everything, not only street.

What motivates you to photograph the streets? I like the surprising wind that blows out there. You never know what to expect. It’s a challenge to walk endless hours trying to discover things around me.

Is Street Photography an obsession? I think photography is an obsession, no matter if it’s street or not.

Are you a lone shooter or do you like shooting with friends or a group? When I shoot strangers I want to be alone. It’s definitley fun to go out shooting with friends but if I look at the final result, all the times that we didn’t separate while walking I ended up with nothing. I need to concentrate. But I do have a few photos of my family and friends that I like. And finally, I don’t care if the subject is of strangers or friends or whatever. I just care that I end up with something worth viewing.

Favorite street photography city: I ‘ve shot in some European cities and it’s nice to shoot anywhere. But as everyone’s finest work is a result of how much time he has spent somewhere, I must say that my favorite photos I have are shot in my town, Rethymnon in Crete.

What inspires your photography?
-The work of masters of photography and a lot of contemporary photographers
-Movies by Sam Peckinpah, Akira Kurosawa and Luis Bunuel
-Books by Nikos Kazantzakis and Gabriel Garcia Marquez
-Alcohol

What do you look for in a good photograph?  The composition and the possible story that might come out of something unimportant that passed before the photographer’s eyes.

How do you go about shooting a street photograph? I always carry my camera with me. Whenever I see something that catches my attention I go close and shoot one or more photos.

Is there a philosophy or aesthetic behind your compositions that you apply to your photos? Back in 1997 when I was in university, we had a drawing and painting course. Instead of just drawing, my professor wanted us to present black and white photos of what we saw. So I bought my first camera. I learned how to ‘see’ and compose that way.

The main thing is I shoot a lot. I also spend time looking at other people’s photos. Maybe I get some ideas that way. I’m sure it’s in the back of my mind. So when I go out and shoot, I might see something and find a connection between what inspired me and what is in the street. But none of it is conscious.

As for aesthetic – My images may seem surreal but it is my effort to interpret reality. What I mean is, you see something real and then you give metamorphosis to it. If there is no metamorphosis, then you are just documenting life.  Documentation is somehow objective and I want it to be subjective. I want to tell my story. I’m not interested in documenting life.

I also love spontaneity. When I drink alcohol, I always experience spontaneity.

You’ve been shooting more multiple exposure shots. Is that your new aesthetic? I get bored doing the same thing. I wanted to try new things. There was a time I did ‘Gilden-type’ street portraits. This has its limits. I needed to get over it and move on. And street photography has its limits.  We must be as open minded as we can.  In the end, I don’t care about labels- I just care about what I see and if I like it or not.

Are the multiple exposure images planned or random? With multiple exposures, you only see the first frame. The second, third or subsequent layers are done by instinct. I know the focal length and I know my 35mm lens well and the specific angle I will get from a specific distance. That’s it.

When doing multiple exposures it’s more conceptual and less spontaneous. I have to think 2 or 3 frames in advance although the shots are made up of spontaneous un-posed moments. But in the back of my mind I have to try to combine these things.

Why did you start a street photography blog? I began with a Flickr account to post my work. But I wanted to really show my images. At the same time, I was looking at a lot of photos from other photographers. And I would come across photographic diamonds.  I discovered so many good things that I wanted to share them. I also want to see these gems again and again because they are inspirational to me. So I decided to present their work in my blog along with my own images.

You’ll notice my blog is about showing photos and not a lot about my opinion of the work or the photographers. I just want to show photos.  I get bored reading too much. For instance, I don’t care to read about tips.  Photography is about images.  I don’t care if the photographer is famous or not.

Why did you name your blog “Dirty Harrry Blog” (now titled Dirty Blog)? I don’t know. Harry is short for Charalampos. It’s  pronounced ‘Haralampos’. The ‘C’ is silent in Greek. And then there are my dirty photos.

Best 3 tips for shooting the streets:
What I usually do is:
-Try to forget everything and concentrate on what is happening around me.
-I shoot without thinking if it is right or ethical to shoot.
-When I ‘m out in the night, I drink beers.

Best single advice on how to improve your work: Forget anyone’s tips and just open your eyes.


Best single advice on how to edit your work: 

  • If edit is referring to processing: don’t edit too much.
  • If edit is referring to curation of your own stuff: ask 2 fellow photographers whose talent you trust 100% and have them tell you their opinion about your projects.

Best single advice for someone who wants to get into street photography: Shoot whatever can tell a story, no matter if it’s peopled subjects or unpeopled. No matter if it’s pure street or not.

