Words, Words, Words.

As the title says

What I talk about when I talk about Candid Photography

The book by Haruki Murakami from whom this post’s title is taken from—not relevant to the topic at hand, but just saying.

Oh, candid photography, that type of photography that involves unposed people.

Recently, I’ve felt that when I bring up candid photography, this is what people think, and only think, of as candid photography, pictures of unposed people.  But this makes it sound incredibly boring.  Gregory Simpson of the ULTRAsomething Photography blog, which I’ve talked about before, wrote an article called “Fireworkzzz” in which he talks about taking pictures of things that “no one else bothers to photograph” at a fireworks event, such as people and their actions—unposed people—and not just more cliche fireworks photos.  A very funny part of the article is when he is riding the elevator in his apartment complex and strikes up a conversation with a young women.  She asks him if he got any “good shots” of the fireworks to which he replies that he didn’t take any pictures of fireworks.  The women becomes suspicious: ““Then what did you photograph?”” she asks him.  He goes through many things he could say, but because of the shortness of the elevator ride only answers with “people”.  She replies with—this is the funny part—“Yeah. I like taking pictures of my friends too.”

His pictures were far from that; a very interesting one is of a semi-circular structure with children on top of each end, harsh back-lighting covering the structure and the children in shadows, creating a new visual experience.  And it was candid, of unposed people, but so much more than that.  There was thought put into it; his photographer’s eye was well used.  The composition, the use of the rule of thirds works well, one set of children in one third, the other in the one across; our eye is lead from one child to the other, the curve of the structure helping our visual sweep of the scene.  From this composition and use of backlighting, content in the photograph is created, a new mysterious shape of this pure black thing.  The framing works; the large two thirds of white sky, moving the background crowd of people to the bottom of the photo, letting you focus on the structure and the kids.  Nothing extraneous is there to distract you.  This is a great example of candid photography, showing what it can be and what it should be, a sort of ‘playing’.  The well-known Henri Cartier-Bresson touted the “Decisive Moment” where elements would converge to form a moment,a scene, the photographer being there, ready to ‘snap’ it up.  Candid photography should be about this spontanaiety, this ‘play’ between everything in a photo, its content, composition, framing.  The also well-known Joel Meyerowitz says in a video that what you put into the frame (of a photograph) determines its meaning.  This is also very true; the frame is the photographed area, what is in it, what ‘plays’ in it tells something about the photograph.

Photographs should be about the balance of form and content, not a reliance on just one; this is what makes interesting photographs.  And this is why I shoot candid photography.  Not because I just like taking pictures of people, but because I think, through it, interesting photographs can be created when the people in front of you can be organized in a way that is visually interesting.  This is candid photography.


This blog

This blog is about photography, but is covertly part of this PLE (personal learning environment) project I’m participating in. The project’s goal is to create a PLE, an online environment, hub, of our interests. Now, I’m not very active online unlike others I know, so this project has been a sir of ‘big step’ for me because I’ve had to create this blog and a twitter account (something I never thought of having). It also made me aware of the way the Internet can really streamline things, like using google reader, which I also had to begin using for the project, to read all the blogs I read; I used to just bookmark them all, but now they are in one place. When I heard about this project, I thought we’d have all these social sites in a single place to be accessed, a hub, a PLE; that has not happened yet and I hope that it will soon.

2. _valerian



This is a blog I’ve recently been acquainted with from the author’s other blog, Tokyo Camera Style (http://tokyocamerastyle.com/) and it has interested me.  Like ULTRAsomething Photography, he sometimes writes about his own ideas on photography such as his photographic vision or at least what he doesn’t like in a photograph (1), which is still very interesting to read about—the personal growth of an ‘artist’.  He also frequents the many photo museums of Tokyo giving a great look at the huge photography culture in Japan.

(1) http://kenshukan.net/john/archives/2009/11/17/moving-on-but-not-away/

1. ULTRAsomething Photography


The Leica M2 (picture from Wikipedia)

ULTRAsomething photography


Many photography blogs I started to read seemed to be about the gear and techniques of photography. Now, these blogs also believed in the photographer himself/herself and the photographs created being of real worth, gear and techniques the photographer’s tools. ULTRAsomething photography also writes on similar themes, but also has articles written on more philosophical aspects, such as one on what it means to be a ‘photographer’ when everyone can be a ‘photographer’ (1) or on the fine line between a photograph and an illustration when many photographs are copiously edited, both in traditional and digital processes (2). He—Gregory Simpson, the blog’s author—also writes on his personal journey through photography like trying to take a picture that represents autumn in black and white (3) and about shooting at night and capturing the essence of night—not going out with a flash just because it’s dark (4).  His articles are also always well written: they are soundly written, humorous and engaging.

(1) http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2012/06/term-limits/

(2) http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2010/12/the-soft-grey-line/

(3) http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2010/12/the-soft-grey-line/

(4) http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2011/09/the-geometry-of-night/

5 (photography) blogs I like


I have to write about 5 blogs I like, all being on a certain topic (photography for me). And since I can’t think of 5 right now, I’m going to post 5 blog posts an then link them all here.





Hi, I’m Brandon (the author of this post, not the blog itself).  I’m interested in photography.  I hope to expound my thoughts.  Yea.  More coming soon.