Les Rues De Paris | The Streets of Paris – Part Two

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

– Elliott Erwitt

“Street photography is capturing the beauty in the mundane”

– Eric Kim

Street photography came into my life during a period when I felt creatively drained as an artist.  I had been shooting a lot of portraiture, working with a creative team in studio to produce images that were often pre-planned and somewhat structured.  I reached a point where this environment felt stifling, like the walls around me were drowning me creatively.  Discovering my love of street photography was like having my head pulled up out of the water;  like I could breath again.  I loved the lack of formality, the lack of a schedule, the excitement of discovering new photos around every corner and the ability to experiment as often as I liked.  The blank canvas of the street challenged me and kicked my ass, but it changed the way I saw the world and rejuvenated my love of photography.  I learned to look past the beautiful model or epic landscape and to appreciate the simple beauty that exists in every day life.

This approach has also had an impact on my professional work:  My wedding photography focuses more on beautiful, candid moments.  My travel albums, which used to be full of epic cityscapes, now feature street scenes and tiny detail shots that tell a better story of the places I visit.  I shoot more candidly during portrait sessions now, featuring environmental portraits more than studio work.  Even my landscape and cityscape photography has changed, as I often include people in the frame now to give a sense of scale and a sense of place.

If you find yourself in a photographic rut I highly recommend shooting in a different genre for a period of time.  It is refreshing, inspiring and will change the way that you see.

And, go to Paris.  It is a wonderful city to photography.  🙂

Cheers,

Ian

p.s.  Part one of this series can be viewed HERE.

Les Rues de Paris | The Streets of Paris – Part One

I’ve been fortunate to photograph Paris on many different occasions, most recently this past July when I was there to teach a workshop.  Paris is a city full of iconic landmarks of course, like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, but the truth is that I find the most joy when I am simply sitting by the river, when I am walking along the narrow cobblestone streets, and when I spend time chatting with people in little shops and cafés.  Every one of these simple activities has the potential for so many new experiences and new photographs.  I love that.

Most of the photos from my July trip have been sitting on my computer, unedited, for about six months now.  I’m not sure why I didn’t process them right away, maybe I just needed to let them sit for a bit.  Regardless of the reason, it has been a lot of fun to re-visit these images with fresh eyes.  They bring back memories of travel with family and friends, of working with wonderful students, and of a city that I will never tire of photographing.

This post is part one in a three part series that will feature new street work from La Ville Lumière, the City of Lights (all images captured with the Fujifilm X100F).  I will be back in Paris this June for another workshop, but until then I have these photos to work through.  I hope you like them!

Cheers,

Ian

I’ve lost my voice | The streets of Vancouver

“Most artists have experienced the creative block.  We get stuck in our work.  We beat our head against the wall: nothing.  Sometimes, it is just because we are trying something at the wrong time.”

– Lukas Foss

I can’t make the words come out.  I start a new post, write paragraph after paragraph, then delete it all and start over.  I have stared endlessly at this damn flashing cursor, trying to tease an idea out of my head that I want to share with you, but it just won’t take shape.  Not yet, anyway.  

Does this ever happen to you?

What is interesting, however, is how otherwise productive this week has been:  I have created new photographs, played a lot of guitar, delivered another photography presentation to a wonderful group of people and invested time in my book.  For some reason though, the words just won’t come out for the post that I have been trying to write.

Creative slumps happen to everybody of course, they are an inevitable and inescapable part of the process.  Sometimes I feel like the key is to buckle down and push through them, while other times I find success by changing my focus for a bit and working on something else.  Such is the case this week I think, so I have been working on a few other projects instead.

While doing so, I ended up in a Lightroom folder called “Vancouver Street Photography – Unpublished” and was surprised to find it full of images that have never been shared (other than the odd Instagram post).  Some were taken while teaching workshops, some during days of dedicated shooting, some in between meetings and appointments and others at completely random times.  It was interesting to look at these images from the streets of Vancouver, taken between trips to Toronto, Amsterdam, Seattle and Paris this past summer, and see a body of work that I had completely forgotten about.  

So, while I wait for my muse to return, I’d like to share some of these images with you over the next few posts.  I hope you like them.

Cheers,

Ian