As this blog’s ongoing bombardment of photos should attest, I am teaching myself photography. The particular brand of photography that most intrigues me is called Street Photography. I hesitate to define it, but it essentially boils down to capturing impromptu moments, out there in the real world. Unfortunately however, books on photography are ruinously expensive, so for my education I have mostly been relying on the blogs of street photographers who are nice enough to put their thoughts, experiences and even pictures out there for free (for those looking to get started I highly recommend Eric Kim’s website). But Thomas Leuthard has done them one better, he has published a couple of e-books and put them out for free. And Going Candid is the first.
“A lot of people care more about cameras, lenses, equipment, file formats and other technical things. Forget all about technology and camera settings. Put your camera in P mode and don’t think about it anymore.”
For anyone looking for a step-by-step guide, Going Candid is definitely not the book for you. Leuthard echoes the opinion of many others about gear — that as long as it’s not intrusive, it will work. He doesn’t break any ground on balancing aperture and shutter speed while out on the street. He doesn’t go that far into the world of post processing — beyond emphasising that it should be done immediately, and that it is of less importance than “marketing” and actually taking pictures. In short, he doesn’t really go much into what I would call the ‘technical’ aspects of photography, apart from explaining what works for him, and suggesting that we will find our own way.
“There are so many situations in everyday life that you could take a lot of photos. It’s not about taking them at that time, but it’s about recognizing the beauty of life in public. Look what people do, how they act, what they wear. I love to look at humans in the wild.”
But what Leuthard does offer in his 100-odd page manifesto is enthusiasm and attitude. He is committed. He is obsessed with the stories and intricacies of the life out there, and he wants to capture them. The book is bursting with Leuthard’s own pictures — a lady with mesmerising eyes staring out of a bus, a startled man on the street. And the most profound advice Leuthard gives for taking such pictures is to grow a pair. Apparently, Street Photography is about bravery more than anything else (a little social ineptitude probably doesn’t hurt).
“Find a different way, a different angle, a different processing method, a different style and stick to it. It might be hard at the beginning, but it takes time.”
The book isn’t for those who need someone to take them by the hand and show them the way. It’s for those of us who need that one odd ball friend, so bursting with enthusiasm that you can’t help but become enthusiastic yourself. And maybe you will pick up some stuff you didn’t know while your guard is down. I don’t know who I would recommend this book to. But I am certainly glad I read it. It can’t help but fire you up.
Link to Going Candid: http://thomasleuthard.com/Books/GoingCandid.pdf