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Who Is This Streetshooter?

Photography has been in my active DNA since before I was 13. I started on the streets where I grew up in North Philly.
I wasn’t aware of doing Street. I had no idea others made images out there. I was a virgin shooter with little or no guidance. The camera and thus, photography seemed to protect me from the harsh everyday realities.
When I got drafted and sent to Nam, I carried an M4 with a 35 & 50 Cron. I documented my experiences and the change in my life. I photographed everything and everyone I could because I felt the  reality of life changing almost every second. Photographs captured and preserved the moment and I became acutely aware of the power of the silver image.

After Nam, I worked at a heightened awareness on the streets of Philly. I made many trips to NYC and other places to find my next image. Nothing satisfied my hunger like walking the street with my M4.
The street had taken over my vision. The street had taken over my life and it also granted me life. To this day, I am not complete without a camera in my hand.

We as shooters are blessed with the gift of recording what life on the planet looked like while we were here.
It is said that shooters should try to see as if seeing something for the first time.
I’d rather see something as if I’m seeing it for the last time.
Go in peace but go with a camera in your hand.

“As photographers we must do our work without fear of acceptance or rejection by others or by ourselves. We do our work because we must. We don’t define our work, it defines us. It makes us who we are and shows us the way to become who and what we strive to be.” dms

You can see what I see here at Flickr.

57 thoughts on “Who Is This Streetshooter?”

  1. A highly entertaining blog Don – I like your style of writing very much. It’s very much in keeping with your photographic style. I hate cliches but you don’t just think outside the box – the box was never there to begin with!

    1. Norman, thanks brother. I gotta say that they have been putting me in boxes all my life. When I escape I make photos…..

  2. Hi Don

    This looks like an interesting blog site so will bookmark it as I have recently got into street / urban photography
    All the best – Mike (Follow that Dream Photography on Flickr)

  3. Really enjoying your blog Don. Inspired to try street photography myself. Could you advise me on which camera to buy please? Would the new Ricoh Gr or the Fuji X-pro1 be good choices for a beginner? Something I could easy carry while I travel seems a huge plus but are these cameras easy to learn from? Thanks in advance.

    1. The GR is nice but the Fuji X20 is way better. It’s very compact, fast and easy to operate with wonderful image quality. I’d be glad to help you out…. Let me know….
      Thanks for stopping by….don

      1. Thanks Don. Your advice is very much appreciated. If your advise is that the X20 is the way to go, your photography has inspired me enough to go out and buy one 🙂

        1. Patch, The X20 is a great camera. It’s the only camera in 50 years where I enjoyed the zoom. When you get it, if you have any issues let me know. I love that little camera.

          1. I have a oldish Sony laptop, dual core running vista. Been using LR 3.6 with Silver Efex pro 2. Going to download your presets only need to set up a pay pal account first.

  4. Greetings. I really enjoy your insights and shots. I’m wondering if you would mind discussing feet. Sounds odd I know, but I’m a bit old and my feet aren’t what they used to be. You’re on your feet a lot…any secrets?

    1. Steve, I ain’t no spring chicken either. I wear good shoes and haven’t work sneakers in years, except in the garden. I’ve been using vitamins and minerals etc for a long time. That will improve circulation and beings that the feet are the farthest part from the heart and brain…they need special attention. My wife got me a pair of Black Walking Boots by Uggs, that was a great investment.
      Not sure what else I do but plenty of walking…..

  5. hey Don,

    I just stumbled across your blog through the internet wormhole. Thrilled to see you are still at it but I wish some of the old stuff was on here!

    Happy holidays
    John (emraphoto)

    1. John, friends find each other no matter what or when. Thanks for stopping by. Ya know I’d love to post the old stuff but newer stuff is more relevant to this generation of shooters. I will do some of the Silver things shortly just to keep you happy.

      How have you been? I’d love an update….

    1. Tim,
      No, they all live in the Library of Congress in a private catalog. I felt that many of the guys I photographed that died, their families probably not like to see the images so I never published them. Now that I’m older and so is everyone else, I may consider publishing a book as a tribute.

  6. Tim,

    I came across your page from your signature on a forum post from 4 years ago in which you mentioned finding a personal FOV. That piqued my interest, but a Google search hasn’t helped. What do you mean by that, and how would I go about finding mine? My quick guess is that you mean a personal FOV is the way an individual sees the world, is that right?

