@streetphoto_bw: What can you tell us about yourself?
@365ken: My name is Ken and I am a husband and father currently based in Philadelphia. About seven months ago I lost a hard drive with most of my digital images. To say that I was distraught would be an understatement. That feeling turned into anger when I realized that no one would ever see those images. That experience combined with the fact that the only images I had left were on my iphone inspired me to join Instagram, which rekindled a life long passion for photography that lay dormant inside me for a very long time.
@streetphoto_bw: How’s your photography / art background?
@365ken: My father was an amateur photographer in Jamaica and ever since I can remember people have told me that he took the first picture they ever had of themselves. In hindsight that was reason enough for me to fall in love with photography. So the value of an image has been ingrained in me on many different levels. I have a Bachelors degree in Film and media arts but very little formal training in Photography. Before I moved to Philadelphia I worked in the Film industry in New York in a variety of freelance position. Some were creative some were just to pay the bills. When I left the film industry I really just stopped taking pictures and became weighed down with day-to-day life.
@streetphoto_bw: Your feed is full of street portraits and your edits have this distinctive feel. What’s your approach to street photography?
@365ken: My approach is pretty simple. See it. Shoot it. Edit it. Post it. I skipped the chapter in the Street photography rulebook that warned against over the top editing. Honestly, the term street photography has become such a loaded term. If you ask ten people what it means they’ll give you seventeen different answers. For me because I live in the city I shoot what is available to me. My personal preference is towards portraits because it allows for interaction with the subject and you get to discover the back-story of the person your shooting. I also shoot candid shots but I TRY to do it in away that doesn’t exploit their circumstance or show them in a less than flattering way. That said, I think candid street photography is at its best when it captures a moment that people can relate to on a human level regardless of circumstance. I should also say that I shoot a lot of candid shots that I may never post because I wrestle with the perception of the image against the reality of the situation.
@streetphoto_bw: What are your shooting techniques? Any tips of the trade? Do you ask permission for your portraits or are these candid?
@365ken: I’m still trying to figure it all out so I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling anyone what they should do but I would encourage everyone to take more pictures than they post and only post what you love. I’ve also adopted the mantra of @Unitedbyedit, which is “Don’t ever let anybody tell you what you can and cannot do. Be creative when editing and don’t let fear of what others will think stop you from posting what you want.”
The greatness of the iPhone as a camera is that it is always with you. So when I see something I find interesting I pull it out and shoot. I tend to ask people more often than not. There are only two answers they can give you. If you walk around with your phone/camera opportunity will present it self. You just have to be ready when it happens.
@streetphoto_bw: Let’s talk apps. Give us a rundown of your favorite editing tools. And what’s your shooting app of choice?
@365ken: When I started Camera+ was my favorite all in one app. I then started to use the native camera more after I discovered Snapseed, which has become a part of everything I do now. I recommend Big Lens to anyone that wants to give his or her images the DSLR look without the DSLR. I use Juxtaposer and PhotoForge2 for non-traditional edits. I have to admit that in the past I was a bit of a Photography traditionalist in terms of capturing the best image and minimizing the need for editing. But I’ve been really inspired by the creativity on Instagram and value the encouragement of many Igers who are willing to share their process for the betterment of the community.
@streetphoto_bw: Give us the scoop on that spectacular winning portrait. Who’s in the photo?
@365ken: Its ironic because this photo was taken almost exactly a year ago in Jamaica and is part of a larger series that can be found under hash tag #Jamaicanspring. I recently started reediting some of those images using what I have learned over the last few months. Even though you cant tell from the photograph he is a kind-hearted person who loves having his picture taken. He doesn’t have the ability to speak so he communicates through hand gestures, facial expression and his eyes. Obviously you couldn’t know any of that from the photograph but many of the comments I received have mentioned the depth in his eyes, which is really truer than they could know.
@streetphoto_bw: Could you name us a few of your favorite street photographers? Anyone out there that inspires you?
@365ken: I’ve always loved the work of James Vanderzee he is best known for his portraits but also has a great deal of street photography as well. Instagram as a community inspires me. In the analog days I would spend hours at the bookstore or library flipping through photography books for inspiration. Now its as easy as pulling out my phone and scrolling through my stream. I hesitate to start naming mobile photographers because I’ll undoubtedly forget someone but I admire the work of @magneticart @bradpuet, @eros_sana, @lafletcher @Magicmarco, @claybens and most recently @ampstacy. I would also like to thank @StreetPhoto_BW for what they are doing in the mobile photography community by highlighting Street Photography. Thank you, I really appreciate this opportunity.