Today we will be seeing different subjects within different locations and cities, through Yousef Al Nasser’s EYE (Lens). How he captures each moment is beautifully captured! They see the world differently.
Why do you take photos?
I take photos because I feel that everyone should get the opportunity to see the world and sights I’ve seen in the light that I saw them. I feel that everywhere I go is somewhere interesting rather than beautiful or ugly. It’s how you take the picture that shows you what it’s like.
What kind of gear do you use?
I am a Nikon camera user, Nikon D7100 to be precise, and use Sigma and Tamron lenses. Fantastic lenses allowing me the opportunity to capture exactly what I want no matter what. And only recently I got myself a Sony Alpha A6000 for street photography. A fantastic camera!
Which is your favorite lens? Why?
My favorite lenses are prime lenses. They make me become more creative with moving around, closer or further from the subject without allowing me to zoom in our out. They’re great!
When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?
When I’m traveling I take a main backpack with a good set of lenses, such as 4 or 5, then also pack a small carry around camera bag, allowing me to take 2 lenses with me on walks.
In the field, what are your settings?
Depending on what kind of shoot I’m doing the settings will clearly differ. If I’m out on a set up in one location I’ll have my tripod with me for sure so I’m easily comfortable and ready to be there for a long time. Talking about street photography in particular my standard set up to be safe is ISO 400, Shutter Speed 1/250, F 5.6
What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.
Adobe Lightroom is my go to program. I don’t allow myself to use Photoshop as the availability for so much manipulation lies at your fingertips. I stick to color correction and work with the highs and lows of the photo.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I read and read and read post all day, almost every day, on simple tips and tricks and facts for photography in every field of photography.
Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why? (Attach an Image)
This photo is my favorite. There was no manipulation to this photograph. I used a gradient Lee filter allowing me to darken the shadows even more on the right where it was already dark. The sun was just breaking through that light part of the sky. And the lighting had just hit at the right time.
Whose work has influenced you most?
Ansel Adams is definitely my favorite photographer. His skill with light in his photography and the use of shadows to put texture onto his photos is incredible. I aim to be able to take photos of his calibur.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
I wish I knew how great it was to take photos. I wish I had started earlier!
What does ‘street photography’ mean to you?
Street photography is unveiling the hidden secrets of the places we all know and don’t know about. As simple as that.
What first drew you to street photography?
The mystery that was around every corner is what made me feel drawn to street photography.
What do you think makes a memorable street photograph?
There are many different elements that make a good “street photograph”. The shapes involved, the colors, the lack of colors, and the textures in the shot, the people, and the lack of people. It’s capturing unique moments that make them all great.
How does black and white vs color play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or complementary?
Black and white photos allow the shapes and figures in the photo to come through more clearly, whereas color should be used if the colors in the shot need to be seen to complete the feel of the image. I always shoot in black and white on the streets but when looked at in post-production they are in color format so I can make the final decision.
For you how important is content versus form in street photography. Do you think for you one plays a stronger role than the other?
Content and form are both as important as each other. The image has to be comforting to look at and also interesting to look at.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
I want people that see my photos to think more about what’s around them and how interesting things actually are. We all get so carried away with life that we don’t get to see everything else. This is my way of reminding people to look around once in a while.
What do you think are some clichés in street photography you steer away from yourself?
I don’t think there are any cliché’s to stay away from. Cliché’s are made usually because they’re done a lot. And something done a lot must have merit and a reason as to why it’s repeated so often. So if you find yourself in a situation where it feels like something you’d typically see in street photography, take it. Yours could be the next big one!
What were the difficulties you encountered first starting street photography?
Having the eye to spot things that are worth photographing is difficult to get the hang of at first. It takes a lot of time, just hanging out on the streets waiting for stuff to fall into place can take hours.
Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you?
Adam Darius, Richard Sandler, Jana & JS, Brian Sparks. They aren’t classic photographers but they are definite inspirations.
When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
A lot of my photography is instinctual over planned. I do have planned photographs but in my opinion the best photos are ones you are lucky to capture. They give them that little bit more uniqueness.
What are your thoughts on working on single images versus projects?
I like working on both one idea of a single image, then I also like spending time on a single project, taking days or weeks to complete one goal and create a small work of art.
What are your thoughts and feelings about shooting individually (versus shooting with a friend or small group of friends) when out on the streets?
I definitely prefer shooting alone as it gives me the ability to take my time wherever I am and if I need to, I can pack up and leave for a new location whenever I want to.
How has social media played a role in your photography?
Social media is amazing these days! I’m so happy to be able to share my photos with people. I have no negative opinion on the use of Social Media for things such as art. The more that get to see it the better!
What are some tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started street photography all over again?
Keep hooting and always carry a camera.
Do you take photos more for yourself—or for others?
I take photos for myself. Then I share them with anyone I can! If they enjoy my work they are more than welcome to look at the rest! I am a photographer with the goal of making as many people as I can see the world the way we’ve forgotten about it.