In an innovative blending of street and studio photography, Tiberiu from MUMUS Photo Hub, a Romanian photography company, decided to experiment with separating the photographer from his subjects physically, while simultaneously bringing them closer to the process of shooting itself. In this video he and his team bring a portable studio setup, complete with a backdrop and two external flashes behind umbrellas, out to the streets of Bucharest. They use this to photograph passing pedestrians alone, in groups, and even with pets, from a balcony at a distance of 200 feet away and 5 stories up:
He uses what appears to be a Canon 30D with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens and a couple of high-power flashes – most likely 580EXes set up on radio transmitters. With his camera set to a 200th of a second at f/5.6, he fires off shot after shot of nearly anyone who passes by, continuing the experiment well into the evening. What comes out of this is a wonderful insight into the everyday sensibilities of the average Romanian, and all-around human reactions to being unexpectedly pulled out of one’s everyday world and cast in a spotlight.
The impromptu nature of this project, with its little informalities such as holding the background on a light stand, using two assistants as mobile backdrop stands, and having a crowd of collaborators talking, laughing, and posing alongside the passers-by, helps to put the subjects at ease and bring out their fun-loving nature, even amongst strangers.
The result is some very handsome and carefree portraits of people who clearly aren’t used to this sort of thing. This showcases the strengths of both types of photography used – the casual nature of street photography, photographing that which is often ignored or taken for granted (in this case, the strangers that surround us on the sidewalk every day), along with the closer, more detailed observation that comes out of the studio process, and of isolating a subject to view it with more precision. In this spirit, there are many ways that we can, in our own work, blend two contrasting ways of seeing into a unified whole, and begin to view the world from many perspectives other than the one we’re used to; this is, after all, one of the ultimate goals of the photographic process.
Next time you’re dreaming up a project, try asking yourself: what the is the opposite of what I’m doing, and how can I do both at the same time? Post in the comments below with your own ideas that explore the juxtaposition of style!
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