What’s the best moment in your street photography career? I don’t have a career, that’s why I don’t know its best moment. However, I know the 2 most funny moments while shooting:

  •  In 2008 I went to Barcelona and the first day I took a photo of a girl walking. After one week I was shooting around, at some moment I went inside a church to rest a little and I saw her sitting nearby. I remembered her and showed her the photo in the camera and afterwards we went in the neighboring park of Ciudadella to ride a boat. Suddenly she started to sing Spanish songs as she was moving the paddles!
  • Once it was evening in my town and in an empty road there was only me and a couple hand in hand on the other side of the road. I went and took a flash portrait of the girl from a very close distance. Her boyfriend got mad with me and started to push me. I told him to relax and we started to talk. After 5 minutes he told me that he had a lens that he didn’t use and asked me if I was interested in buying it!

What’s the worst moment in your street photography career?  Once I went alone into a decadent bar to shoot photos at 4 o’clock in the morning. Everybody in that bar were like gangsters and criminals. I was excited to come upon such a subject. Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed in taking any photos because the owner of the bar pushed me out when he saw me with a camera in my hands. He threatened my life if he saw me again. The bad thing wasn’t that I was kicked out of that place or that I was threatened. The bad thing was that I didn’t take any pictures there.

What projects are you working on? I’ve been shooting street photography for many years. Now I think I am interested in anything: Landscape, portraits, still life. Every form has its difficulty and its charm. Shooting anything (or almost anything) helps me to observe better.

Where do you want to be in 5 years with regard to street photography? In the future I will try just not to get bored of what I shoot. Which finally means not to get bored of myself. If my photography will be street or whatever, I don’t really care.

Are there exhibitions planned in the future? I have an exhibition titled ‘CIVITAS RETHYMNAE’ from July 8 to August 30 at two different locations here in Crete, together with my friends Lukas Vasilikos (Leica Liker Interview #2) and Ania Vouloudi . Everyone is welcome 🙂

Leica Liker thanks Harrry for sharing his experience and inspirational advice with us. :-) We look forward to checking in on him in the future.

You can check out Harrry’s gear under “Liker Bags’n Gear here.

This is Harrry’s self portrait.

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#3 JOHN GOLDSMITH, Vancouver Street Photographer


Leica Liker is excited to introduce our # 3 guest, John Goldsmith, an American street photographer, now living in Vancouver, Canada.

John came to us as a photography ‘insider’, by way of his first job making emulsions in a film lab using a squeegee and silver chloride. A bonafide chemist who studied photons for his masters degree, he also took lessons on negative film developing. So it was natural that he carried a camera and eventually became a photographer.


What attracted me to John’s photographs is this sense of sleek modernism. His images have a chemistry that is between shimmering new light and young cities that don’t have deep roots. Or maybe it’s that he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, a city that spawned from a once modern age of transportation.


John talks of ‘theater’. When you study his photographs, they bring a distance to the image that feels like a scientist studying its subject. And true to his scientific roots, his ‘theater’ often poses more questions than give any answers. And that’s what he aims for when he shoots. This constant questioning makes the photographs alluring – You want to find out more about the story behind the picture.

This is my interview with JOHN GOLDSMITH:

Nick Name: Waxy
Currently living in: Vancouver, Canada
Motto: Don’t have one.
Profession/Job: Professional Photographer

Street Photographer since: 2006
Websites: www.johngoldsmithphotography.com and www.twitter.com/#!/jogofoto/
Organizations or Group: Strange.rs and Street Photographers

Favorite Street Camera & Lens: Canon 5DMkII + Canon 17-40mm f/4 lens
Back-up Street Camera & Lens: iPhone 3Gs
Favorite photography gadget: The J-strap – a handy camera strap custom made by my friend Justin Barnes.
Favorite street food: Coffee. Vancouver has no shortage of great cafes. Espressos. Pour-overs. You name it. If it’s made well, I’ll drink it, hot or cold but I prefer lukewarm.

Do you listen to music while shooting? Only if I’m using my iPhone. Otherwise, never.
Favorite music when shooting and/or editing Photos: Usually I’m in my own no-music zone but with my recent project I’ve taken to the Talking Heads. Speaking of which, the intro to ‘Psycho Killer,’ as my wife pointed out, is the same as the opening to the Fraggle Rock theme song. I apologize if any of your readers like the Talking Heads because they will never think of Psycho Killer in quite the same as they did.
Favorite photo software: Adobe Lightroom 4. It’s the only software that I believe is offered at a fair market value and every photographer should use it. I don’t say that about many things.

