10 Questions With Dana Barsuhn
Let me start off by giving a huge thanks to Dana for doing this interview! He has been one of the most personable and approachable photographers I have had the pleasure of speaking with.
1) If a person goes through your flickr account, that person would see an obvious evolution of a photographer from the very beginning! Can you tell us how you got started in making street photographs?
It was late 2009 early 2010, I had a documentary project under my belt at that point, but without any vision I really had no motivation to just go out and shoot for the sake of shooting. As the universe would have it, a good friend and fellow street photographer/author Ibarionex Perello (www.thecandidframe.com) approached me to join him and Emilio Banuelos (www.blackbootsink.com) for a collaborative street workshop that took place in Downtown, Los Angeles.
I had been out shooting in the street before, but what I learned that weekend really changed the way I approach photography, more importantly it changed my vision and how I see. What I took away wasn’t more information on shutter speeds or f-stops, but more importantly how to use the camera as a way to express myself.
2) You recently released a PDF called “Framed 2011”. It’s currently living on my iPad and I have to say that the work is really great. What was your motivation and intention when you made and released the PDF?
More and more I am seeing the importance of editing work. By editing I don’t mean using photoshop or lightroom, I mean going through and choosing which photographs work and don’t work. So as far as my intention, well, it was get the photographs off my computer and make a book of my best 50 photographs from 2011.
After showing my book to a few people, I was encouraged by others to get the book out there. With pdf. books being all the buzz lately, it was an easy way to get my work out to a larger audience.
3) The community of street photography has changed very quickly in the last couple of years. With the advent of street photography blogs and groups on flickr, where do you see this genre of photography going in a social sense?
First off, I have to thank the community of photographers that I have had the privilege of knowing and working with. Each and every one of them has educated, influenced or encouraged me to be a better photographer.
With that said, I would hope that online communities would continue to educate photographers, that discussions be less about the tools and more about the work. I can’t forecast what online communities will do for the genre of street photography, but I can tell you that it has provided me an opportunity to meet, shoot and hang out with some amazing people.
4) So I wanted to talk more about the vast proliferation of street photographers online. With all the new people entering street photography, are there any people that you are keeping an eye on these days and enjoy?
I’m really biased when it comes to people that I follow. If I spent all my time searching for people online, I would never have time to be out shooting!
Ones that excite me the most are either the ones taking the most risk (Eric Kim, Charlie Kirk) the ones that have built a huge body of work and keep on going (Matt Weber, Bruce Gilden), and the ones who just have got the chops (Rinzi Ruiz, Junku Nishimura, Brian Sparks), to name a few.
5) How about influences and inspirations. Do you have any people you look up to who really play a part in your photography?
Of course many of the afore mentioned play a big part in my photography including my wife and second cousin Tim, who have really pushed me to get my work out there.
As far as photogaphy influences and inspirations, I have always mentioned the name Stanko Abadzic. He is a Croatian photographer that I discovered a few years back that has all the attributes of an HCB and an Elliot Erwitt. He has some amazing light and shadow work, but also some amazing images of the human condition, people being people. The fascinating exclamation point to his work is that he didn’t start taking his art seriously until middle age!
Lately I have been exploring a lot of photo books, enjoying work from Bruce Davidson, Alex Web, Bruce Gilden and Leonard Freed.
6) It is made known that you are a film adopter, to say the least. I love film, and have worked with film exclusively for quite sometime now. Can you share with the readers why you choose film when digital can be much more convenient?
Trust me, it was never my intention to shoot film, I was perfectly comfortable shooting digitally. In fact I was probably the guy that was trying to convince the film guy to switch to digital.
Originally, switching to film was more about shooting with something smaller and less threatening in the streets. But after a few roles, I began to see how the change in workflow was actually a breath of fresh air. Over the last two years I have progressed to developing my own film and most recently, turning my garage into a working wet darkroom!
I could probably go on a long rant on all the reasons why I love and choose film (for my personal work), but in the end it is just a preference. For me it has a lot to do with finding a balance in my life and my art.
7) I see that most of your work is black and white. Is there a reason you choose to shoot in black and white rather than color? What are your views on color in street photography?
Once I started shooting more documentary and street style work I began shooting mostly in black and white. I’m certain that at the time it had a lot to do with studying work of the greats like HCB, Frank, Weston, etc. While still shooting digital, I made a conscious decision to only edit in black in white until I got proficient at it.
While I still have a preference for shooting black and white, there are some great photographers out there who’s color work I really love and admire. Alex Web’s work comes to mind, his ability to create layered compositions of subject, color, light and shadow are captivating. Who knows, you may even see some color work from me in the future…time will tell!
8) If camera companies were people, what kind of a person would Leica, Canon, and Nikon be? Who would win in a fist fight??
Funny, my first DSLR was a Nikon (D70), switched to Canon (5D), and now shoot on the street with a Leica (M4)!!! What does that say about me?? Canon & Nikon would have be a prize fight, Pay Per View in the ring! If Leica wanted to fight, it would be more of ninja style, get in and get out without the enemy even knowing they were there.
