Faces in the crowd

It is nice to get back into some photography again after concentrating on my painting over winter, and I have been getting comfortable with my new Yashica Electro which I picked up at a second shop for $60. I spotted the camera in a display and asked if I could test it out with a battery and found that the meter appeared to be working correctly and was lucky to take home a perfectly functioning camera. I was a little unsure if the semi-automatic metering would be too limiting but after using it for a couple of months I am really enjoying it. Its perfect for taking quick shots around people without having to fiddle with exposure settings, the viewfinder is nice and bright and focussing quick and accurate.

One photographer I greatly admire is Joel Meyerowitz, and an enduring image of his that I love is Cocktail Party, taken in 1977. Something about the feeling of the connection between the subject and the camera and the separation from everyone else in the scene makes for a captivating image. I used my Yashica Electro recently to capture a few instinctive crowd shots, I often am surprised to see faces staring at me in my images when I am completely oblivious to the looks when I am using the camera. From what I have read Joel Meyerowitz was very aware of the composition while he was shooting, and used large format in many shots – whereas for me I am usually taking shots like these unaware of how they might turn out or what the reactions are of the people in my images. One of the things I am starting to appreciate when using a film camera is the honesty of taking a shot – I feel more comfortable pointing a camera at someone than taking a shot with a mobile phone. Next up I hope to start using my Mamiya C220 medium format camera – even more bulky than my Yashica – I wonder what type of street shots I will get…



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