#MondayMasters: Mark Cohen

Mark Cohen smoking kid

Welcome to another MondayMaster, yup that’s right we change the name from MondayPhotoPick to MondayMasters because alteration sounds better and it’s a little bit shorter which helps with Twitter. This week it was Yuri’s choice and he picked one of the absolute greats of Street photography, Mark Cohen.

Who is Mark Cohen?

Mark Cohen was born in 1943 in Pennsylvania, USA. The majority of his work has been shot in the two towns he has lived in within the USA including Scranton, setting of the US version of The Office (no pictures of Jim or Pam though). He is known for shooting with a very wide angle lens, up close, and using a flash. He usually focuses on the details of people and yet also has context (thanks to the wide angle) and manages to find interesting aspects within those details. He also posed people a lot in his images.
He was one of the first to approach images in such a way and as such has been a huge influencer on modern street photography in contrast to some traditional, shot from a distance while not being noticed.
I really want to pick up his latest book FRAME which is a retrospective collection.

My MondayMaster Pick for Mark Cohen

Cohen is another photographer who I could pick a whole host of different images to be my pick but I settled on his image of a young boy smoking.

Mark Cohen smoking kid

I think the main reason I like this image is the mischief going on here. The main subject looks proud and showing off, the kids around him laugh at what he’s up to and the contrast of the lollipop (for kids) and the cigarette (for adults) is great.
The colours are also bright and vibrant with the blue and yellow contrast in the two foreground figures. The flash helps to separate the kids from the background as well. Compositionally, I’d say that the main kids head actually has a tree coming out of it (rookie mistake) but I don’t think it really matters that much in this case as the depth of field and flash help to minimize that distraction. Apart from that, there is a lot spread out around the image which keeps it well balanced.

What’s your pick?

Why don’t you join in with MondayMasters and share your favourite Mark Cohen picture, or check out Yuri, Marie and Brooks picks.

#StreetChat Week 2: How Important is Gear in Street Photography

#Streetchat week 2 how important is gear in street photography

Today we held our first Twitter #Streetchat, a chat about “Why do you take photos of people on the street”. I’d like to thank everyone who turned up to chat including Yuri Rasin, Jeremie Gisserot , David Barrett, and Steve Dimitriadis. We talked about the reasons we take photos of people on the street and our interested in Street photography I have some of my favourite reasons that people mentioned below.
We also shared how we had got into street photography as well.

Highlights from #streetchat week one: Why do you take pictures of people on the street?


Next week’s #StreetChat: Is gear important in Streetphotography? How and why?

Next week we’re going to talk about gear, but gear from a philosophical point of view. How important is gear in photography and in what ways is it important and not important. I’m sure they’ll also be a little bit of talking about gear as well.

How to take part #Streetchat

A Twitter chat works by people communicating using the hashtag #streetchat So if you want to take part. Head over at 13:00 GMT on Saturday the 9th of April 2016 and we’ll discuss “how important is gear in street photography”.
We are also going to try out using Blab for our next chat. This is a video services connected to Twitter which allows a few people to appear on video and chat while others can discuss in chat comments. This might allow us to express things in longer than 140 character chunks and get a few different people’s view. This is an experiment so please bear with us as we try a few things out.

Hope to see you on Twitter

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#StreetChat: A Twitter Chat for Street Photographers

#Streetchat a Twitter chat for street photographers

Tl;dr I’m putting together a street photography Twitter chat called #streetchat where we can discuss all things street photography for 30mins-1hr every other week starting on the 2nd of April at 13:00 GMT.

When I started out teaching, I found a great online community called #ELTChat. It was a place for people to share lessons they had learned, talk about big ideas, share resources and be an understanding pair of ears about difficult parents [grrrr]. I’ve missed that in street photography, sure I’ve met up with some polish photographers here in Krakow and started random conversations with travel photographers (the Fuji x100 fan club is strong in Poland) But my Polish isn’t strong (yet) and tourists are just passing through.
I want to use the power of social networks for good and not distractions, so my idea is to start a street photography based Twitter chat called #Streetchat starting on the 2nd of April at 13pm GMT.