3 Favorite Master Photographers: Alex Webb, Trent Parke and Garry Winogrand.
3 Favorite Contemporary Photographers: There are so many deserving photographers making incredible photographic images today that having to choose just three seems an impossible task. What I’ll say is that Flickr’s HCSP group has helped produce and introduced me to some of the most amazing contemporary street photographers around. Personally, I’ll be forever thankful for it’s impact on me and my photography.

Which 3 photographers’ prints do you own? Sadly, I don’t even have three prints, let alone two, from other photographers. It’s something that I want to change. I’ve even gone so far to coordinate with other photographers to swap prints but none of us have committed ourselves to getting to the post office. But by year’s end, I am going to make this happen. But honestly, lately I’m more into the idea of book swapping. Photographers should publish more books.

I do, however, have a very nice black white print that my wife purchased for me from a student at Parsons (New School, NYC). My wife was a doctoral student at the time and there was an art show, if I recall. Sadly, when I got the print there was no name associated with it. Don’t photographers sign their prints anymore? So even though I keep it front and center in our home, and consider what it shows on most days of the week, I don’t know who made it. Not only should photographers make more books but they should use some sort of signature or ‘chop.’ Along with the democracy of everything, which is a good thing, there seems to be this nonsensical idea that signing or even entitling a work somehow makes it bourgeois.

Color or Black and White? Definitively color. But I think photographers should shake up their approach now and then, if not for the challenge alone, then to keep from becoming static. In a 2010 public lecture, Fred Herzog, who has become a bit of a legend in Vancouver and now elsewhere, said: “You have to take risks. You have to take risks even now. And if you go out, and you take only safe pictures, you have not achieved anything. You have to make a hole for yourself every day you go out and you take 50 pictures, at least a few of them have to be risky. I mean technically risky. You have to do something you have never done before.”

When I was studying for my Masters in Chemistry, I remember hearing that academics change their research area every 10 years. Photographers should do this, too. There is not only the subject matter that’s important to a story but an aesthetic as well. They form a symbiotic relationship and I don’t think either can survive very well on their own, or at least, they survive better together. Trent Parke is very good at this and he chooses the format by project to better describe his narratives. Few photographers take on this challenge. Maybe they get sucked into forever improving their portfolio, or something, but there is more to photography than just that.

Shoot Film or Digital? Ha. Digital. Though I learned to use film first. My first thought is as a professional photographer I would never shoot a wedding or event on film. It would be a nightmare – scanning, colour correcting, and archiving. No thank you! Consistency of the process and product between my personal and professional work is vitally important to me and so shooting digital carries over to my personal work. Regardless, the differences between film and digital aesthetics are shrinking. Even if they may never be the same, they both have their place for the time being.

Additionally, in a former life as a research chemist, I used to not only process my own negatives but I literally manufactured film. Needless to say, I know my way around the darkroom. But there was a time, shortly after my twin daughters were born when. I took some newly exposed negs and was prepared to develop them. I wasn’t in the right mindset and, in retrospect, I knew it. Call it a lack of sleep or some other parental excuse. Regardless, even as a chemist who was trained to triple-check the chemicals, I first dumped fixer right into the pot. That was it. I immediately recognized the mistake and tried to wash them and reprocess them but it was far too late. Those pictures, and whatever was on them, were gone. No image, not even a latent one, was left. That was the last time I processed my own negatives. If it weren’t for a stash of film archives, I’d probably also sell my very nice scanner. I hear they are as good as gold these days.

If Film, what type of negative? I used to like several color films including Portra, Velvia and Superia. I don’t really have a favorite of those but my favorite monochrome is without a doubt Neopan 400 pushed two stops.
Is there a special time of the day you like to shoot or is any time good? Any time of day works. I find it more difficult these days just because I seem to be getting busier with both work and family. It’s rare now that I get to shoot street which is partly how I drifted onto a new project that I’ll discuss a bit later. My preference, however, is strong but somewhat oblique sunshine.

Why did you choose Street Photography and not another form of photography or stamp collecting? Probably like most boys (and maybe girls, too) in and around Detroit, I wanted to be a car designer. I used to scribble and scratch futuristic designs on paper. When I went to university, I began taking classes in industrial design. We had a field trip to a local Ford factory. What I remember is a visceral dismay of the industry where factories could easily replace Mordor from Lord of the Rings – shakey metal stairs in pitch darkness with flaming infernos in the distance. That was no place for me as some hopeful kid.

But as far as why Street Photography – I enjoy walking with a camera. I enjoy navigating the landscape and interacting with people, even if the latter only lasts for an instant. I also like psychology, sociology, and philosophy and maybe street photography juggles those three disciplines to my satisfaction.

