Photoessay: Amsterdam street colour

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Street photography is something I’ve always done solely for myself – there is no direct commercial application (though arguably some of the techniques probably apply to reportage). For me, it didn’t come about from following a popular trend or other external influence: I just wanted to capture the essence and feel of daily life in a place when I travelled; nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes we find a unique and fun moment or two; sometimes it’s a case of the locally familiar being unfamiliar to us – and therefore interesting. But above all, aesthetics and timing still matter. Enjoy! MT

These images were made during the October 2013 Making Outstanding Images Workshop in Amsterdam; I will be holding three more of these in Melbourne, Sydney and London later this year. Click here for more info, and to sign up.

This set was shot with a Ricoh GR, Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Panasonic 14-42/3.5-5.6 X pancake, and the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH.

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Best lattes in Amsterdam. At least that I’ve found.

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His and hers


2014 Making Outstanding Images Workshops: Melbourne, Sydney and London – click here for more information and to book!


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Those latte were good 😉 – still not found a better one in Amsterdam…..

    • They were about the best I’d had anywhere. I’m sure I must have had at least a dozen in the time I was there.

      • I agree. I’ve taken a few local friends living in Amsterdam there and they had no idea the place existed!

        Only a place local to me rivals it….the guy running it is a bit nuts on coffee and I think even travels around to get his beans as well as experimenting with different blends….

        (oh forgot to say another good set, Amsterdam looks as if it was a pretty good city for you when the weather was cooperating!)

        • Thanks. Passion – in anything – is essential to going beyond the ordinary…

          We did have a couple of awesome days towards the end of the workshop though. Great light.

  2. I have to agree not many get to shoot what we love and still make a decent living. Decent living is defined as cabriolet bmw at the minimum. Jokes aside, I recall Art Wolfe mentioning that he sees the works of the great artists (as in old masters, impressionists, cubist, etc) as he travels, walking the streets and tries to capture those.
    In other words, our art and graphic exposure affects our photographic vision and you demonstrate much exposure to the arts despite your age, most admirable indeed. Happy cny to you, whatever thats still culturally applicable.

    • That’s half the problem: I find myself shooting a lot of things for the money, but hating it. What I enjoy shooting has almost zero commercial value, and the art world is rather inaccessible unless you know the right people in the right places.

  3. “… Street photography is something I’ve always done solely for myself … ” Yep. Could not agree more …

  4. The first shot is fantastic, so many stories in that one photo, love the light. It looks like an entire movie in one shot!

  5. Wow, that first one is terrific. Great, great shot.

  6. Ming, your image treatment is just perfect. Do you have any online video in your shop that teaches your technique in photoshop/LR for treating images?

  7. I’ve really enjoyed watching this series!

  8. Great images. You make it seem so easy :p

    How do people react when you take pictures of them? I would love to take some street captures myself, but I always feel uncomfortable when shooting people without permission.

  9. I liked the first one. Great timing and nice composition.

  10. So many beautiful images in the set…. thank you!

  11. Awesome Set Ming! I missed the people in His and hers the first time I saw the image.

  12. Ming, something I love very much about your work is your use of “unconventional” focal lengths for street shooting. I see lots of sets of (often excellent) street photos shot with a 35mm or a 50mm, but it is quite refreshing to see wide angles/classic “portrait” lenses used in this way. Your photos remind me in a lot of ways of the work of Emmanuel Lubezki, especially your photos of people. You have a great eye for interesting characters and seem to always capture something deeply human.

    I very much enjoyed this set. Thank you!

    • Thanks!

      35mm just doesn’t work for me. 50/55 I’m warming up to, largely because of the Otus. But by and large my instinctive territory is 28/85mm…

  13. Great images, as ever a joy to watch. The last photo reminds me of a work by German graphic artist Klaus Staeck, titled “For Wider Streets, Vote Conservative”.. 🙂

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