In the early days of my photography obsession (which only began a few years ago, actually), I did a lot of street photography. I was heavily influenced by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson at the time. Nearly every weekend I'd go on self-assigned photo adventures in different parts of Boston. It was great fun and I learned quite a lot about the basics of photography (shutter speed, aperture, ISO). I'm a self-taught photographer, and back then I had just acquired a little Canon Rebel and a 50mm lens. I didn't know how to operate my new DSLR, as I was coming straight from a cheap pocket point-and-shoot. However, I was absolutely determined to learn photography, so I figured I'd just dive in head first. I skipped the auto settings and went straight into manual mode. I assumed I'd learn faster that way and I believe I did. The streets of Boston were my training ground. When I couldn't figure out why a particular image sucked ("Why is the subject not in focus?", "Why is there motion blur when I don't want there to be?", "Why is this image over/under exposed?", etc.), I'd get on photography forums and ask the more advanced shooters questions. Then I'd go back out and try to correct my mistakes. And that's how I learned, by trial and error...and pure obsession.
Eventually, though, I became bored with street photography. I wanted to be involved in the process of ORCHESTRATING and CREATING a beautiful image, instead of waiting, hunting, scanning the crowded streets of Boston until I found someone doing something interesting. So, naturally, I began the work of learning about portrait photography...fast forward a few years, and here I am now.
I completely forgot about street photography and how amazing it can be. The rush of capturing a moment that is real and true, capturing people just being people, human and un-posed, and documenting it when they don't know you're watching...is truly cool. I forgot about all of that until I got my first iPhone in October of last year. I'd been hearing of this app called Instagram, but I didn't get what all the fuss was about. I installed the app anyway. Initially, I just saw a lot of people taking photos of themselves making the "duck face", and tons of parents snapping mundane, uninteresting shots of their kids. And food, lots of plates of food. But then I started searching specific photography hash tags, especially the street photography, and WOW. I mean, the talent that is out there is stupifying. Intimidating. And so inspiring.
So I got inspired again by street photography and I became again the silent observer waiting for the perfect moment, but ONLY using my iPhone. It's so inconspicuous, a perfect tool for this type of photography. I can't bring myself to lug my big 5D Mark II and lenses around for this genre. Perhaps I'm simply not as fearless on the streets as I used to be. Or not as hungry. Or maybe I'm just lazy. But this is alright, because I don't mind the challenge of the constraints of the iPhone camera. The images from the iPhone will probably never be as clean and beautiful as the images from a full frame, gazillion pixel DSLR, of course. But there is beauty in the noise, in the grit and grain, in the imperfection.
I started an iPhoneography series called "Strangers On Buses" on my Instagram feed. I ride a lot of buses!
Here are some of my favorites over the past several months: