Today, we were blessed with clear skies and harsh light. While in the middle of Bali’s rainy season no less.
Learn more about layered photograph compositions.
One of the values of Bali Street Photographer is
To See Rather Than Look
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I contribute and support a few online photography forums. I enjoy seeing other people’s photos. I learn new things, see new perspectives, and get inspired. I definitely value people’s constructive feedback.
Recently, I started to comment on a photo in a street photography group when I read some feedback that disturbed me. Here’s an excerpt from the comment that bothered me.
Unfortunately, for me, your image doesn’t really succeed . . . The man isn’t doing anything interesting.
Here’s an excerpt from what I posted about the same photo that was being critiqued.
Hmmmm, a couple master street photographers immediately came to mind when I saw your post.
Quite a disparity, yes? Almost opposite ends of the spectrum. If anyone says that your photos capture people that aren’t doing anything “interesting”, you are in good company. You are in company with master photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB), Saul Leiter, and William Eggleston.
If you love the mundane and banal, please share your links with the rest of us. Want even more mundane photography? There’s a whole genre dedicated to unremarkable (or remarkable depending on your perspective) landcapes–New Topographics photography.
Here’s my nod to New Topographics in Bali which I exhibited in Ubud a couple years back–Balinality.
Feature photo: Balinality or just another day in the life at Pasar Ubud, Bali?
Thanks for reading.
I always enjoy launching a new photo series. My goal for this new series is to share street photography of places outside of Ubud, Bali. A sort of Bali Street Photographer (BSP) on the road if you will.
The hero image for this post was taken last week (end of February 2019) at an open market at Car-Free Day in Surabaya. Car-Free Day is when the city of Surabaya shuts down one of the most scenic & busiest downtown streets called Jalan Raya Dharmo. This event is held every Sunday.
Surabaya is Indonesia’s “second city” and is located in East Java. Java is Bali’s next door neighbor to the west.
In this hero photo, I worked the crowd by blending in, going with the flow, and playing with layers of people & objects. Read more about layered photo compositions here.
Stay tuned for a dedicated gallery for BSP on the Road.
Above is an unconventional street portrait of a hat vendor in the foreground framed by a Balinese woman in the middle layer.
Want to learn more about artistic street photography? View the dedicated gallery on Artistic Street Photography here.
Updated 1 January 2019.
“Just as a good story should have a beginning, middle, and ending, so a good photograph benefits from having a foreground, middle ground, and background.”
~John Hedgecoe Emeritus Professor of Photography at the Royal College of Art, Queen Magazine, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer, Vogue, and Life.
During one Pasar Ubud Tour, I was asked, “How can I create more depth in a street photo?” My favourite go-to technique to create depth is layering–not to be confused with Photoshop layers.
So just like Mr. Hedgecoe says above, think about creating a photograph on the street that has someone right in front of you (1-2 metres), someone slightly further away (3-5 metres), and someone or something in the background 6+ metres away.
I found the best way to do this if you’ve never tried layering yet is to do what Eric Kim suggests. Kim will manually set his focus to 5 metres (middle layer). Then, pick a spot with some people passing in front of you at various distances and start clicking. This is when the magic happens. You should have a set of exposures with people blurry (first layer), in focus (middle layer), and in the background.
Pro tip: For analogue and digital cameras, set your shutter speed to at least 1/60 or 1/80 of a second and aperture at F8 or F11 so that your middle layer subject is in focus. For digital cameras, you can try setting the camera to aperturepriority with F8 or F11.
Above: Going crazy with layers at Bali Spirit Festival 2018. Reflections always add another dimension.
Above: An unconventional street portrait of a hat vendor in the foreground framed by a Balinese woman in the middle layer.