Three things Daido Moriyama has taught me: street photography
One of my favorite street photographer is the japan master Daido Moriyama. His style is so personal and unique that you can really feel himself looking at his photos. He doesn’t care about composition, subject, storytelling and decisive moment; he takes photos of what he likes in the streets. His works are creative and personal because Daido is always himself. I’ve bought different books but the most interesting are those with snapshots: random and instinctive photos taken in the street following his right brain. He is impulsive when he makes street photography. In this article I’ve written three lessons Daido Moriyama has taught me in street photography.
1. The spontaneity of the soul : snapshots
I love Daido Moriyama for his spontaneous and instinctive photos. The most interesting works, in my opinion, are Records: a series of magazines with snapshots taken by Daido (you can find reprint for buying online). Looking at these works I’ve learnt that we can find good pictures everywhere, photography is a sort of stream of consciousness of our soul. You don’t need always to take photos of people and epic moments in the streets; photograph what you like, follow your instinct. A mannequin behind a broken showcase may be a good subject as a bundle of electrical wires, a ruined poster, an empty street, everything is photographable in personal and creative way… Don’t think always to human beings. You have to photograph for yourself first. And probably this is the hardest thing especially in a world with social media like Instagram and Facebook. If you want to satisfy other people probably you’ll not be personal in your style. So when you are in the street try to photograph what you like, don’t overthink, use your right brain. If you are interested in snapshots I suggest to buy a relatively recent Daido’s book: How I take photographs.
2. Style is everything
You can recognize a Daido Moriyama’s photo among a hundred others because his work is unique and personal. Style is everything: subject, composition, post-production, use of light and shadow. It must be personal as your handwriting. How can you develop a personal style? Simple, as I said before you have to be yourself, follow your instinct, take photos of what you like. You can express yourself through the choice of subjects, composition, post-production, editing… Don’t try to imitate other famous photographer, use their works to find inspiration and motivation only.
3. Break the rules
For me capturing what i feel with my body is more important than technicalities of photography. If the image is shaking it’s Ok, if it’s out of focus it’s Ok. Clarity isn’t what photography is about.
I’ve opened this last paragraph with a famous quote written by Daido Moriyama. There is a sort of dynasty of photographers that in such way deny the Henry Cartier Bresson’s lessons. Probably the first one was Robert Frank with his The Americans, followed by William Klein and Garry Winogrand. Daido was influenced by these masters, especially William Klein. Street photography is different from landscape or macro photography. A picture out of focus with burned highlights, blurred and even tilted may be a great shot because what matters is the final result, the general appearance which hit our eyes and brain generating thoughts and emotions. Street photography is about this. Breaking the rules Daido Moriyama has built up his unique style and his fortune in street photography.
That’s all folks
Stay well, have always light in your life
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