. . . Time fly’s by when you’re having fun and it’s incredible to think that I’ve been uploading photographs and writing articles for the blog for 3 years now.
In that time the blog has grown to over 65 posts, almost 400 registered users and nearly 2500 subscribers to the RSS feed. What started out as just a bit of fun and somewhere to show my pictures has grown beyond any and all expectations. Thank you dearly to all of my readers, one and all.
As coincidence would have it, I’ve achieved an ambition that’s been burning away in the back of my mind for the last couple of years – an eBook. What’s more, it’s free and totals just over 50 pages and 43 photographs.
. . . In this review I talk about the Fuji X-E1, but all the images presented here are taken with the Leica M-E . . .
. . . Question: What do a Fuji X-E1 and XF35 1.4 lens, a Leica M6, a guitar effects pedal, an iPad, an electric guitar and a Cello all have in common?
Answer: That is what was sold in order to finance what is for me, the ultimate street photography camera – the Leica M-E, or to give it its full model designation, the “Leica M-E, Which Is Actually An M9 But Without The USB Port Or Frameline Preview Lever And In A Different Colour. Apart From That It’s Identical In Every Way To An M9.”
Of course that can be a bit of a mouthful at times, so for the purpose of this article I shall refer to it solely as the Leica M-E.
I also won’t bore you to death with the industry-standard approach when reviewing a Leica ‘M’ camera, that being a ‘mini-tutorial’ of how a rangefinder works in practice, endless comparisons to DSLR’s or Micro Four-Thirds and especially how manual focusing with a rangefinder is better or worse than autofocus etc.
So without further ado, let’s start at the beginning with a good-old photograph of the ‘beast’ in question – albeit a beast costing a four-figure sum . . . Gulp !!!
Naturally with ‘M’ camera bodies, the price didn’t include a lens, though luckily and considering my manic desire to ‘sell sell sell’, I had the presence of mind to keep hold of the wonderful Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 lens previously mounted to the M6 and M2 (the latter of which I still have – hey I’m not that mad )
. . . It’s often said (including by me) that one of the attractions of shooting film, is that until you actually come to develop a roll, you just never know what pictorial delights may (or may not) be waiting for you.
Well the same thing happened to me yesterday morning, but it wasn’t from a roll of film.
. . . Yes you’ve guessed it, “you never know what you’re gonna get” (especially where 35mm is concerned). I could also quote a favourite saying of one-time TV football pundit, Jimmy Greeves – “It’s a funny old game.”
At least that’s how it felt as I took my place amongst the crazed swathes of early Christmas shoppers on the streets of Chester recently, one dark and cold Saturday morning.
Mercifully though and despite the ominous blanket of moody black cloud that appeared to hover inches above our heads, the day remained dry. Add to the equation that there was barely a square foot of pavement available to each pedestrian and you have the perfect environment (?) for the Street Photographer, be it one who’s still in recovery from a good-old-fashioned nervous breakdown.
Which brings me nicely to the reason I was now standing approximately centre-left of a shopping thoroughfare, the Leica M2 loaded with HP5 and a Voigtlander 50 f/1.5 lens mounted.
It had been at least 10 weeks since I’d even dared to pickup a camera, partly through fear that doing so might trigger another ‘episode’. What if I started panicking again, or worse still, began sobbing and wailing uncontrollably like some great grizzly bear and in full view of every bewildered passerby?
“Pull yourself together Kevin”, I told myself “you’re made of stronger stuff than this”!?
So whilst utilising some simple meditative techniques I’d learnt just days before, and with an extra large deep breath, I aquired a subject and clicked the shutter.
. . . Thank you to all who have written with kind and helpful words of support, both about my ‘problem’ and their own. Also, to hear that my Bipolar Article has been of help for others in coming-to-terms with various issues, has brought a tear to my eye. Thank you.
I’m especially indebted to a reader of the Street Photography Blog (you know who you are ) who sent me a selection of Meditative literature. As a result of this, I was able to summon the courage to once again grab a camera and hit the streets. Cheers mate.
To that end, I am now writing this post whilst enjoying a coffee outside a Starbucks in Chester. So far it’s been a very enjoyable experience, despite feeling a little detached from reality – floating on a cloud so to speak.
All being well, there should be some cool shots ‘in the can’ and on the blog, soon.
. . . This is without a doubt the most difficult article I’ve ever had to write. Not so much because of the ‘personal’ nature of the subject matter, rather ‘because’ of the debilitating effects of the subject matter itself . . .
