Tag: danny santos
A few months ago, I got a message from Kelly, a project manager of a design agency in San Francisco – Tolleson Design. They were interested in buying a couple of photographs from my Portraits of Strangers set to use for a project they’re doing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any release forms for any of the portraits, so using it for commercial purposes wasn’t possible. So instead, they commissioned me to create a new set of portraits with the same aesthetic.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to experience a 3-day intensive photo essay workshop organized by Leica, conducted by famed Magnum photographer, Abbas. I’ve learned about it on short notice, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet and learn from a master who’s been doing it for 45 years.
Stranger #77 was one of the most strikingly beautiful face I’ve photographed in my Portraits of Strangers project. So when I decided to do this “Strangers Revisited” project, she was an obvious choice. And when Atika agreed to do a photo shoot with me, I was so ecstatic yet pretty nervous at the same time.
I’ve always wanted to dive into portraiture, and my previous Portraits of Strangers project served as my personal transition from candid street shooting to portraiture. Looking back at project, I later decided to create a new series of photo shoots by revisiting some of the strangers I photographed. Thanks to my facebook page, I was able to contact some of them.
Photo above taken by photography hobbyist Paulo Legaspi
About a month ago, I was invited by street photographer Eric Kim to be a guest writer for his blog. He wanted me to write a few tips on shooting street portraits. Although I’ve already blogged about my thoughts and experiences while working on my Portraits of Strangers project, I haven’t really provided any direct tips on how to work on a project like this. So I started writing down a few quick tips based on what worked for me. I’d like to share this article with you guys. Hope this helps :)
While I was working on my Portraits of Strangers project last year, I got an email with the subject: “Hey there… a mail from Ad-Land in Singapore.” Much to my surprise, the email was from Steve Elrick, Regional Executive Creative Director of BBH Asia Pacific. He came across my portraits series from a link in Facebook which lead back to my blog. He asked if I could drop by to have a chat and “see if there’s a project we could perhaps get you involved with in the future.”
I went “holy sh*t…”
Every time I’m out in the streets, I would often encounter faces that make me look twice… faces that just stood out of the crowd without even trying… faces that are by no means ordinary. They range from the exquisitely beautiful to the strangely wonderful. Sometimes I would try to steal a shot without being too intrusive, most times I just stand there wishing I had the balls to just approach them and ask for their portrait. Thanks to my lucky stars … I eventually grew those balls to do so.
I miss shooting in the rain. It’s been a while since I last walked around in heavy downpour, holding my umbrella on one hand and my camera on the other. I miss it so much that every time rained and I’m stuck in the office, I can’t help but think of all the bad weather shots I’m not shooting. And it frustrated me more that as I excitedly anticipate for the rain in the proceeding weekends, it just never came. Until last week… after a long time, I once again caught the devil’s luck.
I was walking along Orchard when I saw her walking towards my direction. She was wearing a simple one-piece dress, and was quite tall almost towering over most of the people around her. I wasn’t decided yet if I wanted to shoot her, but as I got closer, I knew I had to – she had this subtle angelic charm. My heart started to pound… it always does whenever I’m about to approach a stranger for their portrait. I stopped her and asked if I could take her picture. She smiled and said "Oh, street style." I chuckled a "yeah…", relieved that she understood what I was doing.… Read more
Just got featured in Singapore’s August Man magazine in their annual photography issue. They asked me to pick one of my street photographs and say a few words about it … and I happily obliged. Of course I chose the rain shot I took of the lady with the shawl walking in the rain smiling, which I also featured as my ‘Keeper of the Month’ last May. I’m so excited about this feature. I actually didn’t expect that it would take a whole page :) Big big thanks, Ci’en! :)
August Man is a Singapore-based men’s magazine that features all things cool.… Read more
Henri Cartier-Bresson is the father of modern photojournalism and widely revered as the pioneer for the art of street photography. I was watching one of his documentaries and one of his quote struck me; referring to his timeless street photographs, he said “It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters. You just have to be receptive, that’s all.” Nothing can be more true about street photography. Of the 2 short years that I’ve shot in the streets of Singapore, I do not deny how luck dictates if I get a keeper or not. No matter how good a photographer you are, if lady luck is not on your side, you will end up capturing boringly normal street scenes that we can all see everyday anyway.… Read more