I don’t take the metro (subway) so much often in Paris, but when I do, I always find myself taking some picture…so..here for you, my Paris metro experience:
I moved to Paris a couple of months ago and I haven’t fallen in love with the city yet. So I’m not posting pics of all the amazing touristic sites…I’m not photographing much at all, I have to admit. I hope I’ll get lost soon in some corner and start capturing my surroundings. For the present time this is all:
During the past 12 months I’ve taken a photo every day with my iPhone. These are the best ones. I hope you enjoy them. caterina_visco
Eight days later, we did it again. On March 22, we took one photo every hour for 24 hours along with more than 900 street photographers in 312 cities around the world. This time we drove six hours south and hit up the City of Angels. Check out @24hourproject on Instagram (and our feeds caterina_visco and theavni) for more images.
Why do it again?
Caterina: We already decided we wanted do it again along with all the street photographers registered to the #24hourproject. I guess we wanted to took part in something bigger, to share this experience with other people that like street photography, and to get to know them.
Avni: More practice and a larger social experience. Also, LA.
How was it different from the previous time?
Caterina: Honestly this time I had less fun than the last one. Maybe the two experiences were too close in time one to the other. I was much more tired and sleep deprived and that had a huge impact on my enthusiasm in doing it. I also was more concerned about my pics, I wanted to have people in my shots, something I was not used to, and edit with consistency.
Avni: This time, I tried to take more time shooting and less time editing. I created a host of presets in Oggl before the challenge began so that all I would have to do is put it through one of my favorites and then tack on a couple of Mextures filters. This made me a much faster editor, but I’m not sure it really made me a better shooter. My fiancee liked my photos from the last challenge better — he says these photos were “uninspired.” I wouldn’t disagree…we probably shouldn’t have done this twice in one week. It was more exhausting, and the 6 hour drive from the Bay Area the same day didn’t help, either. But in a way it was more exciting, too. LA!
What did you learn this time?
Caterina: Now I know I can pay attention to people and include them in my shots. Of course I still have to work on all the skills I mentioned last time (See “24 hour challenge“), this has not changed at all: I still have so much to learn about light, composition and so on. The biggest lesson, though, is that I have to wait for a shot or be able to see it when it comes to me, but for no reason I must go hunting it. I love street photography and I don’t wanna put any stress and pressure on it. As I wrote last time I have to learn to be patient, to give things the time they need, to breathe.
Avni: Sitting and waiting is the best.
Will you do it again?
Caterina: Yes, of course. But a year from now, and maybe in a different city.
Caterina: Practice, practice, practice and new challenges like “A week in colors“. Then..we’ll see.
Avni: I really want to try using apps like Storehouse and Stellar to put together little stories based on my iPhone photos and videos.
I’ve just had a very colored week.
During the last 24hourchallenge I noticed that my photos were quite similar one to the other: almost all oft them were in black and white and little blurry. So I asked myself: Why do I edit this way? Do I really like b/w more than colors? Am I just copying other photographers?
To answer this question I challenged my self to not use b/w for seven days. This had to be a “#colorweek”..
Now the week has ended and I finally know: YES, I do really like black and white and blurry.
It’s not that I don’t like colors..but I feel that more often I express better what I think/feel/mean/ without them. So now I know how to edit my photos the 22nd during the #24hourproject!
Starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, two friends used their iPhones to publish one photo every hour for 24 hours.
Q: What made you crazy enough to want to stay up for 24 hours and make a photo every hour?
Avni: A year ago, I never thought I’d be religiously making pictures with an iPhone, much less staying up all night to do it. A year ago I didn’t even own an iPhone. And it wasn’t very long ago ago when I used to scoff at the idea of mobile photography. Didn’t serious photographers use DSLRs?
It took me a while to realize what a valuable training tool mobile photography really was, especially for someone like me who loves (read: overuses) shallow DOF. When you only have a camera stuck in “auto,” you’re forced to pay attention to light and composition like never before. You have to keep your hand as steady as you possibly can. You have to really think about exposure and not letting parts of the image blow out. And you have to do all this quickly or you’ll miss the moment. Coupled with the added challenge of taking photos without your subject seeing you, mobile street photography has almost certainly improved my technique. It’s made me more creative, too, since with documentary street photography (as opposed to straight photojournalism), you have to think harder about what story you’re trying to tell with an image.
