Where are you from and how did you get into street photography?
I am originally from Hungary, and have been living in London for 15 years.
I have always liked photography, but it wasn’t until I bought my first camera from a second-hand shop, about 10 years ago, that I really got into it. There was this instant realisation that street photography had a lot of untapped potential. It allowed me to explore my curiosity about the world, and unleash my artistic side I didn’t know I had. As I kept revisiting the streets I developed a passion for street photography and it became a personal challenge to find and capture these ordinary, yet somehow unique moments. I am still driven by that same passion today.
How would you describe your street photography style? Also, what are you shooting with and what do you hope to transmit with your images?
I find it difficult to describe my style. I am naturally drawn to scenes that have a certain cinematic mood. I often find myself capturing moments of solitude in the vibrant city life. I am not sure how it became my thing, and whether it is a deliberate choice or something I seek subconsciously. I like playing with lights, shadows and colours to help make a visually striking story about the human condition and hidden moments of city living.
In terms of equipment, I mostly use an old Nikon D800 with a 50mm Nikkor prime lens. Occasionally I shoot with my 35mm film cameras and medium format Zenza Bronica ETR. I like both colour and black-and-white, digital and film photography. The choice depends on my mood and what suits the scene best. It might sound like a cliche, but to me, photography is more about vision than gear.
Are there any street photographers in particular that you draw inspiration from?
There are many. I have always been drawn to the works of Alex Webb and Joel Meyerowitz but I also admire the unique perspectives of André Kertész and Saul Leiter’s use of color.
Also, there are plenty of inspiring modern photographers like Lorenzo Catena, Valeria Tofanelli, and Gustavo Minas, just to mention a few.
You’re a pro at using artificial light in your street photos – especially neon lights. How did that come about?
That’s really kind, but I don’t consider myself a pro. My use of artificial light is based on intuition, as I haven’t had any studio experience or formal training in photography. I rely on my basic understanding of how light works and my ability to anticipate or previsualise the scene, which is a very useful technique in street photography.
I like using neon lights in my photos probably because of my passion for cinema. I am somehow drawn to those decisive moments with a cinematic neon-noir feel. However, it think aesthetics should only complement the scene and not dictate or dominate it. I keep reminding myself that capturing the right moment is more important than fixating on my visual style.
Where is your favorite place to take photographs and why?
I don’t really have a single favourite spot, but Central London has many interesting, vibrant places that are great for street photography. I enjoy shooting in Soho, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Chinatown, and the London Bridge area. I also like taking photos during my travels, and I’m planning to do more of that in the coming months/years. Even the most ordinary-looking places have got something interesting going on under the surface. It is all about changing your perspective and finding the narrative.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in street photography and how have you overcome them?
Getting up close to people is still a big challenge for me. Like Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” I think he was right, but using a 50 mm lens leaves me with little choice anyway. When taking photos on the street, I need to be able to read people, predict their reactions, and engage with them openly when they notice me. As a street photographer you need to be open to random encounters with strangers.
Another challenge is to constantly improve and evolve in my photography. Snapping single photos at random locations doesn’t always satisfy my creativity. I would like to create more photo series as they allow for a more deliberate approach to storytelling. I’ve only finished one series so far, which was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, but I’ve got some fresh ideas in the works, so watch this space for updates.
What is your most memorable moment or photo from street photography?
I captured this intimate moment of a cuddling and kissing couple, with their masks on, at a tram stop, on a cold night in Budapest. It was when face coverings were mandatory in public spaces due to Covid-19. It is a special moment for me with a simple yet hopeful message about human resilience and adaptability in challenging times.
What has street photography taught you?
For me, street photography is not just about capturing moments; it’s a transformative journey that helps me live in the now, and makes me appreciate the little things in life. It has made a positive impact on my overall mental health and improved my confidence and social skills. It has taught me patience, empathy, and to make an effort to see things from different perspectives.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Laszlo and see more of his work, be sure to visit his Flickr photostream. This photographer was selected from our Flickr group (Street Photography Magazine), where we regularly choose photographers’ work to be published in our magazine.