Contrary to popular belief, I don’t shoot that much street photography by either time or output; it just appears that way because a lot of the work I do can’t be published for some time (or at all) due to client embargoes; and by the time I can make it public, I’ve honestly just forgotten or realized that the shoot was so rushed that I didn’t get a chance to shoot any ‘making of’ b-roll. Hence the large quantity of street photography. By a similar token, I don’t believe in a conventional definition of street photography; I think of it as something on the documentary spectrum but towards the end where you don’t have a set objective or assignment, and just record what you see. In some ways, that makes it more difficult because you have to make or interpret your own story from a bunch of usually discordant pieces.
Similarly, I’m usually equipped with a 28mm lens when I do this kind of work; usually in the form of the Ricoh GR. 45 (Hassy V/80mm) and 55 (D800E/Otus) combinations have also been tried recently. But only since Havana have I used anything much longer than that; in this case, the 70-200/4. Back story: I was in Singapore on assignment; a student requested an individual workshop, and I was using the equipment I had on hand rather than bringing down a separate set of gear. Why not? Perspective challenges are always good.
Though a good quantity of this set was shot with the Ricoh GR, I’d say even more was done with the D800E/70-200. And though it’s initially challenging to use because you need a lot of stand off distance and a relatively open foreground to make the compositions work, I eventually landed up combining elements of the cinematic style – namely OOF foregrounds – with layering and more ‘traditional’ street photography. The result is this mixed set. I can’t say I’m more pleased with the output from one than the other; I actually think the wide images feel more structured, with the telephoto ones having a more organic feel or interesting perspective. Enjoy! MT
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