Five Tips from Joel Meyerowitz

Alongside a preview of his new book, ‘Joel Meyerowitz: Where I Find Myself’, the photographer gives us a masterclass in the medium

  • TEXT Douglas Greenwood

New York City, 1965

New York City, 1965

The street has always been a place where life unfolds unexpectedly. For the past 56 years, American photographer Joel Meyerowitz has tried his best to capture as much of it as he can.

Now considered one of the founding fathers of the medium, Meyerowitz found himself at the epicentre of a movement when he first picked up a camera in early 1960s New York City. Shooting in colour was considered crass back then – used only for commercial purposes – but as it was all that he had to hand, he was able to capture the chaos and jubilance of a generation in crisp, vibrant detail. It would be the start of a highly influential career that saw Meyerowitz create some of the most admired collections of 20th century photography, including Cape Light, his series shot over a summer in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and his beautiful photos of shorelines at dusk in Bay/Sky.

Joel Meyerowitz: Where I Find Myself is the biggest published retrospective of his photography to date. Presented to the reader in reverse order, it chronicles Meyerowitz’s best work, from his sobering photos of a post-9/11 New York City in mourning to his romantic, mid-20th century shots of the carefree lives of those living in towns and cities across America.

“[It was] a bittersweet and yet fascinating experience to look at 50,000 photographs and say goodbye to most of them,” says Meyerowitz. All of that work brought him to where he is today. Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, he still continues to take still-life photographs of objects he finds in the junkyards of his Tuscan town.

New York City, 1975

New York City, 1975

Now, Meyerowitz says times have changed for street photographers – particularly those looking to capture an organic, fleeting moment. “[Back then], you could feel the sensual mix on the street,” he says. “Today, it’s very different. Most people have a cell phone to their ear, or are communicating – they think – with others. They’re somewhat distanced from the real world, so it’s not as sensual, erotic or playful as it used to be.”

That doesn’t mean modern photographers can’t adopt the style to make beautiful pictures, though. Here, Joel Meyerowitz shares five tips on how to take masterful, honest photographs of life on the street.

  1. Be prepared to act on impulse

  2. Ask yourself: ‘What am I doing out here?’

  3. Connect disconnected things

  4. Carve out your identity

  5. Be vocal

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VIDEO // Photographer PATRICK O'DELL

Many moons ago I stumbled upon this great website It consisted of a collection of short films on several Photographers, some famous and some not so. I don't know much more about the site as without warning the uploads stopped an as of about a year ago ... it has seaced to exist. 

Although the website has gone I have included below what images I was able to grab before it's demise. We will indevour to upload the remaining 10 shorts over the next 12 months or so

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INTERVIEW // Rinzi Ruiz

Full name : Rinzi Ruiz

City and country where you live : Glendale, California, USA.

How you started with street photography?

It started with a general interest in photography and while searching online for tips, tricks and gear reviews I found a few websites describing what it was and the work of people that did it. It was around the middle of 2009 if I remember correctly and when I started going out to practice it I was hooked. It combined two things I enjoy doing, exploring and taking pictures. I found that going out to take pictures relaxed me and provided me the outlet of creativity I felt was missing in my life at the time. I went out as much as I could on the weekends or after work on some days. It became a passion.

Why street photography?

Earlier on it helped me learn how a camera works and then it helped me figure out myself. At times there’s a lot of walking and then thinking and solving problems going on in my head. At times it’s just instinct. Observing different environments and how people move about and interact opened up my perspective of life. There’s a challenge to street photography of getting a really good picture and then a bit more challenging to get a really meaningful one. It continues to help me learn about the hows and whys and keeps being an activity that I enjoy doing so I keep doing it.


Be sure to follow streetzen and support his work!

BOOK REVIEW // Brisbane by Nick Bedford

Nick decided to put a few of his images into book format with Blurb. He has recently purchased a Leica M 240 and 35mm lens and basically is going ape crap every spare second he has. I was really interested to see how things turned out, so when today the book turned up I had to have a look. I asked Nick if he minded doing a quick post for our blog. As always he said yes, and then I let his arm go.
- Simon

BRISBANE by Nick Bedford - Book printed through

I've been doing street photography for about a year now, and I love the idea of producing a book to view my favourite photographs. There's nothing like looking at real prints!

This is actually a book test to see how the quality is and to get an idea of the page style that works. I want to spend another year taking street photographs before I consider a more realised book.

Blurb in Lightroom

I'd printed a book through Blurb a while ago, and with the Lightroom Books module I was able to build the book and get it printed through them directly.

As for the book itself, I opted for the 10x8" book with my photographs ending up at around 5x7 size. This gives you a nice margin and a viewing space like a gallery. In hindsight, I might opt for the hard cover next time as it would be easier to handle when looking at the pages.

I chose the Premium Matte paper option and this looks to be the best option as it still has a smooth and slightly glossy feel, but isn't "shiny".

Print Quality

The first thing I noticed is that the front and back glossy covers were not entirely B&W and were slightly blue toned. This is something I would much prefer to be truly B&W since there is actually no colour in these images...

The prints inside the book are however quite good and I can't seem to see any colour toning issues. They're both detailed and as rich and contrasty as the digital files.


I'm really happy with how this turned out. The price of these smaller books is only about $25-30 excluding postage for 22x 10x8" pages so it's great value, especially if you are only printing one or two for yourself.

The cover pages weren't perfect and I will definitely contact Blurb to see how I can rectify this next time around, but the prints inside the book are great.

I've made the book available for print at cost price for those interested grab one here

Introduction to Composition for Street Photography by Eric Kim

Eric is one of the most well-known street photographers out there, today. In his continues efforts to shoot and share, Kim has put out the full presentation he used in hisIntroduction to Composition for Street Photography talk at Gulf Photo Plus 2014

Gannon Burgett  


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Jason has a great blog 'Between the Sprockets' which really is worth a visit, he has sent us some images an an interesting article he wished to share with WECC. I for one am always ranting on about how great my old Nikon D40 and kit lens is, so was chuffed to read and see his results using a similar vintage camera. Cheers Jason much appreciated.

I'm always keen to let people know that their camera is not what is holding them back from taking interesting photos. With that in mind, I wanted to challenge myself to use the cheapest camera I could find to do some street photography. I walked out of the 2nd hand store with an $18 4.0 Megapixel Fuji S5500, a nearly 10 year old digital camera. The camera’s limited abilities definitely made shooting more difficult than I was used to, but once I had adjusted my expectations and settled on a setup that would get me the results I wanted, things ran smoothly.

I certainly missed some shots. The camera was limited to a maximum ISO of 200, so some shots in the shadows of the city demanded a shutter speed that would induce camera shake. There is a limit to how far you can push an old camera like this, and in this case it was simply a matter of learning the limits, and working within them. Once I was done, I processed them in Lightroom and The Nik Collection.
The ability to quickly adapt to the situation is important for a photographer, so I encourage all photographers to challenge themselves occasionally. Learn your limits, then push against them.
Flickr | Blog


New Yorkers know the feeling: pounding down the stairs against a flood of commuters spilling out of a subway car. The doors are open for a second, before they close shut, right in front of you. Every now and again, a miracle happens and a conductor will open the sliding doors again to let you dash onboard. A wave of gratitude washes over you--but for whom, exactly? The moment has passed.


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