Hi Photo Rangers! My name is Greg Cromie and I am a photographer who lives in Melbourne, Victoria. I have always dabbled in photography especially in my art school days where I studied film photography and processed and printed my own images. I took up digital photography more seriously around six years ago and am fully self taught. I chose photography, and more importantly street photography, after personal tragedy and trauma saw me looking for a way to reconnect with the outside world. A way to get out and see the world safely.
Street photography allowed me the opportunity to get out and about in society and observe others and how they interacted with their environment. It allowed me, through the filter and I suppose the safety of the camera, to see that people continued to be happy. That love and happiness could exist around me. That life went on despite what I had experienced. It was like snorkeling on a reef and seeing the true beauty of the fish and coral, that you can only guess at from the surface. It proved to be a tremendous form of therapy.
Today, my street photography is more about documenting humanity and how it interacts with different environments. I am fortunate enough to live in Melbourne which is a very festive and culturally rich city. We have many open and also hidden public spaces that make street photography backgrounds and settings easy to find. I also enjoy my annual travels to Japan to photographically document its history, beauty and uniqueness. I spend a great deal of time in Tokyo and will shoot street photography day and night. I find the richness of its culture submerged in a brilliantly modern city fascinating. In these cases I am not just documenting how humanity interacts with its environment, but how I interact in the same settings.
In shooting street I personally use two different cameras. Let me explain why. My EDC or every day carry camera is the Fujifilm X70. This is a small compact camera with a 16.3 megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor and a fixed 18.5mm F2.8 lens. It comes in black making it stealth-like and has a flip screen so I can shoot from the hip if needed. This camera is pocketable and renders amazing images. I can shoot with fully manual controls given its design functions. But like I said, this is always with me. So if an opportunity comes up, I can take a shot. The second camera is my all purpose camera and if I plan to shoot street then I have to plan to take it with me. I shoot with a Fujifilm X-T3. Again a relatively small camera compared to most DSLRs but packs an amazing set of features and capabilities. It features the latest 26 megapixel X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and the X-Processor 4 powerhouse. To this I fit the Fujifilm XF23mmF2 lens. This tiny little lens is super fast on the Auto Focus, lightweight and when paired with the Fujifilm X-T3 – creates a weatherproof kit. Light, powerful and highly functional.
I am thrilled that Photorangers have asked me to be a part of this community and not only contribute from my own body of work, but more importantly to support and guide others wanting to get more involved in street photography. Over the month of February 2019, I will be running a new street photography challenge every week. Stay tuned for those posts and please be supportive and appreciative of those who are posting their first samples of street photography work. Before we kick off I wanted to share some of my thoughts and parametres around street photography. After all, you are photographing humanity. I look forward to you sharing your work as a result of the street photography challenges and please do not hesitate to contact me via the posts or via Messenger if you want to discuss this genre further. Happy shooting!
Greg’s Street Photography Tips:
- Street photography doesn’t have to have human characters in it at all. But, just taking a empty street shot is not the same thing either. Sometimes the absence of people, where we expect to see a bustling crowd, can tell a story. Or a single isolated figure at most.
- Street photography does not only thrive in the city. People that live in rural or urban locations can find opportunity in their local areas. Being at a local market, sporting event or even just wandering your main street on a busy day. You will find a story to capture.
- I always look for a narrative in my street photography storytelling. The scene, the lighting, the background features and the subject will eventually form an accidental story of that precise moment. Street photography is about being there to document it.
- I don’t photograph kids. Unless they are incidental characters in a very large group of people. I am a parent and I wouldn’t like someone openly or stealthily taking photos of my kids. Personally, if a school group is crossing my scene, I will point my lens at the ground and turn away until they have passed.
- You don’t have to rush out and buy a fancy $10,000 Leica camera to aspire to the ‘street photographer’ character expectations. Shoot with what you have. An old point and shoot or your smartphone will do just fine.
- Some street photography purists will insist you cannot shoot street in portrait mode nor in colour! Only landscape. Only black and white. Prove them wrong.
- If photographing strangers is too intimidating for you, then start off from a greater distance. Wait at one end of a laneway or alley for someone to cross the alleyway at the far end. Build your confidence with your skill set.
- Don’t be too rigid about it. Stroll and walk and get a feel for the environment, the lighting, the mood of the day. Then walk with your camera at hip level taking the odd shot. Build yourself up. Have fun with it.