Saturday, 4 February 2017

Mercer Street | Street Photography With The X-Pro2


I am a creature of habit...so on the days I decide to photograph in the streets of my NYC neighborhood, I follow a certain route that takes me from the streets of SoHo to Chinatown. Sometimes, I deviate and hit the East Side and the Bowery, but normally I stick to my normal trek, and alter my walks within the confines of this SoHo-Chinatown 'map'.

My Fuji X-Pro2 with its 18mm f2.0 dangling from my neck, I walk and imbibe the vibes of the city, and the human diversity that populates it. I normally shoot from the hip, since I seek fleeting expressions as much as I can. This obviously means that my success rate is very low, but it is what I like doing. 

I don't want to get into a debate as to whether SFTH (shooting from the hip) is unethical or not, and whether photographing "a la sauvette" (as Henri Cartier-Bresson described his on-the-sly photography) is right or wrong. I choose what to photograph, and never have photographed a homeless person or disrespected anyone's dignity. I am very comfortable with my style of street photography.

But back to my walk on Mercer Street.

Incidentally, I usually have set the Exposure Compensation Value on my Fuji X-Pro2 at -1, and the iso at 640, and the Fuji 18mm at either f5.6 or f8.0. 

On that particular day, I hesitated before walking up Mercer Street because it's usually very quiet with few pedestrians, but for an unknown reason, I did. Turning the corner from Howard Street, I encounters a whole block of people standing in line for what must've been an audition of some sort, or a fashion show, or a hip-hop event.

What a wonderful opportunity to photograph these interesting individuals, and their diverse racial and background mix, sporting cool and imaginative outfits! The whole walk took about 8 minutes or so, and for once I was very glad that a New York City sidewalk was so crowded. I didn't want to attract attention, so as to maintain the candid scenes as I saw them.

I used Iridient Developer 2 (which is now my go-to software) and fiddled with its toning settings to get the look I wanted.