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The Human Element


Photographing people for hire, be it family photos, weddings, or portraits, has never really appealed to me. Guiding someone through various poses while making them look natural is truly a skill that I simply don’t have. However, I have found great joy in capturing photos of day-to-day life where people unknowingly play a supporting role. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my first foray into Street Photography, where that human element transformed my photos into preserved moments in time that just felt different.

Vintage rangefinders such as my Leica IIIf are perfectly suited to this type of photography. With one eye looking through the viewfinder, I compose my image using the frame lines. Using my other open eye, I continue to scan the scene beyond the camera’s field of view and can spot an individual before they move into the frame, perfectly timing the shot.

The subjects within the scene often remain subtle, faceless elements of the composition. Their presence draws my eye in, and I’m left wondering what story they may tell if given the chance.

As with all forms of photography that I engage in, there are meaningful takeaways. Taking candid photos of people has made me more present and aware of my surroundings. I am reminded that each one of us is on a unique journey, and this type of photography captures a moment in time that is so genuine. 

As many have said, the best camera is the one that you have on you when you need to take the shot. This last photo was a simple capture with my cell phone in Old Montreal. The individuals who passed by the window of this quant pizza restaurant were engaged in a friendly chat on a beautiful afternoon. The photo is a personal favorite and perfectly captures that human element. 

As always, happy shooting!

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