As you’ve read in these pages, many experienced photographers have advised us to shoot what we know. Anderson Peron certainly does that. And lucky for him he lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Brazil is a very large, diverse and lively country with a rich street life. With his camera always in hand, Anderson explores his own world and shares his vision with the rest of us.
He was generous enough to tell us about himself and how he works using some of his on photos as examples.
Keep reading to learn more about Anderson Peron
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Anderson Peron. I was born in 1973 in a city called Ribeirao Preto and nowadays, I live in Sao Paulo. I have a degree as an architect and I’m a business man. My interest in photography started about 20 years ago. I began photographing everything, all the time: travel scenes, my schoolwork at the architecture faculty, family, friends and streets. At that time, I always shot with a Pentax K1000, which I still have, loaded with TriX400 film.
My interest in photography began before I attended my courses in architecture, but it was only during my graduation, when I saw some pictures from Sao Paulo by Cristiano Mascaro, that I discovered my real passion. This first contact with photos of Cristiano sharpened my interest in master photographers and their shots of life and public scenes.The meeting of two passions , architecture and photography , led me to street photography. I dedicate myself exclusively to the subject, and the city of Sao Paulo is my main object of study.
How would you describe your style of street photography?
I cannot answer that question because I haven’t, yet, discovered my own style. I’m waiting for the moment when someone picks up my picture and says, “This photo is by Anderson Peron because of this and that.” That’s my goal.
Where do you typically shoot on the street?
It depends on many things. When I am looking for the human aspects of the city, I prefer crowded areas, like big avenues or smaller crowded places, but when I look for buildings or just places, not necessarily with people in the composition, I try to map the areas and follow a schedule.
You make some very compelling street portraits. Tell us a little about how you go about creating them. For example, do you engage your subjects first, or shoot them first then engage, or do you engage with them at all?
I don’t ask permission to take a shot. As an exception, I occasionally make a signal that I will shoot but it’s unusual. I believe that permission kills the spontaneity of the moment. If the person poses for a shot, something will be lost.
What do you look for when choosing someone for a street portrait?
Basically, when the subjects are people, I concentrate on three points: facial expression, gesture and interaction with other things (people, animals, animated objects, etc)
If someone were to visit Sao Paulo, where would you tell them are your favorite street photography locations and why?
I would say to escape the ordinary places. As a visitor, I don’t think it’s good to simply look for historical milestones and tourist sights. If the goal is to insert yourself in the context of the city, run away from these places. They are already overused. I would say to look for a busy corner, or to walk through downtown, but always look for the nuances and for what happens in the shadows of buildings. There is where you will find the truth about a city.
What other types of photography do you enjoy?
I like all kinds of photography, but I have a special fondness for photos of cities, mainly in black and white. Maybe because I’m an architect.
Where do you get your inspiration and what drives you each day?
The challenge of doing something for the future of the next generation motivates me to shoot every day, year after year.
What do you do when you get the feeling that there’s nothing new to shoot?
When I get this feeling, I stop shooting because I believe the problem is me. There are so many things to shoot! So many places, so many faces, especially on the streets. If some days I can’t see this, that’s my problem.
Who is your biggest influence in terms of your photography?
I really like the work of Cristiano Mascaro, as I previously mentioned. I also quite like Thomas Leuthard (a Swiss photographer who traveled around the world shooting) and Rui Palha. Of course, I have also been influenced by such classical references as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and many others.
What is the creative process you go through to create your work and what tools do you use (camera, post-processing application(s), film (if you use it)?
For me, it is very important to the creative process to keep in my mind the feeling of being a “stranger in my own country”. I felt this in other places where I have visited and it was great. That mindset keeps my eyes always open to new and different things.
I use an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and sometimes a Nikon D60 body. My post processing is very basic, and can be done easily in many applications. I use GIMP or Photoshop. In Photoshop I go to the Black on White inside Adjustments and work on sliders, then some levels and I also use the sharpen and crop tool, as long as they don’t interfere with the essence of the picture..
What advice or tips can you give to someone who is new to street photography?
These five basic tips helped me a lot at the beginning.
1– Don’t be afraid of streets. Fear and street photography don’t fit.
2 – Do whatever it takes to make a photo: Shoot first, ask later. This goes for people and places.
3 – If someone argues with you about shot, just stay calm and explain your work.
4- Decide whether or not to be part of scene. Keep this in mind for the future because it will be important as you develop your style.
5 – Be discreet – walk the streets with jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers and a simple backpack for the cameras.
I have had my work published in:
Fotografia de Rua:
A Selection of Anderson’s Photos
Shot inside Sé subway in Sao Paulo. I used Nikon D60 for this one.
I was sitting on a staircase on Paulista Avenue waiting for some action. Suddenly those girls sat next to me. I was able to take some good shots from that position. Taken with OM-D E-M5.
I just happened to see that interesting wall. I took a front view position and waited for someone to pass by.
Somewhere on Paulista Avenue.
Anhangabau Valley in downtown Sao Paulo.