ItalianBrother – Mobile Street Photographer – Define Your Style

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Don’t miss ItalianBrother’s (Dilshad Corleone) first column article for us, in this piece he asks what kind of street photographer are you, shy or bold? It’s an interesting debate and one that I’d love for you to continue at the end of this piece. Mobile photography does offer some excellent covert opportunities on the street but it’s not fool proof as you will discover in this excellent article, over to your Dilshad (foreword by Joanne Carter).

 

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© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Story Teller’

 

“Excuse me, Does the 73 bus stops here?”… I asked the old man, while getting closer and closer and with my iPhone pointing straight at him. He looked at me and then he looked at the iPhone and he rattled something about the problems on the transportation and some other things… In the meantime I was snapping him to my hearts content. Then I sat down and managed to have a word with him. He truly was a lovely old and strange man, who narrated me a Hasidic story of Baal Shem Tov. The way he recounted that tale was magnificent. At one point, however, he just stood up and walked away, he crossed the road as if he were a wandering spirit, with fast moving cars passing around him. He did not see them and they did not see him, and he disappeared.

 

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© Dilshad Corleone – ‘2 Winter or summer, rain or sun, hot or cold, I live and dream here’

 

On another occasion, on my way to work (I always take the same route every day, unless the tube is not working), I saw this homeless man sitting near the shopping centre. It was a cold morning and that day I thought to buy him a hot English breakfast and some coffee. While he was eating we had a pleasant conversation, he did not tell me much about him, but he said that he knew me, or better he’d seen me many a time crossing the road and passing in front of him. He knows that he is invisible to the eye of the stranger who don’t see the plight of the sufferers, and he was pleasantly surprised that I had stopped. After our chat I asked him if I could take a photo or two of him, he smiled and agreed. I see him every day sitting at the same place and we nod at each other.

 

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© Dilshad Corleone – ‘Pulcinella’

 

However, I don’t always manage to talk to my subjects, which is a shame, for I would love to know the story behind every single image that I take. I would love to understand what are the reasons behind my attraction to a certain type of subject, and to know about their life, but it is not always as easy as it may seem and sometime I just shoot and go…

Pulcinella, was taken in Naples, in a dark alleyway with very little light and buildings on both sides (you can see the tutorial on this particular photo: From conception to birth, a walkthrough of one of my photos in here). I remember I was talking to a jeweler about the history of the city and it’s particular vibe: Naples is an incredible bustling and lively city, its beauty and charm has been described and praised often. As they say, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori! See Naples and then you can die!” One can’t blame the Neapolitan for never wanting to leave this city, nor its poets singing its praises in lofty hyperboles.

But let me not astray! So, while I was conversing with this quite extrovert jeweler, my eyes fell over Pulcinella. His characteristic and unusual way of walking had caught my imagination and my interest, he truly was such a particular character, making peculiar gestures, hence at that point I cut quite short our conversation and, like a mad dog, left the jeweler and went for the kill.

Pulcinella’s mannerisms reminded me of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte characters, thus the title name Pulcinella. After taking a few shots of him, I asked the people in the area about him and they all knew who he was.An actor in his younger years, not famous, but he made people laugh. After his short-lived career, he started roaming the streets of Naples, playing his character and stopping at local coffee shops for an espresso. For each espresso he drinks, he pays for a second one for whoever comes after him. I think I have enjoyed one of those coffees myself!

 

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© Dilshad Corleone – ‘I Have A Knife In My Pocket’

 

Sometimes it can get dangerous, however. I had gone to Naples that day with the purpose to do an essay on the city. After coming out from the station I just wanted to warm up and feel the city, start easily, and when I did, and when I found my subject and snapped him, he seriously got angry with me and pulled a knife out and started following me. I ran as if there was no. That’s also part of the fun… well it is for me.

As I said it’s not easy, nor safe… But I love it! I truly love the feel that I get when I manage to see something walking in the streets that tickles my imagination, I love the chase, I love faking a telephone call and then looking at the screen as if I were reading something, and instead I am photographing My subjects. There is truly something special about the whole process, scanning the surroundings, looking for inspiration in everything that is around you, taking a photo that you already know it is going to work, editing it and then sharing it with the community.

 

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© Dilshad Corleone – ‘Untitled’

 

So my question to you is: How bold or shy are you? Do you keep looking every day? Or do you plan your photo shoot walks? When you see someone walking that has attracted your attention, do you get ready with your camera? And what happens if and when you miss, or the first shot has come out blurred or not as you wanted it? Do you follow or even stalk your subject? Or just leave it and think you might get another occasion? Do you run after him or her? Maybe by overtaking them and then positioning yourself in a better location waiting for them to enter in your viewfinder and then shoot? Are you an instinctive shooter or you look for and find the right background and then wait for your subject to complete the story? Or are you someone that uses blender like apps to fill in a photo?

There truly are no right or wrong answers, every one has a style, I am just interested to know what is your style! Try to answer these questions and let me know, tell me the whys behind! Talk to me and let’s start a conversation here!

 

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31 thoughts on “ItalianBrother – Mobile Street Photographer – Define Your Style

  1. Great piece! And fun to have a bit of insight in how you Dilshad takes his wonderful street images.
    What street photographer am I? I guess I am more of the quiet discreet type, stealing away shots from unsuspecting subject… I have the advantage of being quite inconspicuous;) Last time I tried to talk to someone in that context, it turned out to be a Polish fisherman on the Thames bank who couldn’t speak a word of English – or French or German!