What motivates you to photograph the streets? Even though imagery from street photography leans to a fiction account, it’s my wanting to understand people that drives me. While people tell me I’m a good writer, I don’t usually have the patience to put pen to paper. Taking pictures is quicker and is more descriptive for my purpose. It’s a bit like Slim’s Table, I suppose, if there are any sociologists out there. It’s descriptive. A variety of people come into this cafeteria and share what they have, even if only for an instant. Having access to so many individuals could prove to be quite daunting with any other method than photography.

Is Street Photography an obsession? It started as an obsession but now I have family so there’s less time. With children, I can’t carry as much as I used to. So now I want to simplify.
Are you a lone shooter or do you like shooting with friends or a group? I love to shoot with other people. I take people on photowalks all the time. Since 2005, when I first got onto Flickr, I was able to get a lot of people involved in trips to see Fred Herzog’s exhibits. I have children and spend a lot of time with them. So I’m not distracted by other people. Fortunately my wife appreciates what I’m doing here.

Favorite street photography city: Well, cities are exciting but I’m happy to be anywhere with a camera. I could be on a farm and still enjoy making the same kinds of pictures, although I’m an urbanite at heart. I would say, however, that “the city” is almost the problem for street photography because many people are taking the same kinds of photos that have existed for a half century or more. People are drawn to a certain edginess but I don’t think most people realize that what they are capturing doesn’t carry over well a flat picture. They’d be better off not trying to replicate what’s been done and to turn the camera on their own family and friends. That sort of access can help create a certain uniqueness that nobody else could replicate. But, if I had to choose one place I’ve experiences, Sydney, Australia has to be the most agreeable with the aesthetic that’s currently driving my street photography. But Melbourne is a close second – and they have better cafes.

What inspires your photography? Certainly the work of other photographers drives me. But I like philosophy, too, even though I have no formal training. Fortunately my wife does and so she gives me some guidance. That’s a dangerous thing – an armchair philosopher! Now that I no longer practice chemistry, I wish I would have concentrated in a different discipline, a field of study more pertinent to my current passion. But we can’t predict how our lives will move and being a scientist suited me then and hopefully now by strengthening my reasoning skills. At least, that’s what my friend always tells me.

What do you look for in a good photograph? Getting back to your earlier question about which prints are on my wall, I admit that one of the reasons I don’t have more is that I’m frightfully picky about art and design. The print I mentioned earlier from the New School keeps me coming back. I look at it frequently and I never get bored. Those are the photographs I want on my wall. The ones with multiple focal points, tension and questions. I’m leaning more strongly than ever to the “incomplete” photograph as David Alan Harvey calls it. The photo, which forces the viewer to add their own opinion. The boring shots are the ones that tell you exactly what you’re seeing and add nothing more. Personally, I’d rather have a series on the wall that rotates than a line of single shots. That’s why I wish photographers would focus on books. They are more complex. And, much more affordable!

How do you go about shooting a street photograph? I believe good photographs happen everywhere. I’m always looking around, keeping my eyes open for anything and everything. But I don’t have much patience to wait. 3-5 minutes wait is tops with very few exceptions. By waiting you may or may not get the shot. I usually just follow my instinct. For instance, the photograph with the five guys walking in suits. I was watching the Alec Sloth exhibit with my family. The space was nice and interesting. I saw the guys and followed them around a bit. I’m not methodical, but more spontaneous.

I want to be able to make a shot work in any place. I do a lot of environmental shots. When I do, I plant myself. It is like a game to get all the lines and elements together. For instance, the shot of the woman walking with the umbrella behind her is one of my best. That was a waiting game to get people to fit in.

Yet on the other hand, the shot with 4 people looking out the window in a highrise. It’s a view outside my window. It just happened one day that they all looked out the window. These shots can happen anywhere is what I’m saying.

When you compose, what are you looking for? It’s really about balance. My shots are less formal with regard to formal composition. Garry Winogrand says, ‘photography is not reality, it is light on paper’. I agree with him. It’s about the balance between, light, dark and color. To find balance, I often look at black spots in the shot as mass or gravity, or weight. I use it to frame light and color. They float within the weight of the frame.
Best 3 tips for shooting the streets:
1) Know your camera.
2) Wear good walking shoes. Then,
3) Take the train to the end of the line and walk home while taking pictures. Doing that last part was just about the best $3 I ever spent.

