The Two Genres of Street Photography

Attitude - San Francisco - 2015

Street photography has become my favorite genre – after having gone through a serious period of landscape (including HDR) photography. Landscape is beautiful – you shoot from stunning locations – but the hours are tough (up very early before sunrise – and out until after sunset). Seems a younger person’s pursuit.

Street shooting prefers crowds – typically at mid-day. You can sleep in – and not stay up late.

But there are at least two genres of street photography. One is based on shooting with a wide angle lens (think 35mm). The other is based on shooting with a zoom (think up to a 200mm). They’re very different – but both can be fun. In May 2014, I took a workshop in New York City with Jay Maisel. Jay’s a proponent of the zoom approach. More recently, in June 2015, I took a workshop in New York City with Peter Turnley. Peter’s a proponent of the wide angle approach.

Late last year, after I signed up for Peter’s workshop, I decided to exclusively shoot with my Fujifilm X100T – a classic 35mm rangefinder camera. I came to love the images it produced – and it taught me how see in that 35mm format.

Today, for the first time since I made that commitment, I shot with my Fujifilm X-T1 with the 18-135mm lens. For some street work, having the extra reach of that zoom is just perfect for the street candid style of photography. But the X100T is beautiful for street portraits.

Both genres have their place – I’m going to continue to explore them both!

Rear Guard - San Francisco - 2015

Street Artist - San Francisco - 2015

One Reply to “The Two Genres of Street Photography”

  1. I also have the XT-1 with the 18-135 and a Ricoh GR. I find shooting the GR is more fun for me and most people don’t care about it. The longer zoom makes me kind of feel like I’m being too sneaky. I took Eric Kim’s class back in NYC last April and his recommended approach is to be open about it. People really seem to notice my bigger camera. Maybe I’ll play with it some more. I enjoy reading your posts.

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