I shoot candid real-life images. Humanist, street-style, documentary, urban lifestyle, live events & entertainment photography. Click 'Galleries' to view a growing collection of my images: http://500px.com/alexzafer/sets
I photograph both in colour and black and white, with a focus on black and white while shooting in the streets.
I believe it is true to say that the best camera is the one that's with you. I also believe that the way a certain camera in your hands can make you feel when you're using it, certainly as a creative mechanism, is just as important. In the last couple of years I've slowly made the transition away from DSLR for street use to a small compact camera system. The weight and size is much better suited for the types of image making I enjoy most, unobtrusive non-posed street photography. Were there trade-offs? YES, but negligible. Was it worth the move? Absolutely.
Photography is both a job and a hobby for me, it's always a passion, an active vocation, art-form and lifestyle. Professionally I also shoot live music performance, both still and video, occasional editorial, commercial, portraits, weddings and special events. I also do other work in digital media production, marketing, and web site content writing. I maintain a studio outside of the Toronto area with a group of creative collaborators and producers in the arts hub city known as Hamilton, Ontario.
For several years I've been making street photo's nearly everyday and needed a public repository to host some of those images. I started this photo stream on 500px initially to exhibit online a long-term humanist photo street project - what some might call an applied sociology through the lens, a visual narrative. It has expanded to be much more than that since and I'm currently now working on my first photography book and hoping to do another gallery showing soon. I hope you will find these images thought provoking and inspiring by having you look at every day life a little more closely.
I find it difficult to want to be pigeon holed into any one genre of photography, but at the core, straight photography is and always has been the truest form of photojournalism, documenting the times we live depicting scenes as realistically and objectively as possible. Of all the types of photography I currently shoot, incorporating the philosophical elements of straight photography with street-style is the one I'm most passionate, or rather obsessed about. I find street photography to be an excellent storytelling medium. It is in the search for the "story" that keeps me walking for miles, pounding the concrete jungle for hours on end.
In the street it's spontaneous. Always in motion I like to capture candid scenes, very rarely interacting with my subjects. It is the authenticity in the non-posed candid shot that I'm after, nothing contrived. I am simply an observer, yet my camera allows me to also be a participant, in a raw and unrehearsed unmediated theatre full of unknown actors and extras. The spirit and rhythm that is REAL-LIFE.
When I'm photographing in the street I try to frame with a filmmakers eye. I am hyper aware of my environment and the people around me, studying the light and the geometry, paying close attention to both the stillness and the movement. In between the smells and the noise, the serenity and the calmness in the unending, ever-changing momentum of the city's everyday oddness I seek out the serendipity of a scene that comes together perfectly for that rare and decisive moment. The uncontrolled so-called 'reality' as it happened in front of my camera. It is one thing to create a good photograph, it's another challenge altogether to create one that is meaningful.
Much of my work is based in the art of reportage, what I call "personal-documentary" street-style photography (adjunct to my other professional work in the medium). Reminiscent of noir, many of my monochrome images have a gritty aesthetic enhanced by deep focus and high contrast intended to add drama to the one frame or multiple frame story. As a general rule I very rarely crop a street image. When Henri Cartier-Bresson said he was vehemently opposed to cropping street photos, I understood why. Not to argue that cropping absolutely can create a stronger image... which I will do in other kinds of picture making. It is in the purity of the street shooting philosophy though, in my view, with great respect for the intuitive eye to compose quickly knowing precisely when to hit the shutter button in the split second chance that I enjoy so much. If you have to crop later, it probably wasn't a great composition to begin with.
So with that introduction of myself, I invite you along a virtual journey with me as I continue to share this visual narrative of the human condition in pictures.
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- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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