The way it works is you search for #streetchat (the hashtag we’ll use) and ask questions/respond for about 30mins (maybe an hour if the conversation is really flowing) On a predetermined topic. At the end of the chat, we’ll share ideas for the next weeks topic.

Topic for Week One: Why do you take pictures of people on the street?

The first topic is about your origin story. Why do you take pictures of people on the street. I’ve written a few of my reasons for taking pictures of people on the street here before but I think it’s great to hear different people’s reasons too. If you have written a blog post of the topic, feel free to share that with the hashtag before the chat for people to read and discuss. It will give us a few things we can start talking about before hand.

I hope to see you there

I really hope to see you on Twitter and I’m sure this will be useful and informative for you and many other people. If you know someone who might be interested in #streetchat, share this post with them.

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#MondayPhotoPick: Martin Waltz

A Berlin Based Black and White Street Photographer

Martin Waltz Charlie Hebbo photo

Today’s candidate for Monday Photo Pick is Martin Waltz, a Berlin based Street photographer who is mainly known for his black and white street images. I know Martin quite well as he was my master when I was part of the Arcanum and so with Monday Photo Pick including a few more modern photographers at the moment, I though he’d be a great choice.

A bit about Martin

Martin is based in Berlin but often travels and has some great images from different places. He is definitely not a one trick pony as he experiments with different style, crops, and variations in his images. The vast majority of his work is in Black and white as he finds it helps to focus on textures, geometry and contrast.

My Photo Pick

Martin Waltz Charlie Hebbo photo

For my pick, I selected Martin’s picture at the Charlie Hebbo memorials in Berlin. As an image it has a lot going for it, the emotion on the subject is palatable. The reflective gaze downwards with the defiant pen in the air which shows the will to continue in the same spirit and refuse to be silence. The girl in the background is blurred but shows that this man isn’t alone and the dark Windows add linear contrast to his curved hat and figure.

Overall I think it’s a great image and it’s no wonder that Martin has won a few awards with this image.

Join in with Monday Photo Pick

If you want to join in, share one of Martin’s photos (I suggest you go to his site at streetberlin) which you like (via Twitter, Facebook or on a blog post like this) with the hashtag Monday photo pick. And check out the other entrants.

Monday Photo Pick: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson valencia bull ring 1933

This week’s #Mondayphotopick is Henri Cartier-Bresson, who many consider to be the father of street photography. Bruk choose this weeks’s photographer as part of our circle. If you’d like to join in, write a blog post (or social media status) and share your favourite Henri Cartier-Bresson picture. Keep an eye out on Sunday for next week’s selection.

Who was Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is known in many circles as the father of street photography. He was famous for shooting with a Leica and 50mm lens in 35mm black and white film (not that colour was around back then). He founded Magnum photos alongside Robert Capa and others in 1947. His most famous book is “the decisive moment” which he published in 1952. The term “the decisive moment” became a crucial idea behind street photography

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

even if the decisive moment is a bit of a myth, the idea of a street photo capturing a moment of organisations of random form which create a beautiful composition is still key to street…[whatever street is anymore].

Henri’s is an essential photographer for all photographers to check out, especially for street photographers so he was a brilliant choice.

My Henri Cartier-Bresson Photo Pick

SPAIN. Valencia. 1933. Inside the sliding doors of the bullfight arena.

SPAIN. Valencia. 1933.
Inside the sliding doors of the bullfight arena.

My selection is from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s trip to Valencia in 1933. This image is from the bull ring and has a lot of elements I like in Street images. Compositionally, there’s a frame in a frame with the square window the man is looking through, the contrast of circles and squares is really appealing as well. The depth of field (usually I am not so interested in Bokeh) works really well here as there is still detail in the figure in the background but the blur adds mystery and helps separate the elements. That mystery is magnified by the light reflecting in one lens of his glasses. There is great figure to ground between the different elements as well.

However, I really like this image because it has elements of mystery, and it is historical and timeless. If you’ve been to Spain, you’ll know the bull rings are much rarer now and you’d certainly not capture a moment like this. I think this is a sign of a great street photo, a timeless image.

Join in!

Check out Yuri, Brook and Pavel’s posts, leave a comment below if you share a post (and I’ll link to it) or find us on twitter and share. [P.s. Maria joined in this week too]