I’d been wanting to take this challenge for a long time, because I thought it would force me to pay attention to all of these things for a sustained period of time and under intense pressure. I figured even if I came away with just one photo I liked, it would be worth it.
But I didn’t want to do it alone, because a) I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to stay awake and b) I’d feel a little better about wandering around in the wee hours of the night with another person and c) a challenge is way more fun with a little friendly competition. Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who was committed to mobile photography enough to do it with me — until I met Caterina.
Caterina: I didn’t think much about it. Avni proposed me to do this challenge together and I just loved the idea. I already wanted to go out shooting with Avni to observe her and learn from her. The challenge added to this plan a sense of unexpected adventure and fun.
Q: What did you learn from the challenge?
C: The first thing that I’ve learnt is that I must practice on how to shoot undetected. As shown in pic3, many times I’ve been caught in action. So I have to develop techniques and tricks and become sneakier.
Most importantly, though, this experience highlighted all my flaws as street photographer — that are connected to the fact that I’m not a photographer at all. Before last fall, I had barely heard about exposure, composition, white balance and so on. This lack of basic knowledge and of experience came out in every shot I took during the challenge. As much as I have to get better with the technical skills, I have to work on the right mindset: I’ve to develop the “photographer’s third eyes”: that ability to “see” a picture, to watch a scene through a virtual lens, to find out quickly what I want to capture. Then I have to work on patience: take my time to shoot and edit, not rush, not being nervous all the time. I have also learned how easy is to cheat in post, thanks to apps and filters and editing tools. And how much I rely on this part.
Eventually, thought, this experience taught me that I really like mobile photography. The idea that I have in my pocket a key to read and explore the world without words is amazing. I have never thought I’d love take pictures: I’ve never been the one with her camera always at hand. Now, even if it is not a need or an irresistible instinct, shooting comes more naturally and spontaneously.
A: We started at 9 pm and I learned quickly that this challenge was going to be hard. Normally, it takes me days to produce a picture I think is worth sharing. In the end, I took 900 photos and still wasn’t able to produce 24 good ones.
I had a pre-conceived notion that my photos would be best during a) golden hour and b) at the beginning of the challenge, yet I found this to be quite far from the truth. There were two phases where I yielded the greatest number of “good” images. Once was during noon and once was at the very end of the challenge. During both these periods, I spent a lot of time in one small area and there were enough people to photograph quite easily undetected. I realized that waiting in one area was a much better use of time than traveling to another area in the hopes of better photos (we went to San Francisco for two hours but it wasn’t nearly as epic as I thought it would be).
Towards the end, I found myself instinctively going back to familiar places because they were both convenient and I knew they had potential. At this point I was also so tired I really didn’t want to do any more than hang around and pray for a moment. It worked.
Q: What was the hardest part?
A: Being consistent. I find this hard to do even without an hourly deadline, and I think part of that is still being young/inexperienced and developing a style of my own. There are two photos that I strongly dislike (hour 12 and hour 17) that I took them because I was too drained to make an extra effort. They are okay photos — little moments — but they don’t fit — they’re too obvious. I need to spend more time answering the question, “What are your photos about?”
There’s also a lack of consistency in my editing process — there’s a tinge of blue in some photos that bugs me — and I frequently waver between a soft matte and hard contrast. Maybe I need to settle on one…and I definitely need to troubleshoot the blue-tinged filters. I also need to immerse myself in a more thorough and analytical study of street photography masters.
Caterina: Every part was hard for me: hunting pictures, work under the pressure of time, fighting the tiredness. At the end it was also hard to try to pay attention, to not surrender completely and just take a random picture. Also the comparison with Avni’s work was not easy to handle, and enhanced the feeling that I was not in control of my work but randomly shooting and editing, hoping in something decent to come out.
