This week’s featured street photographer, Stephane, lives in Tokyo. He’s taken some beautiful shots in that city and has some great tips to share about how to shoot in crowds. Enjoy!
What drew you to street photography initially?
“I’ve been taking photos since 2006 and at that time I was a bit too shy to get close and shoot unknown people, but, occasionally I did, and the feeling was a mix of happiness and embarrassment. So I cannot say something drove me into Street Photography initially but, I began to live in Tokyo one year ago and for me, it was an error if I didn’t find a way to share the emotion I feel when I’m walking on the streets of Tokyo. Now, I use all my favourite gear (film and digital) to take snaps in the street.”
How would you describe your style?
“It’s very difficult to answer, I think I’m not the right person to describe my style. The interesting part is: I’m not a street photographer exclusively, this means I’m a photographer who does all kinds of pictures because my passion is simply photography and I don’t want to have restrictions.
The style in my street pictures may come from this: “a photographer who do sometimes shoots street photography”. I’m taking picture now very instinctively, with the background of the “conventional” photographer I am.
I’m not doing only Street Photography. I can say that all the street snaps I take are influenced by the editorial, commercial, and events pictures I took, and for sure, even if I definitely do not try to imitate other photographers, I always have in mind the work of Tatsuo Suzuki, Moriyama, Martin Parr, Walker Evans for street pictures, and lots of other references in photography.”
You are not afraid to take photos in a crowd! Do you try to be discreet when you are in a crowd? Do you have any tips for getting good shots in a crowd?
“Sure there are a lot of tips!
I’m not afraid of the crowd, and yes I try to be discreet. Here in Japan, only 2% of the population are not Japanese. If people see me taking a picture I have to do it very quickly because as they are too polite, they will quickly hide themselves thinking they are disturbing you taking something else in the cityscape! And very often they directly make a big smile and do the V sign with fingers.
Some advice chronologically: prepare the settings of the camera, aperture, shutter, etc. and think quickly about composition. You need to be very used to one lens for that, choose between 28 to 50mm because it’s average the human vision angle and this will help your brain to stick quickly to the lens, look very quickly at your “target” but don’t stare, and take the whole next two seconds to shot 2 or 3 snaps, now look at the person and smile. The first time shyness is your enemy, afterwards, as you enjoy shooting more and more, this enemy becomes just a minor side-effect, forgettable. Be prepared, some people will hide their faces, others do funny faces, etc. after all, it’s a crowd!”
What is your biggest goal as a street photographer?
“Biggest I don’t know, really. But one I always have in mind is to respect people, while I take the picture and even in the photograph, I will never share or keep a picture which doesn’t reveal a fair and friendly face. The only exception when people are sleeping, because I think if they are not recognizable the picture will never cause any problem.”
A big thanks to you Stephane for sharing your thoughts on street photography and your beautiful images. You can find more of Stephane’s work on:
Recently, Stephane has also been working on a really interesting project. Here’s his description:
“I use a Yashica 35mm film camera and stick a digital canon on it an record movie while doing street snaps in Tokyo. The feeling is very interesting because it’s as you’re in my head at the moment I press the shutter.”
This is an excellent resource for any of you newbies out there. It gives you a first hand glimpse into how Stephane takes in his surroundings, composes and shoots. Check it out here: