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Tuesday, 18 December 2018


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Is it just me that find the urge to crop the reader photo so that is more balanced?
Please consider this a question and not a critique to this excellent photographer.
I just finished working on a set of photos where choosing the right framing when shooting was not an option and I cropped most of them with no regret.

“If you start cutting or cropping a good photograph, it means death to the geometrically correct interplay of proportions. Besides, it very rarely happens that a photograph which was feebly composed can be saved by reconstruction of its composition under the darkroom’s enlarger; the integrity of vision is no longer there.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson

I put All Rights Reserved on my photos in Flickr as a "please ask before using this photo".

Unfortunately, many online publications treat the NC (Non-commercial) clause of Creative Commons as the license to freely use photos to illustrate any kind of "editorial" content. Great if it's a photography blog like yours, not so great if your photo ends up in a more contentious corner of the internet.

I'm sure many (most?) Flickr users would be happy and quick to permit use in this context when asked.

Great find!

I know from personal experience that some digital cameras have a difficult time rendering detailed highlights of dark-skinned people photographed under direct sunlight, even when shooting raw and with slight underexposure. Not only do the Panasonic G9 and GX9 not appear to have this problem, they seem to handle hard lighting quite well. This could be one of the reasons you like this sensor so much. If I am putting words in your mouth, please spit them out and replace them with words of your own.

Fearless is certainly the word to describe Mr. Striewski. Marvelous images. Thanks for sharing.

"All Rights Reserved" is default on Flickr, but I think many photographers will give you permission if you ask.

Why didn't you put a link under your mention of "Ground Time" in this post?
I bought it on your previous recommendation and I think it is really good work.

Why do you consider Flicker photos tagged "All Rights Reserved" to be off limits? Why not just ask for permission from the photographer?

[It's a hassle. Most people don't monitor their Flickr accounts. I once asked a guy for permission on some site or other and two YEARS later he got back to me saying he had just seen it. He asked me what image I was interested in. After two years, I had no clue! --Mike]

Interesting mix and match: the camera is the G9 (which I just bought myself), but all the lenses are Olympus.

I think maybe Peter Turnley learned about getting in close from Robert Capa. ;-)

OT but I think we need an updated photo of the red chair.
We haven’t seen it for some time now.

All Rights Reserved is the default on Flickr. I suspect most Flickr users don't even realise they can change it.

Hi Marco- No. I like the picture within a picture framing of the 2 windows plus the room, which would be lost if you cropped. Interestingly, I am having the same debate with a curator for an exhibition next year - she prefers tightly framed subjects whereas I find that too easy, and prefer my images to have multiple points of interest. Bear.

"All Rights Reserved"

I know that many art directors or graphic designers use Flickr or other sources when they need specific images. So for commercial reasons. Stock agencies might not have the image that is appropriate. And sometimes it is simply impossible or too expensive to send a photographer to the other side of the world. Flickr can bring the solution, but it is fair that the photographers should be payed for it.

Tremendous set of work.

As Alex-Virt said, it's the default and one most Flickr-ites stick to to avoid their work being abused.

But most would be happy for a blog like yours to reproduce - how much of a hassle can it be to ask?! 2 minutes to send a Flickr PM (to which the user will normally be alerted by an email IIRC - not quite sure of the notification defaults) and if it's not answered you are no worse off!

Incidentally the defaults did not stop one of my images being blogged, without my permission but they did include attribution so I didn't mind too much even if it was a bit naughty. Nor did it stop another being used by a Turkish building company on their website without permission or payment. I was a lot less pleased with that.

I’ve been enjoying going through all his albums and comparing the different cities. His small album of best shots does not contain his best work, not close.

In this shot from his home town of Munich you can see his method.

Menschen im Olympiapark Sommer 18 - Party im Park (81).jpg

One for the "It must be colour" selection. Very nice use of colours.

'Tis indeed a very engaging body of work. Mr. Striewski is clearly "close enough" to his subjects...maybe a bit too much in some cases, as he has become an unseen part of many of the pictures.

