What drew you to street photography initially?
I was drawn to street photography from travelling, then seeing travel/documentary and street photographers on Flickr and Lensculture. I aspired to be braver and be more engaging when taking photos, like the photographers I admire. I still have quite some way to go though!
What city is your favorite for street photography and what are the pros and cons of shooting there?
I really loved Kolkata. It was not only friendly and easy to engage with locals and take photos of, but also it is a visual feast, with old facades (my friend likened it to Havana), and a vibrant street life. It therefore was very photogenic, and it’s story has not been fully told to the wider world, there is a lot to discover still in Kolkata. The only con is the traffic – watch where you step!
I usually ask people about a particular image that I like, but you have so many, it was really hard to choose. I thought I’d ask you instead if you have a favorite image you’ve captured and what is the story behind it?
I am always unsure if my shots have much value but the odd one I think is okay. I particularly was happier with one I shot in Tokyo, ‘Outside Looking In. Omidode Yokocho’. I was happy with expressions but also the tone, where I tried to capture a 1950’s feeling in this old part of the city.
You have a great eye for capturing light. Do you have a system for finding that perfect lighting or do you just wing it when you shoot the streets?
I am still a learner here, and I must learn to shoot more in all light situations. I am drawn to artificial light at night and to winter sun and shadows in the day. Throw in some smoke or steam such as at temples, or street food vendors, reflections and glass and I will get excited and start snapping away. I never really use a flash, I find it changes the subjects expression and the situation is less natural with a flash. Instead I push the ISO up a little and open the aperture and snap away. The images can sometimes be a little soft with an open aperture, but if I get close and get good focus it can work out.
What has street photography taught you?
Street photography has taught me to engage more with people when I travel, to learn from others more. I was lucky to meet Francis Harrison, an inspirational street/documentary photographer in Tokyo, and learnt that even the most accomplished photographers are always still searching for new stories and that their desire for new ways to improve is perpetual. I definitely feel I have much to learn still.
See more of Justin’s work on his Flickr photostream.
As a side note, we did another interview with Justin over a year ago here on the blog. I didn’t realize it at first when I got in touch this time. Check it out by clicking here and see how Justin’s work has been evolving!