A painting of me

Candid Photography and my old Ricohs

   21 February 2023, mid-afternoon

Self Portrait

I picked up an online course by Greg Williams, who does candid photography (of celebrities) that I quite like. Candid photography is what I enjoy shooting the most. I started my life as a yearbook photographer, and I suppose that is the direction I am always pulled. I was lamenting to Shima that I feel out of practice when taking photos. I look back at old pictures and think, “I shot this?” (The same tragedy when I read old math assignments from university: “this is my handwriting?”) I thought watching to this course would give me some ideas and get me thinking about photography once again. I find it interesting to listen to people break down their process and approach to their work.

Greg’s class doesn’t focus at all on cameras and lenses and that nonsense, but I noticed Greg Williams shoots predominantly in 28mm, a focal length I love. A few years ago I wrote about the 28mm focal length on my Format portfolio, and the sorts of things it lets you do with a photograph. All of my Ricoh’s are 28mm fixed lens cameras, and they have been my go-to camera for the 10-15 years. I don’t think expensive cameras or particular gear will net you better photographs, but I do think the gear you have ends up informing how you photograph the world.

Both my GR Digital II and IV do a poor job with low-light photography. The photos I get out of the camera often have off putting white balance and ugly noise when I shoot at night. I’m sure I could have worked to figure out how to correct that, in camera or via post-processing, but in the end the route I took was far simpler: shoot in black and white and use the fill-flash to light the shots. Those tiny flashes on your camera are simply there to blast the shadows out of people’s faces, so shooting at night with my Ricoh is all about jamming my camera in people’s faces. The depth of field on that camera is quite wide, between the focal length of the lens and the size of the sensor. Shooting this way makes the background disappear into black. You end up with a tighter (fake) depth of field, as the subject ends up being the only thing in focus in the photograph, more or less. The photographs are about the people in the scene, the environment often bleeds away.



Shima and Krishna: Dancing


This look ended up defining all of the parties and outing at Security Compass, but sadly those photographs are all private. You’ll have to imagine me and my old coworkers having fun.



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