How long have you been shooting street photography and how did you get started?
About 7 years I think? I got started because my wife bought me a camera for taking pictures of my oil paintings, I researched it for reviews and it led me to a street photography site. It was there I saw the images from a guy in NY called Markus Hartel and I was blown away by his photography. I researched other street photographers and decided to have a go myself. That then led me to film cameras and the obsession began.
How would you describe your street photography style?
Random, I just shoot what catches my eye, sometimes it’s a person and sometimes it’s not. What I mean is if anything I see interests me for even a few seconds I fire a shot. I tried to stick with projects but I can’t, photography is a hobby so I’m not really out to get a style but just enjoy taking pictures. Maybe that is my style – the enjoyment and freedom to shoot anything.
You get up close – really close – for a lot of your shots. How do you do it?
For close work I use a wide prime and any camera body I fancy using that day from Lieca to lomo. I try to stick with a meter of distance but sometimes I get too close.
You also capture some pretty interesting characters. Where do you go to find them?
They’re everywhere, you just need to keep your eyes peeled and get in the zone. Most of my people shots are in the Bristol area of the UK.
I saw on your site you have a bit of a gear obsession. That being the case, what’s your favorite camera/lens combo for street photography and why?
Yeah, I do have an obsession with cameras; I collect film cameras and enjoy using them all. For street, I have used rangefinders, medium format , compacts and SLRs with all types of film. I like to mix things up to keep me interested so I view my camera choice by light and conditions. If it’s a really bright day I might take Holgas out and if it’s dull I will take something with a fast lens. If I plan a more slow day, I might take a Hasselblad or if it’s an event and I want speed I will work with an SLR auto AF.
If you’re asking me to pick one for street it would be a rangefinder like an M2 with a 35mm lens. Why a rangefinder? It’s simple to use – just set and forget and of course, the VF.
See more of MJ’s work on his Flickr photostream.