    Love your blog!

    1. Ben, it’s hard to explain in a blog post but I will try. When you frame a photo not looking thru a finder or screen the imaginary frame you see is your Natural FOV. Most teach to see what the camera sees and then move accordingly to make the frame. That’s more than 100% wrong. When you move the camera position you change perspective. Perspective is part of what drew you to find the photo. Seeing the frame in front of you BEFORE you raise the camera is crucial. One the camera is raised, it should be seeing just about what you pre-visualized. I hope this makes sense, sometimes I get off the thought train.

    1. Thanks and ya know what… it seems that this blog attracted another dedicated shooter.
      As far as the Nam photos go, they will be released in book form after I die. I feel that when I am with my fallen brothers and especially the one I photographed, we will all on common ground again and the photos could be shown.
      I know I’m crazy but that’ that.

  7. Stumbled upon this blog and what an inspiring blog it is!! I love your work and your posts. I recently got back into shooting on the street. I am using an XE2, 23 f/1.4 and 27mm f/2.8. There is something about the XE2 that I have been struggling with and you posts about the XPro1 nailed it down. Not having the OVF, I miss the OVF. I am now contemplating on buying an XPro1. Some say wait for the XPro2 or whatever but it’s the price point at which the XPro1 is now at that has me very interested. Might just get that 18mm to go along with it!! I look forward to reading this blog everyday, love it!!

    1. Robert, thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      The XP-1 is an amazing camera and I really loved using it. I messed up by using a neck strap and doing more damage to my neck and shoulders.
      The lenses your using are very logical and the addition of the 18mm will fit in very well. That was my favorite lens on the camera. Fast focus, small, light sharp, beautiful contrast and a great FOV for anything. Good luck and keep posting about your work.

    1. Robert,
      Yes, I moved from the XP-1 due to my neck issue and weight. Currently I am using the Fuji X100s and Nikon Coolpix A. I also have a Fuji X30 but will most likely sell it as I just don’t like the way it pulls me to the zoom lens and thus nulls the other cameras.
      It’s a great camera tho’.

  8. Powerful thoughts and powerful images. I greatly admire your eye sir. Wanted to have a look at your presets but that link seems to be a bit Out To Lunch right now regardless of which browser I use. Thought you would want to know.
    Be well. I look forward to following your work.

  9. X philly fotog, like your work quite a bit, friend of G.Krause, working on a book “the last draft”
    shot in Philly and Ft.Jackson. would like to get in touch..thx, ed

  10. Man! Like yourself, I did the Nam thing as a 1st Marine Dive. Combat Photog. Then was with the Philly Bulletin
    and the picture boss said that if I made it through Nam, I could do a thing with gangs and Police Boss Rizzo. I love
    the street. Now I’m 79 and struggling with digital but going back to the street. I really like your images.

    1. Maurice, Welcome Home Brother. I did the Bulletin and the Rizzo mess. Anyway, if you need help with the digital stuff, let me know.

  11. Hi Don, I’m a friend of Keith Goldstein. We were at SVA together. I’m ex-Navy Photographer’s Mate (1973-77). I’d love to chat, find me on FB

    1. Thank You Sir. Nice to have you around. Make yourself at home and any suggestions, let me know.

  12. Don Springer – I came across some shots you took of a “Vintage Japan Factory”, and would like to include them in an elearning class about quality management. The photos are really wonderful and fit in perfectly with the narration regarding Japan’s quality surge starting after world war II. Could you contact me about this?

  13. Hi Don, you should perhaps fix your home page: seems the featured image of your May 5th post is broken or something like that (big white space on my browsers).
    Sorry can’t find your e-mail address…

      1. may 21st, it’s happening again. you should make WP compliant images, my friend, and behave like they say you have to. or better not. 🙂

        1. ….yeah, I’m just a little guy so I mind my business…RIGHT! Noted and will attend to it.

          1. Hello Don. Sorry to be here again: your home page is broken and broken again; a few missing images dig big white holes here and there.
            For the rest you already know: love your way to translate this world.

          2. Thanks Reb. I went thru the post and corrected the blanks. Sometimes they happen on their own.

            Good looking out….don

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Street Photography Chronicles by Don Springer