How did you get into street photography in the first place?
Beginning in the 1980’s, I was a professional journalism photographer for about a decade. But life being life, I wandered away and made my way into the hi-tech world. For another decade the camera was sitting on the shelf, alone and sad, and I didn’t touch it. And then, one day, my daughter was in India and I went to visit her for a couple of weeks. I was ready to go, everything was taken care of, and then it hit me – I’m going to travel in India without a camera?! Me?! No! that cannot happen. I went out, bought myself a serious, professional camera, and from then on, I’m street photographing all the time.
I see you live in Tel Aviv. What is street photography like in your city? Any recommendations for visiting street photographers?
Like any big city, Tel Aviv is full of opportunities for street photographers. There is an everlasting hustle and bustle, there are beautiful Bauhaus buildings, there are the beaches and promenades and cafes and that’s just the beginning… my recommendation for visiting street photographers is to go out either early in the morning or in the late afternoon – that is when the light is at its best.
It also looks like you’ve traveled quite a bit. Where has been your favorite city to shoot and why?
My favorite cities to shoot are without a doubt Beijing and Shanghai, China. I travel quite a lot to Europe and I love the atmosphere there. But China? It was like another world for me. Another galaxy. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t stop shooting.
What is the most challenging aspect of street photography in your opinion? How do you rise to the challenge?
The best moments – and the best pictures, I think – happen when I catch an interesting situation and click at exactly the right second to capture it. The most challenging moment for me is to identify a situation that is about to happen, and then wait for it to realize, and then catch it.
What has street photography taught you?
I think that looking at the world through the lens gives me a special perspective. It’s like looking at it from the outside, from afar. So, this way I can be aware of the little things that usually one does not pay attention to. Like, a quick look between two people, like a torn shoe on a foot of a well-dressed person, like a hairpiece that is slightly off and shows what it was supposed to cover.
This perspective teaches me that we’re all human beings, we’re all alike, we all have an outer persona and an inner one.
Can you tell me a little about these photos? Are there any stories behind them?
Typical Amsterdam situation. It always amazes me how they live with these open windows, with the whole world looking in on their private lives.
Shanghai train station. Loaded with people. And then, that one ray of sunshine caught my eye.
In Israel, there is a strong movement that is demonstrating against government corruption. Every Saturday, for more than a year, thousands of people all over the country go out to demonstrate. In this demonstration, masks of the legal government consultant, who is considered part of this corruption, were handed out to demonstrators. And when everybody put on these masks, it was quite an amazing scene.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Eytan and see more of his work, be sure to visit his Flickr account. Eytan was selected from our Flickr group (Street Photography Magazine), where we regularly choose photographers’ work to be published in our magazine.