The Blog

Everyday updates and longer photostories

May 01 2014

Leica M6 35mm b&w

By Mark Beresford | Comments 6

A collection of black-and-white street photos taken with a 35mm Leica M6 film camera and Kodak Tri-X 400 ISO film.

Sometimes when people catch you about to take a photo you get a great reaction. It destroys the candid nature of a street photo, but I don’t think that matters. It just makes it a different type of photo where you capture a little bit of someone’s character.

One of the timeless qualities of this camera and film combination is that the focus degrades nicely with distance. In this photo, the focus and center of attention is on the woman with her strained expression, but the man’s softer expression with him mellowing out with his cigarette is matched with the softer focus. This provides a nice contrast.

Being “caught” by the boy in the background makes this photo for me, along with the triangular composition.

It seems that even Vespa riders text and drive these days.

This man was enveloped in the smoke from his cigarette. There are a lot of people like this on Mission Street.

Sometimes I stand near an interesting background and wait for interesting people to walk past. Some are lost in their own thoughts.

While others are heading somewhere with a purpose.

I like this photo because of the question over the subject’s gender and, visually, I like the highlight of the face against the shadow of the pillar.

This is one of my favourite street photos so far. It was taken at Santana Row, San Jose. I thought that the girl’s tattoo and the dog were an interesting combination so I asked if I could get a picture of the dog. I took the photo without looking through the viewfinder, focusing by distance.

I wonder what this man was thinking, just sitting there on the bench. I like the feel of the photo, but it isn’t that interesting.

This man was picked out from the background by a shaft of light and I thought it unusual for an older man to we walking around with large headphones. I’m also curious about the shape of his shoulders. Is he hiding something under his jacket, or does he have scoliosis?

I like this picture because of the contrast and how sharp it is, but it’s really a shapshot rather than good street photo.

This photo is cute and I really like the studs on the shoulders of the jacket.

This photo is probably my best classical street photo so far because it captured a “decisive moment”.

The streets of San Francisco have many people living without hope. The man in this photo is blurry, but I think it’s a good counterpoint to the in-focus affluent leg to the right. All of the legs show people just walking by, going about their business, while this man sits alone.

I stood near this man for 10 minutes and he just stared straight ahead the entire time, lost in his own thoughts.

There was some kind of altercation between these two, but I have no idea what it was.

A lot of street photos show surprised faces, so this is mine. He was skateboarding down Market Street and spotted my camera at the last second.

Getting the right framing for a photo very quickly is hard. When I shoot from the hip I tend to aim too high. I like the feel of this photo nonetheless.

This chap doesn’t look too friendly, but he just walked by with no trouble.

I came across a Philippine Independence Day celebration and this young lady was sitting alone in a small tent looking very bored. She brightened up when I took her photo.

And this young woman was painting a story about her grandfather.

Meanwhile, this man was enthusiastically waving his Philippine Independence Day flag.

If this is a father and son, I hope that the son can do a little better for himself in life.

I snapped a picture near the pavement while this skater boy checked his phone.

The boy on this man’s shoulders smiled at me as they walked by. It was nice how the Dad was carrying him as well as his bike. Then, a few minutes later, the man stopped me, told me I had a nice camera, and asked me for some money. I thought about the little boy growing up seeing his Dad begging for money in the street and what memories he would be left with.

Although, purists say that taking photos of performers isn’t street photography, I like the reflections of the metal, and it’s not every day you see someone playing two instruments at once.

The following photos were pushed by two f-stops during development. As a result, they are grainier and have higher contrast than the others.

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