The Interview. (by @andreclemente & @kypexin)
@streetphoto_bw: What is your personal concept of street photography as a genre? Is it just candid photo, a form of art, a social message, or anything else?
@docmigz: At first, my idea of a street photography was capturing moments happening in the street. As I ventured into this genre and followed other street photographers here in IG I realized that Street photography is something even bigger. Its a category that has a lot of sub-categories like street portraiture-both candid and not, urban landscape, photo-journalistic, documentary, and sometimes a bit of travel-like kind of photography, and combination of one or more. Now I think street photography doesn’t have to be exclusively on the street but anything that pertains to our daily life or activity such as in our home, school, office, and even churches.
@streetphoto_bw: Since I started shooting street, I’ve been dying to go back home to document the Philippines. The average Filipino, despite living in awful conditions, the poverty, always remain kind and humble and hospitable. How is it shooting street over there? How intimate do you get with your subjects?
@docmigz: As you may have noticed in my style, I shoot candid portraiture most of the time. I am one of those proponents for candid shoot as this will capture a moment without being distracted, suspicious, shy, or just disturbed. I once tried using a DSLR and every time I raise my camera and point at them they just reacted and I don’t get that RAW moment that I wanted. I shoot a lot in my very small hometown wherein just carrying a DSLR camera will get their attention as this is something they don’t see everyday. If I point a camera in an adult they would raise their hand to cover their faces because they are ashamed, and if I point it to kids they would quickly gather around and “pose”. I don’t like that so that’s why I’m into shoot-from-the-hip style with my iPhone. I usually get closer to my subject sometimes almost in-your-face distance just to get a nice tight portrait without being noticed. But I’m not like others who gets into a conversation with their subject. Not because I don’t want to but because I don’t have the courage and maybe time also.
@streetphoto_bw: You’ve had your share of gut wrenching photos… A man sleeping on the street with his infant child. A toddler feeding his baby sister, lying naked on the street. Do you have any inhibitions of taking photos of these scenes? Do you feel like there is a line which you don’t want to cross as a photographer or are you more compelled to find graphic scenes like this? (personally I love them).
@docmigz: That’s a good question. Lately yes, I have inhibitions taking these kinds of photos. In fact those photos you mentioned and other similar once were a bit old already ’cause I didn’t want them posted. I have read a few articles about street photography when I started into these genre and some street photographer (forgot their names) discourages taking these kinds of scene because it can become a form of exploitation. I am cautious about this, in fact I even mentioned my apprehension in posting that child feeding his younger brother photo in the first comment because I wasn’t really sure if I was exploiting their misery to get a “good photo” or not. At the end I think it will be the reader who will judge whether it is art or exploitation. Right now as much as possible I’ll try to avoid these kind of depressing images. Some other personal inhibitions for me are also random children although at times it’s hard not to. Lately also I’m avoiding photographing children, and If I do I would edit the photo in such a way their identity is protected.
@streetphoto_bw: Your photos editing has very distinct look and feel. What are your favourite techniques and apps for editing photos? Did you discovered them all yourself or were you inspired by some style you’ve seen before?
@docmigz: One of the IGers who really inspired me in street portraiture is @cachafaz or Pachi Tamer. I love his street photos. His work revolves around a particular edit for the whole series and that’s when I decided it’s best that way. Thinking how you would edit a photo is really time consuming so it makes sense to develop a particular edit all through-out. That’s when I’m experimenting my own preset edit for my series as well. For my earlier series called “The Security Guard” I used the “Noir” kind of editing, then for “The Strip” series I used a bleach-by-pass kind of editing, then went for sepia toned edit in my “Street Vendor” series until finally my latest “Into The Street Series” which I like the most. I used to use both Filterstorm and Snapseed in my earlier series but I got tired jumping from one app to another so now I’m sticking with Filterstorm solely. In my early days in IG whenever I see a good edit I always ask what app they were using and there were many who mentioned Filterstorm so I tried it. At first it was difficult but I persisted and learned about it in time.
@streetphoto_bw: Why do you choose black and white representation of your work and also kind of ‘noir’ style? Actually we are all here about b&w photography, but I am intersted how did you come to black and white personally and why?
@docmigz: Frankly speaking, I got into BW because I thought that is part of the definition or requisite of a street photography. Anyway, when I browsed some of the BW artists in the IG the gallery just looked gorgeous. They seem to have more life. When you look at them there were right, you are not distracted from the colors and can look straightly into the subject.
@streetphoto_bw: Do you shoot spontaneously, or go out regularly on purpose, having a specific plan? Do you shoot only with iPhone or also with a camera?
@docmigz: I shoot both spontaneously and during my own photowalk. Nowadays, I have an excuse to just go to a place walking like going into the bank rather than by car so to get a chance to do street photography. Every now and then I do photowalk on my own in my small hometown in a street I called the strip. When my photo bank is start to deplete then I go out to replenish my album. My street photography are almost exclusively done by my iPhone. I do have a few street photos from my DSLR but I’m not posting them in IG as I am trying to keep IG solely for iPhoneography while photos taken with my Canon in 500px. But I have to admit I am itching already to create another account for my DSLR photos as others are doing.
@streetphoto_bw: Are there any classic photographers which inspire you and which you are learning from? Could you name some of the inspirational names?
@docmigz: There is one: Vivian Maier. Her work is so damn good. If you haven’t heard about her that’s because she was just recently discovered. I have first heard of her in CNN when a guy discovered hundreds of undeveloped films in an attic and when he developed it he was stunned at her work. I just also recently saw some of her work when someone posted it in google+ and truly a genius she is.
@streetphoto_bw: Speaking about someone’s photographs, people would say, ‘This is a good photo’, or ‘This is perfect’, or ‘This is inspiring’ or ‘This made me laugh’, and so on. When I first saw your photos, I was actually stunned with depth of characters on them, with mood and sometimes rather graphic images going to the limits. What is the ‘perfect photograph’ for you personally? I mean the one which you could say about, ‘Yes, I have took the perfect photo finally’?
@docmigz: It’s really hard to define the ‘perfect photograph’ especially in the realm of street photography because the the genre is just too broad. I have an idea of some of the elements that would make to but some of the ingredients is just hard to define. It’s definitely both from the subject perspective and the technical aspects like light of the photo. The perfect photo also depends from whom’s perspective. It’s something you cannot define but can only feel when you look at it. An example of a perfect photo for me was my #the_joy_of_a_father photo. When I look at it I get emotional and proud to be a father. You can probably mention some of the technical aspect but in general it’s about how you feel about the photo that makes it perfect, even not in technical details.
@streetphoto_bw: What photographic genres which you haven’t tried before you would like to work in the future, in case you have that possibility?
@docmigz: I would like to try Underwater photography. My hometown has lots of beautiful places you can do this like there is a sanctuary of stingless jellyfish. I just recently went home in my hometown and went Island hopping with my cousins and I am constantly imagining underwater photo ops.
@streetphoto_bw: How much time do you usually spend on Instagram? What did you learn from Instagram as a social network and specifically, from streetphoto_bw community?
@docmigz: A lot haha. I have wi-fi in my office so I checked my feed and galleries from there. And a lot of our malls here have a free wi-fi so again I checked and browse others work. I have learned so much from my friends unique and different style in street photography. As a social network I also learned how things work and what others are doing to get many followers (no I am not doing what they did like follow-unfollow, follow-for-follow, etc). The streetphoto_bw has taught me to love this genre even more. The community has not only provided me with vast resources of awesome work to learn and inspired from but also a place to meet wonderful friends and teachers.
Thank you very much @streetphoto_bw team, streetphoto_bw community, @gmystudio, and friends.