“I believe that I can express myself more through photography and I hope that one day my works will change the world through my vision.” say Imsouchivy Suos , he is originally from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Currently and studying at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, USA.
1.Why did you choose street photography?
I’ve never really chosen it but I think it chose me. I’ve also done many forms of photography include landscape, portraiture, event, wedding and studio works but street photography is the one that appeals to me the most. I’ve been living, studying and traveling a lot since I was 16 years old and until now, I’ve been to over 20 countries. Photography started as a way to record/log my journey around the world but the joy of looking through the viewfinder make it grows as a passion. Also maybe because of the fact that it is more challenging as I don’t pose people or ask for their permission and yes, it keeps me fit (I usually walk between 10 to 13 hours everyday for street photography). Interestingly, as a self-taught photographer, I’ve been learning on this subject quicker than I thought from photography book, exhibition, forum, practice and many inspiring blogs like yours, which focus on this topic.
2.Can you share us some experience of shooting street photography so far?
I actually just returned from Mexico for this winter holiday. It was warm and beautiful. It was once in a lifetime experience and a wonderful adventure as a traveler/photographer. The reactions from my subject are always interesting as well as their culture, the lighting/weather condition and of course their different way of living. Some people are happy when I take their pictures and some are not. It’s quite challenging to work in an extreme condition like too hot (Phnom Penh), too cold (Mid-Western city like Chicago) or raining (Mumbai) in various seasons.
3.What is your main subject for street photography? What do you usually look for on a street to capture?
I look for the scene of an interesting people that can represent local culture, especially when they stay in good lighting condition. Interesting background is always a bonus and of course some interaction between people that can represent their everyday living. I love having mystery in my pictures and sometimes humors.
4.What is your style in street photography? What make perfect picture?
I pay lots of attention on color combination and composition as well as the depth of fill. The right subject, with the right lighting condition, right color at the right time, makes perfect photos. I love taking candid shots but sometimes I also do street portrait depending on the projects. While some photographers try to include as many elements as possible in the pictures, I try to take out as many elements as possible from the frame in order to convey a better scene as I believe that “Less Is More”.
5.What do you want the pictures to look like after final post processing?
I don’t use much Adobe Photoshop and I use Adobe Lightroom as my main post processing software. I want my post processing workflow to be in the same place. I usually correct the color and desiderate them a bit to keep the consistently look of my photos and mimic the film look. I don’t crop my photo or at least keep it to minimum. I love B&W street photography and it is great since I have learnt a great deal from the masters like Gary Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank who shot B&W. However, I shoot exclusively color because I believe that God gives us color vision and not B&W for a reason.
6.Do you interact with your subject at all before and after shooting?
I usually do, by smiling after taking the picture and say thanks. Sometimes, I don’t interact with them if they are in hurry or if they don’t care much about my action. Sometimes I would talk to them for a while if the time allows and if they ask me for contact and the explanation of what I do with their pictures.
7.Is there any incident that is worth to mention from the reaction of your subjects?
People, who have different cultures and background, react differently. Some people get upset and ask me politely to delete their photos, which I do. Some are happy and ask me to take more and share them the photos and some are just freaking out and being rude at me in which case I would stand my ground as a street photographer. Once I got in a serious talk with a woman, who has two children and is upset about me taking picture of her and her kids in Toronto, Canada.
8.What are your favorite gears to shoot in the street?
I use mainly full-frame dSLR (Canon 5D mark I and mark II) with prime lens (35mm 1.4L and 50mm 1.2L) with 2 stops ND filter, as I love to shoot wide open. It is not as discrete and as compact as other rangefinder system like Leica M but it is more affordable and I love to see exactly what I will get in the viewfinder. I usually bring only one lens and one camera body for street shooting the whole day. If I feel like I’m in a dangerous place, I would use some things more discrete like Sigma DP2s or Fuji X100.
9.What is your favorite destination so far?
India! I can find different people who speak different languages and have different culture/religions on the same corner of the street. The color, the music, the food and people just make India a paradise for street photographer like me. I feel like I didn’t spend enough time the last time I was there. I plan to visit India again in the short future and I am looking forward to visiting different cities.
10.What are the essential qualities/gear that street photographer must have?
To me, the subjects (people) are really important yet the most important two are myself as a photographer and the audience. One photographer should have and respect people’s dignity. Good gear is a bonus and it is important to some extent but I believe that you don’t need the best gear in the world to make perfect photos. Just like any other kinds of art, talent does help but practice makes perfect.
Thank you so much for the images and the interview, it has been a pleasure!
© 2013 Emre Ogan StreetPhotography