. . . It’s been a bit quiet here on the Street Photography Blog of late. Indeed it struck me that I hadn’t posted anything for the whole of October – even September consisted only of ‘bulletins’ regarding interviews and features. Nor for that matter had I taken any pictures. In fact, at no point had any of my cameras been out of the bag for the last 10 weeks or so. Even the ‘Chicken Shed’ darkroom, that warm and cosy outhouse of brick and slate had remained locked and in darkness (much to the relief of the resident spiders).
Sorry, I tell a lie. I did actually go to Manchester with the Leica M6 about 8 weeks ago, with the aim of spending a couple of days shooting on the streets. Sadly, it all took a sudden and surprising downturn from thereon.
Once again, many thanks and huge appreciation to Don Springer and Olivier Duong of Inspired Eye Magazine for the wonderful 18-page interview and photographs in Issue 15 of their exceptional publication. This issue features interviews and photography from 9 photographers, Essays, Readers Gallery and Travel Writing.
Click Here (not a pay-per-click, just a link) to buy the bumper 165-page Issue 15 now for just $4.95 (£3.10 approximately) in PDF format . . .
. . . and click the picture below for a sample of the first page of my featured article.
. . . A big thank you and appreciation once again to Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter for the wonderful feature on his excellent site.
Click Here for the article.
. . . Huge appreciation and thank you to Street Photography Magazine’s Bob Patterson for publishing an Audio Interview and Article, with myself. Cheers Bob.
What’s more, Bob has generously created a private screening area so that visitors to the Street Photography Blog can read and listen to the interview for FREE. Just Click Here to be taken to the private screening area and enjoy.
Don’t forget that you can subscribe to Street Photography Magazine for just $1.99 (£1.20) per month, by Clicking Here.
. . . A big thank you indeed to Bellamy Hunt – A.K.A. Japan Camera Hunter, for featuring my Street Photography Kit Kevin Shelley – In Your Bag No:979.
Japan Camera Hunter is a ‘treasure trove’ of reviews and “geekery” for camera lovers. Find the camera of your dreams.
. . . Of my two days shooting Street Photography at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I spent half of the first day with the Fuji X-E1 (article here) and the remainder of that day and all of the next shooting with the Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50 1.5 LTM Classic lens (review here). Here then are the photographs taken . . .
What is this ‘thing’ with film that you just don’t get with digital? It can’t be superior image quality as digital technology has more than surpassed 35mm in that respect. Nor for that matter can it be grain, as software such as Silver Efex can easily add as much or as little to your digital files as you like.
. . . Ah, you see what I did with the title there, “Two Classics”? That’s because (aside from the Fuji X-E1), I also took along to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 a new film camera and lens – the Leica M6 ‘Classic’ and Voigtlander (CV) 50mm f/1.5 LTM ‘Classic’. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I LOVE LEICA M’s.”
Now it’s only a little over 2 months since I bought the Leica M2 (review here), which has proven revelatory when it comes to no frills 35mm Street Photography. However, the Leica M6 and CV 50mm f/1.5 have taken what was already a superb package and quashed the last remaining issue I had with the M2 – that being no built-in light metering.
. . . This was supposed to be a fun to write and informative review (which I suppose it still is) of a fantastic little gadget, but it has been marred somewhat by an event which I will detail at the end of this article. You have been warned . . .
. . . Take a look at the specifications of any camera released over the past year or so, and it’s a fair bet that almost all of them will offer one genuinely useful feature – Wireless File Transfer.
Nowadays it’s possible to take a picture with your ‘real’ camera and within minutes, have it shared across the internet or (would be nice), spread across BBC News 24 or a national newspaper.
But where does that leave us owners of ‘older’ cameras, such as the Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 or X100?
Fret no more and say goodbye to that bulky laptop. Say hello instead to the Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Media Reader, for this device is truly the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of photography gadgets.
. . . During my two days of photographing at The Fringe 2014, I used two cameras and lenses – the Fuji X-E1 with XF35 f/1.4 and a new to me (but used) film camera and lens. Consequently, I came back with a large number of photographs and so it happens, too many for one article. Therefore, this post is (for want of a better phrase) Part One, itself being made up of a chunk of the Fuji pictures, with the remainder for another article. My review of the ‘mystery’ camera and lens can be found here Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics The images taken with the M6 and this lens can be found here Street Photography – Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Part Two) – Leica M6
. . . Imagine for one moment a place and time devoted solely to art in all its various forms – music, theater, dance, mime, painting, photography and even protest.
