There are no two words in the English language more harmful than `good job’
This quote from the movie “Whiplash” defines my philosophy, not only of life, but also, and especially, when it comes to photography.
I have to admit that street photography is one of the most challenging types of photography, and the reason is simple, you have to be ready to react at any given moment, you have to blend with the streets, you must be the city itself. Plenty of times you will spend many hours out there getting no worthwhile photographs, and it can be very frustrating. But do not give up, rather be a little bit selective instead of merely shooting meaningless frames just for the sake of keeping your Instagram updated. Be patient, upload your very best and – I’d say this is the most important – take photos only for yourself.
There are quite a few rules in photography; nevertheless you don’t have to always apply them. Rules are meant to be broken, but first, you need to know them, try to find the balance between rules and creativity. In the streets you need to capture a moment, and therefore it is necessary to organize the frame, so that the image will be clear enough to be understood. Look for lines, colors, lights and shadows. A simple wall with the right lighting and the right subject can make a drastic difference. Avoid easy shots, push yourself to go further, get those candid shots taken in a way that the people will stare at them, making the viewer wonder about such a situation.
And there is something important to be said – a black and white photograph won’t be more “street” than a color one just because the classics are in monochrome. It is all about composition, how to place the subject and its surroundings.
It is actually useful to look at someone else’s work in order to get inspired; but worship nobody, you can be as magnificent as any of the well-known street photographers. However, in order to achieve that, you must be original and have your own style that characterizes you. Be creative, take risks, make mistakes, follow your instincts and above all, have great fun.
Another point that everybody should keep in mind is about the gear. All I have to say is that I am using a second-hand DSLR from 2009, and believe me, I would never change it, ever. Any camera, even smartphones, can get that instant photograph. The way you see the world through your own eyes is what really matters, the camera is the tool to immortalize it.
Certain scenes in the streets only happen once, and you have to see them coming before they occur. I often hear people say that luck is behind the greatest photos, but without an observer, there would be no scene at all. You don’t take photos, you make them. Photography is a form of art after all.
The best way to improve? Just go out and make it real.
Victor is originally from Spain, but has lived in Vietnam for a year and a half. His passion for photography started in Bangkok using a borrowed Nikon D3100. He instantly felt the draw and since then has never stopped exploring and photographing the streets in his own personal way. Obsessed with composition, he’s constantly seeking shadows, colors and lines, a minimal background and of course, a subject in the frame in order to give that sense of humanity.
Victor’s work has appeared in Saigoneer, Eye Shot Street Photography, and the Inspired Eye magazine, among other publications.
He is leading our tours in Saigon / Ho Chi Minh, in particular Saigon On the Tracks.
You can see more of Victor’s portfolio here –
Victor Personal Portfolio