A Guide to Street Photography: Matt Stuart (video)

"Disappearing into the background is Stuart's way of allowing funny and colorful scenes to unfold, uncontaminated by his presence. Shooting on a small camera is an essential part of the disguise. Although Stuart shoots digital for commercial commissions, his street photography is captured on a celluloid-format and entirely mechanical Leica MP.

But Stuart is sticking with celluloid, even with the additional costs of film stock and processing, which can easily run to $150 per day. In return, he's getting a small, quiet camera that feels amazing to hold and which shoots images with immaculate detail from finely crafted lens and effectively infinite (or at least molecular) resolution from the use of ISO 400 film. Importantly, he's also benefiting from a form factor that is perfectly suited to rapid manual focus -- something that is as important to Stuart's style of photography as manual exposure is to Olmos' approach."

Read the whole article on Engadget. Matt Stuart website can be found here.

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  • Neopulse

    Technique like that only happens with much practice and knowing your gear well.

    • Kyle Sanders

      I was thinking the same when looking at the heavily brassed base plate and lens! Pick something and stay with it long enough to get good at it.

      • Neopulse

        And also even though though he did use at times a light meter (an app nonetheless) he had the feeling to know which light would be best for the given situation. I have respect for this guy and his skill.

        • funny you two talk about his skill but not the actual photos he takes. Typical gear heads. You obviously haven’t seen many great street photographers.

          • Neopulse

            Well since you say that his photos are boring, then I guess that would apply to everyone who looks at them I see.

          • well you didn’t have to say it out loud, but yes, if you find this interesting have a look at magnum photographers. you’re in for a treat. also note who made the video… engadget… not exactly a photography orientated website.

            but hey, he knows what he’s doing at least right? lol

          • Neopulse

            true… also about the engadget comment, also true.

    • yeah he’s technically efficient, with his use of the camera, also technically very boring photos.

  • ck_dexter_haven

    That thing about hyper focal distance shooting — has nothing to do with what makes a rangefinder an appropriate or not appropriate tool.

    Street Photography. For me, these types of images cannot be interesting until maybe 30+ years have passed, and the world no longer looks like this. There are maybe a handful of current street photogs that make interesting imagery, IMO, of course. Most of the time, though, it seems like this type of work is practiced by people who have a very low bar for finding things/scenes interesting or amusing. Typically, the pictures are so commonplace for a person who lives in such an environment. Having spent 20+ years in midtown Manhattan, perhaps i’m too jaded and maybe this kind of thing has more of an appeal to someone from a rural environment. Perhaps that makes it more foreign. I’d certainly be more interested in seeing ‘street’ images from Butan, or Quito… but not ‘everyday life’ in a contemporary city.

    I can look back at ‘street’ work from the 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. and be fascinated. The ‘vintage-ness’ works in its favor. But, that’s why i tried street photography only briefly…. Nothing i shot was interesting because: 1) i had already seen it; 2) it was what i saw regularly; 3) there was no real skill or thought involved in creating the photos. Snapping off a shot without looking through the viewfinder or planning the image didn’t do anything for me. You’d shoot for days, and just HOPE something happened in front of you. Some people call that “hunting.” I probably have less enthusiastic terminology for it.

    No offense to Matt. Seems like a swell chap. I’m not really even discussing his work — this is more about the ‘genre’ and my particular experiences/failures…..

    • Totally agree with you, these photos and photographers like him will be fascinating in 50 years time. But at the same time, there are street photographers that are presently taking interesting photos that people can appreciate now.

      Just have a look at Magnum, that’s what I strive for when I shoot street/documentary, a lot of these ‘photographers’ today just shoot anything, create a book or a exhibition and call themselves street photographers.

  • John

    Boring? You guys are fools. Why don’t you do your homework:


    • Eblis

      It’s always a personal opinion, like we say in french, theres’s no need to discuss colors and tastes 🙂
      And I agree with some comments : really boring pictures, they’re justs snaps, no personal style, no series…

  • Chuck

    I think this whole “Leica” thing is more about emotional attachment to something people over-pay for. The rx100 is far superior in detail rendering & street shots than any Leica digital smaller sensor camera, and if any of these shooters used a Sony, they would get no attention from Leica owners and be called newbies. Instead they get praised as “genius” or “awesome” for stuff anyone with basic street skills can do with any good Sony or Fuji camera.

    • Chuck

      PS…I think this guy’s work is really good & he has a good eye for art, the comment was more in general and for those who post macro photos of bottle caps & family snapshots with a Leica while everyone else calls it “genius”.

  • I am trying to learn some style from Matt.

  • Someones get puzzled with the idea of street photography. This article might be helpful for them to capture the street scenery successfully.

  • come to know lot of information regarding street photography. As a photographer it will help me to go far. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amazing Post, and Highly energetic blog, I liked that a lot

  • Hello Guys, You have made this so easily. Thank you.

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