Street style photographers today face no such limitations.Armed with high-end full frame DSLRs like the Nikon D4 and Canon EOS 1D, they shoot off 12 frames per second without accruing any additional costs. Street style photography has become a compendium of candid action shots of fashion industry moguls exiting runway shows. Photographers run ahead of their subjects, kneel down on the pavement before them, and shoot off as many frames as their cameras will allow. Street style photography has become a competitive sport, a fitting result perhaps of so many photographers shooting with cameras designed for sports journalists.When I am at Fashion Week, I shoot largely the same way: rapid-fire candids of style icons in motion. Only, my camera maxes out at 5 frames per second, so I lose a lot of the shots others get. It gets frustrating. And also a little boring.
I have gotten sick of the machine-gun pace of fashion week street photography, and I have decided to experiment with a different tack: slow street style photography. I want to teach myself to shoot the way old school street style photographers like Amy Arbus and Steve Johnston did, with a film SLR, taking just a few frames for each person. The idea is to take the time to compose and correctly expose each shot, to get the image I want in camera, rather than having to mess with it afterwards.
So a couple of weeks back, I picked up an old Nikon F4 film camera off eBay and a few roles of Kodak Tri-X black and white film from B&H. I haven't shot with film in years, but it's been fun taking it on again. It has slowed my whole process down. Now that each shot is a limited resource, I have to make sure each one counts. And I don't get to see what I've got until the film gets developed! No more making adjustments to the exposure until I get a shot right. I'm just gonna have to know my shit right from the start. I'm memorizing exposure charts. I'm going as manual as it gets. I'll report back to you about how it all goes. In the meantime, here is a low-resolution scan of the first street style shot I got with my new analogue camera. I will be posting plenty more in the coming days.