Marcin Baran, this week’s featured street photographer, is relatively new to street photography, but I love how he decided to dive into it thanks to a 365 project. Marcin was kind enough to share a little more about himself and along with some good advice about projects in the following mini interview. If you are thinking of starting your own street photography project, check out Marcin’s words of wisdom. You’ll appreciate his candid expressions about the pros and cons of 365 projects and social media. A small selection of his shots are in this article, but if you’d like to see how Marcin’s project, photography and personal style have evolved from the very start, check out the project in its entirety on his Flickr account.
What drew you to street photography over other forms of photography?
I am 32 years old. Camera has been always in my life, however I never paid much attention to it. I remember that years ago, a few friends told me that I have a good eye for photography after looking at my holiday shots. I told them “yeah, yeah, you are just being polite…”. However since then, I’ve started to think about photography from time to time. I’ve always been into observing people, situations and colors and all these things come together in so called ‘street photography’. So my main goal was to shoot what I like to look at. When browsing photos online my attention is always drawn by interesting city and urban shots. I remember the day when I discovered Marius Vieth’s photos and it hit me – this is so great, there are so many ways to take city/people shots, I need to do it! Also I wanted to make the most of the place I live in, streets and places that I assume haven’t been photographed by thousands of photographers before me.
I have a wonderful wife and son and my own small online business so when I started 365 project it was just a hobby, but now it’s something more than a hobby. About two years ago I bought DSLR along with some lenses and I started to shoot, but it was a drag – taking all that heavy stuff and hitting the street? Not a good idea. A few months ago I sold everything and bought small, light, well built point and shoot camera that would be a perfect companion for my street walks.
I could tell from your bio that you’ve thought about it quite a bit, so tell me, what do you think are the pros and cons of starting a photography project and posting it on Flickr or other social media sites?
When I started my 365 project I was like – I don’t need any attention, I don’t need others to look at my photos. Three days later I created Flickr account and started uploading my shots. Support, feedback and inspiration – these were 3 things I was hoping to gain after joining Flickr and I wasn’t wrong. Meeting amazing photographers, both amateurs and professionals and checking out their work on everyday basis gives me a huge amount of energy. I am always extremely grateful for any form of critique on my photography as it helps me to improve. I don’t have experience with other social media sites when it comes to sharing photography so I can only speak from the Flickr user point of view. For me it is the best place for my 365 project . Gaining everyday feedback and the possibility to contact some amazing photographers from all around the globe is priceless. For me, the downside of uploading shots on social media is setting high ambitions that appeared after 2 months of uploading. I did not want to put bad photos online on one hand and on the other I knew that it is impossible to produce a fantastic shot every single day. A 365 Project can lead you in various paths, for me, after just few days it took me to the streets.
What have you discovered about your style since so far, now that you are almost half-way through your project?
When starting my 365 project I didn’t have my personal style and I am in the process of developing it. I don’t know how much time it will take, but now I want to make the most of every single day. I want to capture city, people, moments and I am not limiting myself. When you think about street photography you instantly think – ‘monochrome’. I don’t like to leave photo in black and white only because it’s street photography. When I see interesting colors and lights I am more than happy to leave it in color. I am experimenting with various techniques, especially movement, longer exposure, out of focus, because it’s not obvious and I don’t want to take obvious street shots. I mainly shoot in the evening because it is the only time of the day when I have some spare time, however it’s not a problem for me – darkness is also not obvious, so it’s more interesting for me.
Do you have any tips for anyone thinking about starting their own 365 project?
First of all – don’t give up. No matter what. You have a bad day, you don’t feel like coming out and taking photos of some complete strangers? Well, I have those days, more often that you may think. Just go around the corner, take a shot from your window, do anything! Next day you will feel better and your head will be full of ideas.
Think about your project. Think about places in your city where you can go. Think about light conditions and people-environment interactions. When driving a car or walking a dog – look for inspiration, interesting places, colors. And the most important – take your camera with you, even if it’s your smartphone.
Get in touch with other amateur photographers who started 365 project. Follow their work on photo-social media. When you consider pros and cons of uploading your project online and you decide to make it – do it, and make the most of it.
What’s in store after you complete your 365 project? Anything in the pipeline?
I don’t want to make any commitments. Thanks to 365 project I develop my photography skills on everyday basis and I am focusing on it. After finishing my project I may take some time-off when it comes to photography… a week or two maybe. I think about creating series of photos which will contain certain colors in urban environment. I would also like to make a series of city long exposure photos. However, I don’t know on which path I will end up on Day 365, it’s all ahead of me.