Now consider also that besides the countless thousands of acts performing throughout the event’s duration, there’s the added bonus of hundreds of thousands of spectators, many of whom also have a strong interest in the arts.
There’s more. Factor in that the whole area is swarming with amateur and professional photographers, wielding hefty DSLR’s and even more lengthy lenses. Who then is going to give a second glance to another lens pointing in their approximate direction (except the Ugandan Handbag Saleswoman of course ) ?
As a final nod to perfection, attendance of the 3 week ‘production’ is (by and large), totally free of charge.
The altogether inspiring result of this heady ‘gumbo’ is a Street Photographers Paradise, otherwise known as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – 2014.
As far as I was concerned – and whilst the greatest majority of cameras were pointing towards the colorful, impressive and noisy acts that seemed to appear every few meters – my Fuji X-E1 with XF35 f/1.4 lens was firmly aimed in the opposite direction. I was here to photograph the ‘real’ people.
. . . There can’t be a devoted Street Photographer either past or present, that hasn’t experienced a sudden sinking feeling when faced with the likes of the Ugandan Handbag Saleswoman that I was (ahem), privileged to meet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Somewhat refreshingly though, I was on this occasion able to turn the experience around (in my mind), and come away from it feeling both rejuvenated and somewhat jollied.
Looking back on events, I believe there were three key ‘ingredients’ that made this possible.
. . . Please note, I am in no way associated with the seller of these boxes, except that I bought one . . .
. . . It’s often said that the simplest (and cheapest) things in life are the best and when it comes to my latest Street Photography related purchase, I couldn’t agree more.
Let’s be honest, how many times (and how much time) have us film photographers spent fumbling about in those dark and unexplored regions of our camera bags? Afterall, that fresh and unexposed roll of 35mm film is in there somewhere. However, when it’s rolling about amongst five or more identical cannisters, some exposed and some not, it quickly becomes a frustrating game of ‘lucky dip’. Often the only solution is to empty the whole lot onto whatever ‘unsuitable’ surface presents itself.
But swear and curse no more, for the solution is both ingenious, cheap and simple.
. . . And now for something completely different.
A few days ago I was giving an interview over Skype to the editor (and publisher) of Street Photography Magazine, Bob Patterson (soon to be published at the end of this month. The interview that is, not Bob ).
During the 1 hour and 30 minute conversation, the subject of ‘photography heroes’ came up and I was quick to mention (among others), Zack Arias. Somehow we also moved onto the subject of beards !?!
Then just two days ago, I was in the supermarket and whilst becoming quietly cross-eyed and giddy at the sheer amount of choice at the cheese counter, this guy parked up beside me.
Nothing odd about that but my eye was instantly caught by the (frankly) monumental and (quite simply) impressive ‘sculpture’ hanging from his chin. For he was sporting one of the coolest and most stylish beards I’d seen in a long time. Further, it bore an incredible likeness to that worn by one of my favourite modern-day street photographers, Zack Arias.
. . . Many thanks to Bob Patterson of Street Photography Magazine for publishing my Fuji XF35 & XF60 lens review in the latest issue.
For the latest and past issues of the magazine, click here Street Photography Magazine and also available via Apple’s Newstand from the App Store here Street Photography Magazine
Also to come in a following issue, an interview (photographs, words AND audio) with myself.
. . . A little over 3 years ago I did a short video for Youtube of what was in my camera bag at that time (video at the bottom of this post and somewhat embarrasingly shot in portrait and don’t get me started on the hairstyle. ).
Back then, my ‘weapon’ of choice was a silver-chromed Leica M8 with a 50mm f/1.8 Canon Serenar and a Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar. My bag of choice was the ‘M-Classics’ messenger style bag.
Today, the bag remains but the kit has changed beyond all recognition.
. . . This article came about as the result of a question set by Stephan Handuwala, a visitor to the Street Photography Blog and posted on Chester – Street Photography Escape From The City. Thank you Stephan . . .
. . . As Stephan had asked, why are street photographs generally black & white? His question got me thinking and to tell you the truth, I was stumped for a simple answer..
Even a swift ‘Image’ search on Google for the term ‘Street Photography’ will bring up a raft of black & white photographs, garnered from the works of photographers from all corners of the globe, both professional and amateur. A quick count of the images reveals that of each group of ten pictures, approximately one of them will be in color.
So why is this?