Photo tech

The objectives of this blog (see My goal) made clear that my main photographic interests relate to people and intercultural matters.

Typically autodidact, I learned photography techniques and exercised them as often as possible beside my main activity. My robust intercultural know-how, a few workshops, abundant online readings, and regular shooting practice, constitute my main sources of creative and technical improvements.

Shooting interest and style

To me, photography is foremost a matter of vision, inspiration and social interaction, rather than the product of complex photographic techniques.

Before shooting, I pay a particular attention to light and composition. I can wait long until the missing element fits in, or the unwanted elements leave from, the scene. I also proactively prepare a given situation, if needed. For instance, I often spend time in facilitating the enabling environment for a good street photograph or portrait.

I better describe my shooting style as what it is not. I do not rely on paparazzi shooting techniques, such as hiding or shooting from far away. On the other hand, I only marginally look for fully arranged portraits. My people’s photography intends to capture the essence of social encounters to which the photographer is either a discrete witness or an active participant.

Witnessing social encounters, the photographer needs much discretion, anticipation and instantaneity to document elusive and decisive scene(s). When directly involved in social encounters, the photographer banks also on social skills to create an enabling and conducive environment.

Much of my people’s photography is made on photographer-as-witness mode. I like also to openly meet people of photographic interest, engage a discussion before shooting pictures. I rarely request for formal authorisation, while leaving room for declining the shot. In my view, the positive energy produced by the encounter often more than fully compensates the loss in spontaneity.

When I feel the moment is ripe, I am a rather quick shooter. I not spend ages shooting hundreds of pictures of the same subject.

I shoot mostly in semi-automatic (aperture priority) or manual mode, with fast primes and available light (no flash). I shoot often with wide-open apertures, as the resulting narrow depth of field helps creating aesthetic 3D effects in my photographic compositions.

My travelogue presents a mixture of colour and black-and-white photography. The latter are converted from colour files.

Black-and-white photography fits my fondness for simplicity, composition, and expressivity. It guides the reader quicker and deeper into what the photographer intends to express. While the colour seduces the eye, the black-and-white charms the soul.

The composite colour/black-and-white photographic approach is also meant to facilitate the reader’s two-way journey between a vision close to ‘the reality’ (colour) to a more artistic and subjective representation (black-and-white).

In recent times, my photography head toward black-and-white fine arts photography. I may revisit my pictures from a fine art perspective later on.

Photo gear

Between 2000 and 2006, I shot films. Posted pictures dating that period are made of scanned negatives. I switched to digital photography only in 2007 – first with half-frame sensor and later with the full-frame.

I have liked my comeback to full-frame photography, much less the volume, the weight and the technical complexity of DRSL. In fact, I was dreaming about a full-frame but light body producing high-quality pictures with simple functionalities.

End of 2011, I purchased a used Leica M9 rangefinder. While shooting with a rangefinder is a very different experience as compared to DSRL, I found quickly my own marks with the Leica M9. Pictures posted from November 2011 onward are mostly shot with this rangefinder body.

I rely now happily on Leica photo gear.  To complement my Leica M9 body, I acquired four Leica primes: 24mm, 35mm Summilux, 50mm Summilux and a 90mm Summicron. Those are little gems. Beautifully crafted, these lenses deliver astonishing digital files. Many readers of my travelogue noticed the distinctive light rendition of my pictures posted from November 2011 onward.

Post-processing

I shoot RAW files, and process them with Photoshop for Mac, enhanced with various Nik plug-ins. Black-and-white pictures are created from colour digital files using Nik Silver Efex converter.

Last updated 20/04/2017