That Candid Look

that candid look

Street photography is certainly one of the most challenging forms of photography out there. So capturing a captivating image on the street gives me a particularly rewarding sentiment. I’m especially happy with this shot. I just love the look he’s giving. It’s sincerely candid, and I hope you all enjoy it.

Canon AE-1 / Canon 50mm F1.8 lens / Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to ISO 1600 / D76 development in the darkroom / Anseong, South Korea © Patrick Bresnahan

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17 thoughts on “That Candid Look

    • Thank you kindly. I opened up the aperture to around F2.8 for this shot. The man was softly illuminated by a store shop near by, so there was a bit of available light. If you look closely at the background, in the out of focus areas, you’ll note some tangible grain : )

      • Do you suppose the image would be stronger with more grain? I suppose it’s a matter of taste, but I’d like to know what you think : )

        I’ve developed grainier rolls of Tri-X ( or Tmax 400, Kentmere 400, etc. ) in the past. This was largely due to warmer developing temperatures and more frequent / longer periods of agitation.

        By far the grainiest black and white films I’ve had the pleasure of shooting would be Tmax 3200 or Ilford Delta 3200.

        Anyhow, thanks for the comment and I’m happy to check out your blog ~

      • I believe the level of visual grain is a personal choice and speaks to what you are intending for the photograph. In my person opinion the strength of the image comes from the composition (rule of thirds), spontaneity and reaction of subject to being captured. For those of us who no long shoot using film, postproduction software allows us to select presets that make images look more film generated based on type and processing. That seems a bit ironic but gives the flexibility desired by some.
        Ansel Adams images are what many consider some of the best in the world. He admits in his writing that his skill in the darkroom made it possible to turn well composed negatives into excellent prints. Although I’ve only scanned them I would recommend reading three technical books he wrote, “The Camera”, “The Negative” and “The Print.”

      • Yes, thanks for the reading recommendations! It’s true that Adams was a master of the darkroom. I love printing in the darkroom. It’s always a challenge, but so rewarding when a print comes out just right : )

  1. I’m still a bit scared of street photography. I always go out with my camera, but then I get extremely self conscious about taking pictures of other people. That aside, this is an awesome shot.

    • I’ve definitely had cold feet and felt too timid to shoot. But I feel genuinely interested in capturing daily life. Just that curiosity helps me overcome the nerves a bit and just shoot. It gets easier, especially after you take a shot or two, smile and chat with the person. I didn’t mention it in the post above, but after taking this snap, the guy obviously noticed me ( I was standing right beside him, no zoom lens here ^^ ) and we fired up a small conversation. I just told him in Korean that he had a cool look, and I showed him that I was interested in photography by telling him that it was black and white film and that I’d develop it in the darkroom. He was pleased, asked me where I was from, and I went on to shoot a few more pictures of him as he smoked. Yet, the first shot, the one above, was the candid one. It was clearly the best since he had his guard down so to speak; he was being himself, in his own thoughts at that moment. There’s this near invisible emotion in the other photos. He’s looking far off in the distance and sort of putting on a slightly stoic pose. In essence, he knows he’s being photographed and that fact somehow shows in the image. Anyhow, that’s why I don’t typically ask someone before I take their photo – I just shoot and smile and be kind and try to not put off any bad vibe that I’m doing anything shady – because I’m not. People are fascinating, and I simply want to capture them. The will to do that ( plus being bummed out when NOT getting a good photo on the street due to timidity ) is what ultimately drives me to get over my self consciousness and just shoot. And besides, I’ve upset very few people when taking photos and when that has happened I was able to calmly explain my interest and get them to chill. So you’ve got very little to fear! Give it a go : ) And oh, one last thing that helped me get over my shyness was using a Rolleiflex. It’s a twin lens camera that you hold at your waist and look down into when shooting. It’s very discrete and I still take it out street shooting often. The shot above was taken with a 35mm SLR, so I was holding it at eye level. Either way, don’t worry too much about gear, just get out there, relax, and shoot and smile : )

      • Wow, thank you so much for this reply. I know that people are rarely offended by a photograph of them on the street, but I’m still working on removing the mental block. I try to go on photoshoots and just take pictures of anything that catches my eye.

        I don’t have a Rolleiflex (although I kind of want one), but I’ll keep what you said in mind and definitely try to be more bold in the future! I’ve actually had people stop and chat with me because my film camera is less common. I love those conversations! 😀

        So thank you for that. With confidence I shall proceed. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season! Cheers.

    • Christmas in Korea is a bit of a bummer. I usually spend it grading final exams and wrapping up my teaching duties at the university. I often go home to be with family in January, but I won’t be able to make it this time around. And yes, I’ve just recently uploaded some pictures I took with the Mamiya just before Christmas. Happy Holidays!

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