Best single advice on how to improve your work: My Grandma Mary (b. 1906) was told by her mother that if everyone was running towards an emergency, she should turnaround and go in the other direction. One day, I’m told, a number of people rushed towards the flames and toxic smoke of a burning hospital – to gawk. She, in turn, did what her mother told her and went straight home. As it happens, many people got sick from the fumes. Heroes aside, I assume that many of those people just wanted to watch the events unfold. But those are not the pictures I’m seeking. Gawking at what’s obvious can create obvious pictures. Sometimes just turning your back to the obvious thing will create a more interesting photograph. Think of those Olympic photos where all of the photographers were forced to sit in the same box and snap away for three hours. Trust me, you don’t want those pictures anymore than I do.

Best single advice on how to edit your work: You have to start with a theme. I don’t think a good edit can come from just pictures themselves. You have to have an idea. Again, Fred Herzog says it best:
“Who says I didn’t learn a lot from the movies? Absolutely. You know, what we put into our pictures is not a smart idea. What we put into our pictures is our whole life and our whole intellectual discourse. Everything we know and everything we have done and everything that’s in our history goes into every single picture we take. Have you ever thought of that? That’s how it is.”

Even a portfolio can have a theme. But you have to start somewhere. After that, find a photographer/editor you trust to help review your work. You can’t do this in a vacuum. Go and read John Dewey’s ‘Art as Experience’ where he talks about art and how a vital aspect of it is how the viewer interprets the work. A photographer cannot begin to imagine all of the ways others will see their own pictures or how they coexist. How many times has someone pointed out something in your own work that you did not see for yourself?

Best single advice for someone who wants to get into street photography: Get a camera. Get any camera that allows you to shoot without frustration. Making pictures should be as simple as possible. If you can’t see the viewscreen because the sun’s too bright or the camera isn’t adjustable to your liking, you won’t enjoy the experience and you won’t connect to the strangers in the street. Ultimately, you won’t make good pictures or a good edit. This genre is frustrating enough because of its inherent challenges. One doesn’t need a camera to make it more troublesome.

Also, forget about one hit wonders, grand slams and slam dunks. Those shots will come but it’s better to begin thinking of ideas. These can come from books, music, or other people’s photographs. The photo just represents the art but it’s not all of it.

What’s the best moment in your street photography career? Having two prints, one of which is A1 format, accepted into the Head On Photo Festival. I can’t wait til this Summer. If only I could return to Australia to actually see the print in the exhibit!
What’s the worst moment in your street photography career? Honestly, I can’t think of any. I’ve never had any serious run-ins with angry people. If a moment doesn’t go my way, I won’t get bogged down. Carry on, I say For anyone who has taken as many street photographs as I have, they know that even the shot’s that feel right often are not. You might suspect but you can’t know that a shot works until you have the time to study it. If one could really evaluate a photograph that quickly, it probably wouldn’t remain interesting for very long even as a print.

Also, I don’t believe there is any one single moment that needs a picture taken, barring maybe a wedding kiss. There are a lots of photos happening everywhere and all the time. The trick is becoming aware enough to your surroundings and then be quick enough respond. But if you miss it, there’s no reason to fret it – from a probability perspective, the shot probably wouldn’t have been good anyway. Like I said: move on.

What projects are you working on? In 2011, I spent nearly 6 months in Australia. During that time I was developing a project called “Flat White Short Black.” I’ve spent many hours thinking about it, editing the work and researching book design. I’ve made a few test prints and hopefully I’ll publish it by the year’s end. It’s a long process which can be frustrating at times. But also don’t think long term projects should be rushed.
Where do you want to be in 5 years with regard to street photography? Until last year, I mostly concentrated on single shots. While there are themes, I would like to move into more project-based work. I’m already going down that road as I mentioned above. I recently finished working on what I consider my most exciting work to date. It’s based on street photography but it’s rooted in conceptual photography. The idea is based on impermanence. It’s titled ‘Drop Out of Art School’. Schedule to launch on Strange.rs on May 1. The book launch is scheduled for June 1. There’s a bit of a teaser here.


Congratulations on your upcoming exhibition at the Head On Photo Festival. Are there other exhibitions planned in the future? Beyond Head On, I have nothing planned as far as exhibitions are concerned. But I have two books in the works, as I previously mentioned. That said, my home is in an 80-unit work-live artists’ residence. Along with a studio, we have a massive gallery that’s as big and beautiful as any private exhibition space in the city. It’s absolutely stunning. What’s tragic is that the gallery has been used maybe once in 12 years! I’m planning to change that. At our recent general meeting, I took on a post with the newly designated art committee. I can’t wait to get started! Even better is that I can use the space, not only art shows but, for photography education classes which I plan to begin this summer.

Leica Liker thanks John for sharing detailed thoughts and experience with us. We will definitely revisit him again.
You can check out John’s gear in Liker Bags’n Gear here.

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