Shooting Street Photography with film - Why I love it Posted On 16th March 2016 To Magazine, Technique & Street
People often ask me why I love street photography so much, my answer is always “you never know what you are going to come across, depending on where you are and sometimes that can be from minute to minute” let me explain…
Photography is my passion
I am very lucky that after a career spanning 28 years as a professional advertising photographer I now feed my soul teaching my passion which is street photography in some of Europe’s most exciting cities, often in areas people wouldn’t normally visit some of which can be a little scary if not a bit oppressive. I love these types of areas as it heightens your senses, the adrenalin flows and your pulse quickens in anticipation of the next shot.
I shoot in two ways; firstly I try to tell a story of what is happening as it happens on the street and encapsulate it in one image. You have to be quick and decisive. With this type of street photography preparation is the key, you have to prepare the camera settings, eg what aperture and shutter speed you want to use. I tend to zone focus in these situations and once prepared it’s then all about observation, observing everything and everyone that’s around you.
Humans are creatures of habit, you can often predict what is going to happen next so being prepared is so important. You have to be decisive and react quickly. (I guess it’s what Cartier Bresson called the decisive moment).
People fascinate me
I love shooting street portraits. I love to stop and engage with my fellow human being. People have always fascinated me, I guess I love people as much as street photography. There is nothing better than to engage with a fellow human being on the streets taking their portrait, showing their true character within an environment that’s not staged and without the use of flash.
I use various different psychological techniques first to determine whether to engage or not but once I have engaged I quickly connect with them and make them feel comfortable so that for a brief moment or two we allow each other to feel what each other is feeling, it’s a wonderful moment never to be repeated. When you stop someone on the street you really have to know exactly what you want to do with them before you engage otherwise the portrait just doesn’t work. Having an understanding of body language is the key to this process.
My street photography kit
My favourite lens to work with is 35mm. It’s wide enough to tell the story, but if you get close enough you can shoot a portrait without distortion. The objective is always to get close it’s the only way to feel and engage with what’s happening around you.
Film is my choice of medium, the reason is that it is totally immersive. Before I press the shutter I see the final print in my mind, working backwards of how I’m going to print it and before that how I’m going to process it, this all happens in a split second. Shooting film slows you down and makes you think more and gives you so much more than I personally can ever get when working with a digital camera, it just lends itself to the subject matter and for me is the perfect marriage. I never get bored shooting on the streets, there is always someone new to meet and always a great image around every corner if you know how to look.
Most of the images shown here were shot on ILFORD DELTA 400 PROFESSIONAL
About The Author
Keith has worked on advertising campaigns for blue chip companies including Laura Ashley, Barker & Stonehouse, The BBC, Miss Sixty, The Cooperative Clothing Company, Unilever, Hilton Hotels, Mars Confectionery, Hand Picked Hotels and many more. Keith has also worked with and been featured in dozens of lifestyle and photography magazines including Black and White Photography, Professional Photographer, Amateur Photographer, Digital Photographer, and Photography for Beginners. At the beginning of 2013 Keith became an Ilford Partner, delivering masterclasses to lecturers, students and competition winners.
Keith founded Keith Moss Photography alongside his wife, Pat in 1989 and having worked in colour for most of his career in commercial and advertising photography, his own personal work has always been in black and white using both film and digital. He has a passion for travel and street photography but in particular street portraiture and is now using this passion and skills learnt over the years to enlighten, inspire and fuel other people’s’ imaginations with his engaging street photography adventures.