All posts by streetshooter

As Minor White Taught…..PreVisualize!

There are a few solid ways to previsualize. Any street shooter worth his sore feet should know about this. One way is to SEE in your mind a scene and the image you want to make. This works from the memory section of the street brain. Your out there on the street and your street brain is recording scenes even if your not working them at this moment. Then you go to sleep and you dream about the scenes from the day. when you go out again, those dreams could manifest into a photo because you dreamt about working them.

Another way is to have whats commonly called….The Decisive Moment. Really what that is, is the previsualization that a photo is being borne right now, right in front of you. You must be prepared for this experience at all times.




I was walking south on 18th street just below JFK and I saw this window. Suddenly my heart started skipping beats….my pulse raced….I struggled to maintain my composure…..I was still over 50′ away…as I got closer I started to raise the camera….

I got to where I should be without looking at the screen….the guy moved his head in and out and everytime I could see his entire face….then at one point…..

his head was there and his face disappeared and….CLICK!

Walk By Shootings or How The E-P3 is Like The GRD4

I will start by confessing the absolute truth about how I measure a cameras worth. It’s not a money thing. It’s strictly a working thing and how the camera lets me do my work. I compare every camera to the Ricoh GRD4. Believe me, that’s not an easy task for any camera to take on.





One of the most important issues I deal with, with any camera is focusing and not focusing. Well I guess in a way I always focus but when I do Walk By Shootings, I’m in either Snap mode with the Ricoh, or MF with any other camera. The E-P3 has a few things going for it. One is that it writes to the card very fast. The GRD4 doesn’t….fast but not as fast.

That’s not a major issue and it’s maybe off base for this post.





Once you have an understanding of your focal length, then you must surrender the idea of visualizing the photo on the screen or finder. You of course will see the image in your head and you and the camera will make a collaboration on the content of the photo. So, it’s important that you have an understanding of your camera and try to stay in good spirits with it.


The Pen3 has a good interface. I use Fn1 button to switch between MF and AF. Then I use the RED video button for AF. Fn2 button switches the screen on/off. I then use the Olympus Distance Calculator. I stand at a wall and walk out to the desired distance, then hit the red af button to lock that distance in. Of course with the Ricoh, you just set the snap distance…imagine that…hmmmm

So like the photo above, I used f5.6 to get the DOF I want and then I just frame in a way I can’t describe and release. Working this way allows anyone to get close, even closer and not feel intimidated as most subjects never know your making a photo.





What I fing most exciting is the way the camera works with me. I know the subject matter in front of me but I can’t SEE the screen. The camera gets what I want in the frame and then makes the photo depending on my position. It’s very exciting. This is one area of street that I have fully enjoyed for over 45 years.





If you haven’t tried this kind of work, I encourage you to give it a shot. With digital cameras it’s very easy to get a strong feeling for the way the camera interprets your photo….

You then become a collaborator in another way with your photography. Maybe, just maybe…you’ll feel like naming your cameras like your trusted friends.

Go in Peace but go with a camera in your hand…..



When I Was Young………

When I Was Young………

I could eat 3 hot dogs and some baked beans for dinner…….now I get indigestion…..

I could drink a six pack of Bud and drive my car…… I get drunk and fall asleep…..

I could eat 2 boxes of Mike and Ikes… I get the shakes and want to puke…….



When I Was Young………

I used to hate color photos….now I still hate color photos but don’t care if someone else makes them….

I always wanted the most details in a photo I could get. I use Leica M’s and even the R’s for a spell. I used View Cameras and always processed my own film to get DETAILS.


Now I don’t give a shit……I just want to feel the content……



When I Was Young……… I used to dream about photos like this….now I think my photos are dreaming me…….

When I Was Young………I would be worried about this stuff….now I don’t give a shit because my Flickr friends like the photos……


Reflections could have many meanings. It could mean reflecting on ones work or maybe on ones place in the world.03-13-0018




Maybe it has different meanings at different times. It could mean trying to find or identify ones self.




Sometimes after getting lost in the society and the images we and others make, we get a strong feeling of misplaced identity.




Sometimes we look in the mirror and we don’t recognize that person looking back…….it then becomes time to adjust our position within the world we live in and help create.






Sometimes we just have to stand up and say to ourselves….this is what I do……

Sometimes I Just Want To Make Photos

I know I’m a little crazy or out there. I mean enough people in my life have told me that on a number of occasions.  Look, I’m a dead serious shooter. Photography grabbed me at a young age, 13 or so and never let me go. So I’ve always been very serious about my image making or work as I call it. Flickr has helped me loosen up a lot thru the past years. I mean I can post stuff that isn’t what I feel is my best work and feel ok about it. My Flickr friends are the best. I love looking at their work as much as my own. I love the comments, both ways. And….I really get off on helping some people out if I can. I do a fair amount of editing, C&C, organizing for those that ask me to help. I love that maybe more then anything else.