Q: What did you learn about yourself?
Caterina: That I rarely give things the time they need. I don’t breathe. This happens often, not only when I have my smartphone in my hands. Also I’ve learned that I love adventures and like to act instinctively, but usually I over-think things instead.
A: This exercise reaffirmed the fact that I can’t multitask (Cate actually got some schoolwork done, I couldn’t!). For 24 hours I was intensely focused on one thing: making a good picture. I found it more mentally exhausting than physically, but the nagging feeling that there was a better picture out there kept me going. But sometimes, as I learned from Caterina, there just isn’t a picture that’s available to you in the space of an hour. Especially in the middle of the night. I also learned that if I’m really exhausted or groggy, I won’t be able to make a good picture regardless of time and place.
Q: What did you learn from each other?
A: We have a shared passion for experiments, learning, and travel/adventure and we thrived off of each other’s energy during the 24 hours. Caterina maintains a positive attitude like few people I’ve met. Her enthusiasm is contagious as is her love of adventure. I remember there were a couple of times when we both felt like we were on our last legs — at different times — but we both encouraged each other to snap out of it and get back to shooting. That was nice 🙂
Caterina has a penchant for “the small things,” as she likes to say and a real eye for detail. Most impressive, though, is her desire to be better and the hard work she’s willing to put into it. She does things solely to satisfy an inner desire, not to be recognized for doing something — she’s one of the least egotistical people I’ve met. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who’s recognized what an incredible person she is.
C: Wow..what can I write after that… For sure I’ve learnt that the “human factor” can add value to my pictures. Avni’s leit motive of the entire night was: “I need people, let’s go find people.” I don’t have this desire for photographing people. I feel that objects too tell great stories; stories that leave more space for imagination and fantasy. After observing Avni’s work, though, I know that I have to look for some humanity as well. She also showed me how important are mindfulness, preciseness and care in the editing process (for her is almost a never ending process).
Avni is one of those person that I deeply admire/envy: those who have a strong passion and are committed to it. Those who are extremely self-demanding and work very hard to get the result they look for (and get it). During the past months I’ve met many of these inspiring people. They made me willing to work harder, to get better and learn more and more every day to keep up with them and to be more passionate about what I do.
Q: What was the funniest part of all this?
C: All of it. It was fun just as much it was hard. Driving around, feeling the adrenaline of the approaching the 60th minute, laughing most of the time. But if I have to pick one moment, I’d pick buying breakfast at the only place where you can get food after 3am around here: Jack-in-the-Box. Initially, we wanted to drive through, then we decide to park and enter instead, but the restaurant was actually closed. So while I was looking at the big big menu outside, standing in front of it, Avni went back to the car. In the meanwhile the guy from the drive through, that had seen us approaching with the car the first time, started talking to his mic without getting any order and with me trying to tell him something …probably not even in english. He had to come out and check the situation, to be sure that we were not crazy people doing who knows what. Then it took us almost forever to make up our minds on what we wanted to eat (the jalapenos were amazing) and when eventually we ordered and got our food, he asked us about what were we doing made fun of us and even posed for me (pic 7).
A: When Caterina tried to take a picture of a couple at night and her flash went off. LOL. What a creeper. Kidding! That’s happened to me before, too…
One funny moment was when we ducked into a photobooth at a bar in the Mission and a random girl wanted to take a photo with us in the tiny booth, and while she was talking we were trying to take photos of her. Needless to say, both the photos of her and the photos of us came out horribly…
Oh but the funniest moment was probably around hour 19 and I was driving and this guy in a hoodie carrying a six pack of PBR crossed the road in front of us and I started shrieking, “Look! Look! Take a picture!!” and then poor Caterina started fumbling with the phone and he was gone, but then a few seconds later she yelled, “Look look a sun!!!” at a garden ornament. It’s funny how differently we all see things — and also how desperate we were at this point.
Q: Would you do it again?
A and C: Yes! We are about to do so in a few days…
Enjoy this post? Have a mobile experiment for us? Questions? Comment below!