Whenever I see a strong set of images like this I can't avoid wondering what set an independent editor might have harvested from the photographer's full set of images. What presentation, for example, would an experienced image editor at NG have assembled? I'm sure even Mr. Striewski would like to see that.

It is quite interesting that he uses almost exclusively the Olympus 17mm f1.8, a lens that was coldly received by many. Lenstip even said "This lens is not exactly a successful construction and it should have been thought out better ... I could even call it ill-considered".
In top of that he usually works with apertures bellow f8 and I hear the "experts" saying you shudn't go bellow f8 with M43 lenses, diffraction is horrible. Well, this guy proves that photography is not technology but vision and sensibility. The latest in sharpness, bokeh and gadgets is for the newly initiated.

"which makes me wonder how many great photographers are out there working away without anyone knowing or seeing their work."
Many. Many.

OK, you've convinced me, I've changed the licenses of all my images.

Wow! Just amazing. Say what you like, but when a talented enthusiast can share images like that with the world, it gives me hope for the future of photography.

It's only when I look at how few likes he has that I slide back into my usual state of cynicism ;-)

Well, there's still a problem with the license: the NC (non-commercial) clause used in this CC license technically prohibits the use on websites that could be considered commercial - and for that assumption, some ads (like the ones that can be seen on TOP) might be sufficient.
In the U.S., there's the fair use clause, but in Europe there's the danger some layer might use the ads as a pretext to claim they violate the NC clause and sue. In fact, I never ever use NC labeled pictures on my blog; the risk is there – although most photographers using the NC license probably won't mind editorial use and just want to prohibit the use in advertising etc.

I have a followup question, Mike: why do you describe Striewski's style as loose? To me, he has a disciplined and deliberate, ie. tight, style of composition. Two things stand out to me:

1. The separation and isolation of his subjects so they stand out very clearly. They don't overlap, and they're composed against backgrounds that don't compete with them.

2. The cleanliness of his frame edges. With 1 or 2 exceptions in his album, the frames edges are very clean, with elements either not cut off, or cut off in a purposeful way.

Loose composition makes me think more of the classic Japanese street photographers like Daido Moriyama and most rangefinder shooters where the frame edges are difficult to visualize.

I kinda wondered why we needed further confirmation on how badly the other half of the world lives.

That benighted sub-continent has been photo-pillaged so many times... there's something distasteful to me in this kind of photography that bangs on and on about poverty, dreadful living conditions and squalor; I lived in India for eight years, and Bangladesh used to be India - and I can tell you that there is a lot more uplifting imagery out there if people care to use it. I'm really surprised this sort of stuff can still gets aired, especially since it's so old hat.

Why dwell on the bleakness at the cost of everything else? You're not gonna change a damned thing by playing wannabe reporter in there on your stopover. All, it does for me is come over as exploitative opportunism. The people are generally very polite to strangers; try your arm in some parts of urban Britain, instead, if you want to play hero.


An excellent set indeed. My biggest surprise was the technical image quality despite the often high ISO settings used - even in good light. It just goes to show that Ralph has a far better eye for composition and colour than me!

Rob Campbell's comment is spot on.

I'm glad you featured a candid photography portfolio, and technically it's just fine. But in terms of content, compare this to my colleague TC Lin who mostly shoots in his home Taiwan, and the difference in sensitivity is striking. I know this is slightly unfair because Ralph didn't ask to be featured (at least I assume he didn't), but to me at least it seems a disservice to call this street photography.


In general I’d agree but in this case I completely disagree w Rob Campbell’s comments. . I don’t think he is looking at these photos. Or seeing the people and their vitality captured so brilliantly. My hat is off to this unheralded photographer.
I do think in most photos of Third World his comments are spot on.
Good topic for future column Michael?

Dear John Krumm, the Riboud photo is a great one. It can easily be mistaken as being taken on a train but he was in fact inside an antique shop in Beijing. He has a story about it somewhere. The people on the street were looking in at him as Westerners were rarely seen in China in the mid 1960s.

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