What am I missing?





I sometimes just want to make photos. I mean I always want, maybe need to make photos but I sometimes just want to make photos because I can and I want to.






There is a certain spontaneity that drives me and even tho most times I question myself before release…..sometimes I don’t pay attention to my own questions. I just shoot.






It’s like all this energy builds up inside me and my poor brain…. and a release is needed. The feeling of working without working is a very special feeling. It can be a very satisfying experience, providing one doesn’t get caught up in the trap of outside approval.








So, if your like me and your real serious about what your doing with photography……sometimes just let go of the rules you set for yourself, let the pure enjoyment of the freedom of making photos rise to the surface. You never know what will happen, you just want to make photos because you want to make photos.

If your gutsy…you can even do the proverbial cat picture.




The Esoteric Photographer



This applies to all genre’s of photography but of course my concerns will be Street. The world has many people in it. Many of those people are photographers. A good amount of those photographers are very serious about what they do. Some of those photographers are Street Shooters and some of those Street Shooters are very serious and some are not as serious.




So my point is, that a very serious street shooter is part of an esoteric community of  like minded individuals. These shooters are an international group with different cultures, speaking different language but….that share a common goal of working the street….wherever that may be.  There exist a strong satisfaction when another shooter praises your photo or likes it….




The street is loaded with mystery, intrigue, history and history yet to be forged. There is life out there. There are images yet to be found. There are shooters that are called poets of society, the street shooters. Street Shooters are Citizens of the world that record what the world looked like while they were on it…..

……..if that makes them esoteric….so be it….I’m guilty as charged….




This post is dedicated to my friend from Moscow Russia………..

All In a Dream, All In a Dream

New Years Day, or as we say it here in Philly…Mummers Day 1971. I got home from Nam Dec 23rd 1970. This is the first shoot I did to start the new year. After the day, I went back in my bedroom for a few months.

Mummers Day

I hate visiting my old photos. Sure I love them but each one marks a period of time that I’d probably like to forget. I’d rather leave those forgotten moments in the history of the dream world.

Someday I’ll click the shutter one last time. Then I’ll be a part of the Dream World and maybe I can find my Brothers from Nam that didn’t get a chance to be in this world….we have a lot to talk about…..

click….not yet……..!


Bottom Line….Make it Personal, Make it Count.

Don’t get lost out there. Remember what your doing and for whom your doing it for. Y O U !

There are many good shooters out there and many have a strong cult following. Sure, it’s nice to see the work but don’t ever let it get inside you. Don’t ever let it control what you are thinking or doing. If you feel that you are loosing the self, step back and regroup. Make images that are personal and make them count. Bunk to anyone else.

Once you are strong and find your way, you can deal with the pollutants others bring to your eyes. As good as another shooter is, he/she can never make a more personal image for you. That is inside you and it’s yours.

Now go out and find it………oh…take your camera too……!



It’s Not What Your Work Does For You, It’s How It Inspires Others.

Today is a marked day for me. Since 2004 I have been saving emails from web friends that I have helped in some way. Today in my Email I received #1000.

Look, I seriously live for photography. I love my work and feel blessed in a way I don’t feel I deserve. But there has always been 1 thing that excited me as much if not more sometimes……when I get to help someone and create inspiration. This recent note was from a female shooter, very good shooter that has amassed a beautiful body of work. She can’t see where the work is taking her and she can’t see the path she has traveled to get here.

We did a Skype thing and after a hour, she had a completely new look at her work. I’m not saying I’m a miracle worker, a teacher or anything other then a dead serious shooter that works from the eye, heart and mind.

The feeling I have now for helping her see the light is a feeling that I wish many could experience but won’t.


I made 2 photos for her to show how I think on the run….






You either get these or you don’t but the important thing to me is….she gets them and can now see the light….

I feel blessed for a minute………..

Staying Focused on the Unfocused.


Some of my favorite photos are unfocused. I’m talking like the Bar Shot of Robert Frank. I’m not posting his photo here because you should know it and if you don’t, go learn it.

What’s interesting is the lack of fine detail and what remains is just the needed detail and info to view. Does this mean that the photo has bad IQ? Maybe what it means is to be aware of the inverse square law that governs photography….life also but photography for us. The lack of detail in the image draws us in to investigate the meaning without interference.



So perhaps the critics that always know best and force the guilt of freedom upon us could in fact be right……NAH!  This comes down to INTENT again. The next time you look at a photo and see that it’s not as focused as you may like…..ask yourself if the DOF was wrong or the camera had shake or maybe, just maybe….

That was the shooters intent…..fancy that!