    • Loved the Polish Fisherman.. still laughing!! the quiet and discreet ones are the most dangerous one!! they manage to produce always amazing photos, and I can vouch for you, I have seen your photographs and are absolutely fantastic, especially the one in the train!!! love that one! Frederique, thank you so much for your comment, and would love to go for a photoshoot together one day..;)

  2. Lucky for me, I have this incredible dog (@blueeyedcavalier), so when we go for walks in the park no one can resist stopping us and chat about how beautiful he is 🙂
    That’s when I take advantage and shoot close ups 🙂
    Otherwise It’s shoot from the hip or pretending to send a text message…

    • Shooting from the hip has its advantages: amazing angles, and love how the end results are! Dogs are truly great, they do call a good crowd… I just wonder if the type of crowd that my dog would call is the right one for me… try one day to take close up of people that are not attracted from your dog… obviously, don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable… but sometime, changing the routine is good..;) and let me know!

  3. Oh boy….. I am not so bold and tend to the shy side trying to capture the shot without the subject knowing. However, Dilshad, you encourage me to be a bit bolder and I love the reminder to strike up a conversation. I think much is missed in life but not doing so! Thanks for the insight.

    • I remember when I was given my first task… Street photography and then portraits of strangers… Really felt scared.. quite shy… and yet, I never had more fun than then!! I used to take buildings, which I enjoyed, but people are unbeatable!!! Never put yourself at risk like I do… I am just reckless, but try pushing yourself and you will see how great an emotion you will feel! Hey I am here to talk, let me know what happened!!!

  4. Great piece,
    I have never thought about the “making a call” type shooting I usually have the phone in front of me tapping away at the columns up button.
    I have hurried past someone to get a shot and also walked back round a corner to get my phone and compose a shot 😉
    k1ngy 🙂

    • Brilliant!!!! I like all of them, I will be posting some of my photos while faking a phone call, the last one in this article is one of those… It makes my life very easy… and it works..;)

  5. Great article @italianbrother. I think I get the same buzz as you do Dilshad.

    My phone is never in my pocket these days. I always have it armed and ready at waist height with my thumb lined up in eager anticipation with the ProCamera shoot button to see what’s around the next corner. Slowing down to ‘check an email’ or scampering ahead of the next subject before turning around to capture them when they walk past are my most common methods to make sure I get a good crisp image to work with. I never plan shoots, other than making sure I stick to the street as much as possible and walk rather than catching a cab or a bus. Tube and train stations on the other hand are a gold mine. Lot’s of wonderfully diverse and fascinating characters usually standing around (relatively still) providing perfect photo opps.

    You’re quite right in that some of the time you just know when you’ve got a great subject as soon as you spot them and the photo is going to turn out great, edit or no edit.

    Trying to capture ‘the street’ is an endlessly exciting and rewarding process no matter whether you’re on the busy multi-cultural streets of urban metropolises like London or New York or whether you’re wandering around some quiet leafy suburb. There are amazing characters and scenes wherever you happen to live…as long as you have your eyes open of course 🙂

    Dilshad – Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and insights. I’ll be following your column closely to learn more from the master!

    Cheers, Ian

    • “Trying to capture ‘the street’ is an endlessly exciting and rewarding process no matter whether you’re on the busy multi-cultural streets of urban metropolises like London or New York or whether you’re wandering around some quiet leafy suburb. There are amazing characters and scenes wherever you happen to live…as long as you have your eyes open of course”

      I wouldn’t be able to say it better!! and you know how much I love your photos!! and the conversation we have are so inspirational!! you have motivated me so much, and I thank you for this!

      have you seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_05ryiixg6g you will love it!! it seems made especially for you!
      thank you so much!

  6. i’m from Napoli (Naples) and i really luv the photo “Pulcinella” . It’s true , the man looks as Pulcinella . Great work: the pose is perfect !
    For the questions , i like go out without programs. If it’s possible i change the places, but i have my favorite locations. In the last period i use a mirror less with a 24mm , no zoom. This camera is light and confortable as a iPhone, but with more features. Perfect for candid street photographs .
    Raffamuffin

    • Se sei di napoli allora saprai!!! I went to shoot nei quartieri spagnoli and nella sanità… if you are around the train station be very careful of that guy, you will definitely, he hangs there day out and day in!!! be careful and do not try to photograph him!! Pulcinella was in SpaccaNapoli! brilliant! thanks!

  7. Well @italianbrother knows I’m not bold at all but prefer to sneak my images. I even have a special holster for my iPhone so that I can attach it to my pocket and shoot discreetly with the app sneakypix which keeps firing as I position myself to get the shot. It would be nice for all commenters to leave their IG name so we can check out their images. You can find me @gericentonze! Great article and looking forward to more from my dear friend Dilshad!

    • Great Idea of the ig names! never thought about the holster! brilliant, it really doesn’t matter what you use and how you take the photo, the most important part is the final version to me! if it expresses emotions you have succeeded! and I love your work!

  8. Great read! Was nice to get a different perspective of somebody else’s experience of street photography. Personally,I’m shy, I wear my ear buds as camouflage and usually blur faces of people who I capture out of respect if I don’t get their permission (and being very shy, I wouldn’t even have the nerve to ask them that question)!
    Keep up the good work and thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Thank you so much! the most important thing is to be satisfied with your work! I had reservation to go and talk to my subjects at the beginning.. but now I can’t do without it…

  9. A great piece Dilshad, me I think I’m gaining confidence as I go! I used to use the sneak approach a lot when I first started but now I’m pretty immediate most of the time, I see it and shoot it mostly, occasionally though you just know that something will happen to make the shot have that certain something if you have the patience to wait. I have also followed, though never ran – I’m too cool for that ha ha – after seeing someone I MUST get a shot of. There is always that great shot waiting to be taken, I may never take it but I’ll always keep trying.
    You know I love your work – keep it up and this as I say is a great piece – well done

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