9)What are some projects you are working on right now? What can we expect from Dana Barsuhn this upcoming year?
Have a yet untitled project that I am working on that deals with idea/concept of faith. Another loosely titled “Stay Gold” which looks into the idea of youth (staying young at heart) despite our circumstance. There are a couple other ideas that I am throwing around, one that might include the use of color film…we will see!!
10) Any last words, tips, or tricks for the readers?
One thing that I believe all photographers could benefit from is adopting the one camera – one (fixed) lens approach for a period of time. This is especially beneficial for aspiring street photographers that want to take a project/series approach to their work. You will rarely see a great series that is shot with different focal lengths.
The same could also be said for you film photographers out there. If you aspire to develop/print your own film, my suggestion would be to adopt a one film/developer/paper strategy, at least until you have your process down.
So I got the amazing opportunity to hang out with Youxin Ye. Youxin is an incredible Leica service man. I have nothing but good things to say about this man. He was not only personable, but he set me up with an immaculate Leica M4. If you are looking for a used Leica, need a CLA, or just a random repair I would suggest you check out Youxin. There is nobody who offers his level of work. Not to mention his prices are VERY resonable!
Youxin at work
One of many boxes of Leicas
My M4 being CLA’d
I got to help by cleaning some parts
The camera. The picture shows some streaks that aren’t actually on the camera
If you are an adopter of film in any way, you will know what I’m talking about. Rather than digital files that we can copy and paste, we have negatives to handle and store. We don’t have a magic button in our finder window to organize everything by date. This is why it is extremely important to stay organized in an analog workflow. Furthermore, I have found that working in a hybrid workflow puts even more emphasis on the importance of organization. When you have negatives and digital files to work with, you have to make sure to keep both as organized as possible as well as having the ability to cross reference each other. So here are some tips and trick I use to keep myself on track!
If you have been following the street photography scene in the last year, you have probably heard the name Rinzi Ruiz. This spectacular photographer creates powerful images with his skillful use of light. I got a chance to talk with Rinzi, so here are 10 questions that will bring you into the life and mind of Rinzi Ruiz.
I recently wrote a small how to guide on developing black and white film for JapanCameraHunter.com! It was great working with Bellamy. He is a great guy, and really provides amazing top notch service for all us gear addicts. If my Leica ever suffers an unimaginable death or when I’ve saved up enough money for a Leica MP, you can be sure I will be calling upon Bellamy to find me the camera of my dreams!
If you want to learn how to develop some B&W film as well as watch a video of me talking for a couple minutes, hop on over to JapanCameraHunter.com and read the article. Of course contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat! Link is below.
As street photographers we usually make a photo and move on. We find event in life, and try to document it how we see fit. I don’t like to blog about current events that deviate away from photography, but I feel compelled to share and spread this story. I want to do more than just observe, and pass judgement. Please read this young lady’s inspirational story. I must warn you that the story does not have a happy ending, yet anyways. It is up to us to help in anyway to turn this unfortunate matter into a a joyous moment.
UPDATE: $100,000.00 was raised for Diane and her siblings, and the charges were dropped! Thank you for anybody who read and helped right this wrong! I really appreciate it, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!
We look at our images on a computer screen everyday. With sites like Flickr and 500px, it makes it easy for us to have our entire portfolio in a digital and/or cloud based format. I would like to urge everyone to print your photos! You really can’t appreciate you own work until you print them. Printing your images turns a intangible item into an item that can be placed into your hands! Printing will let you experience the question “Is a photograph something I can hold in my hands? Or is it simply content that can live either on paper or as a series of 1s and 0s?”.
If you are short on cash, like I am, I would like to give you five tips on printing at Costco. A membership will run you around $50/year, and an 8×12 print will run you a whopping $1.50. Yes, for the same price as a soda at 7/11 you can have a wonderful print done! Here are some tips to follow to get the most out of your print.
There are times when i feel like I’ve seen all there is to see online. Of course, I haven’t seen everything since the world of street photography is vast; But for the times I am tired of arduous sifting through flickr, I am glad there Radiate Magazine. They are a street photography magazine. There are no advertisements, and the content is nothing short of quality! Did I mention the digital issues are FREE!!! I believe that they have issues every 6 months. Check them out and show some support. I would love to see a magazine like this in the states.
Know of a cool street photography magazine? Feel free to share it in a comment below!
If you ever frequent the various photography forums online, you will notice the familiarity of a re-occurring thread. The debate of film vs. digital has been around for quite awhile. My question is why do we have to choose? In this post I wanted to share my process of shooting, how it mixes film with digital, and my thoughts on the matter. I want to say that this is only my own way of making a photograph. I know there will be purist who will think my ways are ludicrous, but this is what works for me.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend of shooting. I just want to say thank you to everyone for their kind emails! I didn’t get much exposure until my bag got featured on japancamerahunter, but it’s great to hear and meet all of you now! There is a small write up about me in 50mm_streettog. Dipayan Bhattacharjee is a great writer as well as a great street photographer. Please show him and myself some love!