Drama, color, contrast and what I would call a “cinematic vision” are just a few of the dynamic qualities Dmitry Stepanenko, this week’s featured street photographer, bring to the street photography table. Dmitry has an interesting outlook and some well defined thoughts as to what he looks for and captures out on the street, as you’ll see in our brief interview:
Ashley: What drew you to street photography initially?
Dmitry: Soon after I started taking photographs I realised that I am most interested in observing people’s behaviour, looking at their everyday lives and finding those little interesting moments where other people often don’t see them. Street photography gives me chances to do just that. I have read many photography books and was lucky to meet many talented photographers. All of them shaped me and made me want to constantly challenge myself when on the streets.
Ashley: How would you describe your street photography style?
Dmitry: Initially, when I started doing street photography I was under a strong impression from works of classic photographers (Cartier-Bresson, Frank, Erwitt, etc). So my early works have a sort of classic look with a lot of geometry built in, clean shapes and timeless scenes that could have been captured 50 or 60 years ago as well as today.
More recently I became much more interested in colours and shapes, lines and reflections and of course interesting light. More and more often I look for the interesting or “tasty” colours and some of my photographs became more of abstracts to me – combinations of colours and shapes with a human element and this gives a new layer of meanings to me.
Ashley: I feel like most of your shots are very dramatic with a lot of color and contrast. How do you capture this kind of scene? What do you look for when you are out on the street or what kind of camera settings or post processing techniques do you utilize?
Dmitry: Yes, as I mentioned, I am really searching for colours (and it’s not easy to find in London, believe me) every time I am on the streets. When I see a scene I try to figure out whether it has a potential and then try to imagine what would a good photograph look like in there, then I try to take that picture. All that happens in split second in my brain without me even realizing that in most cases.
To get deeper colours especially when shooting in darker conditions I often underexpose. As for the post-production, I don’t do that much. The one thing I do often though is adding some contrast.
Ashley: What is your biggest goal as a street photographer?
Dmitry: I would like to capture the world around me in my own style. In a way I am creating my own world. It would be great if people find my world as exciting to them as I find it.