I had the privilege of talking to a great mobile street photographer, Lee Atwell. She is in my opinion one of the best mobile street photographers I’ve seen. Lee’s photos are very noir with a touch of dreamscape to them. Her photo are timeless captures, where time stood still in a very dramatic way. I also love the elegant styles of Lee’s photographs. If you want to be a mobile street photographer then study these photos and engrained these photographs in your mind.
Firstly, I am very honored to be included in this feature – heartfelt thank you, Tina !!!
Lee Atwell’s Bio:
When I am not on my yoga mat or teaching at our yoga studio, I can often be found meandering in either rural or urban settings with my iPhone camera. I love capturing fleeting moments in photographs that highlight the beauty, fragility and transience of the world all around me. Often my photos have a classic and vintage quality to them created in part by the natural light of the environment and also by the apps I use.
Both my parents were avid outdoor photographers from the early 1950s, however, in that era they also took street photos of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where they lived. I started taking photos when I was a child and learned from my dad the magic, art and science of photography when a bathroom in our family home had been converted into a darkroom.
For the last several years, I have been captivated by the versatility and convenience of iPhoneography and currently use an iPhone 5s.
I feel very honored to have received several international photography awards and to have had photographs featured in publication, websites and web-magazines as well as having photos exhibited in several cities – in the USA, Canada, Italy, & Portugal.
Who are your influences?
I believe that what we are exposed to at an early age can have far-reaching effects on our experiences and what influences us as adults. When we sold our childhood home a few years ago and had to clear out all the cupboards, I was reminded of my photography influences as a child – specifically the “Photography Journals” (a yearly selection of the world’s greatest photographs compiled by the editors of “Popular Photography” magazine) from the 50s and 60s that my parents collected. I remember how much I enjoyed and admired the photos within those covers and so many images of street life, such as the ones by “Esther Bubley” captivated me then, and in reflection, still inspire me today.
Another book that I remember so vividly as a child in my parent’s collection was “The Sweet Flypaper of Life” with the photographs of Roy DeCarava, capturing the streets of Harlem in the 1950s. I adore how the images capture a time in history that has been permanently recorded through such thoughtful eyes. I also admire the way he captured the life of the ordinary person in such an extraordinary way.
Another photographer I am so curious about and am influenced by more recently is Vivian Maier. I am fascinated by her story and enthralled by her street photography. There is something so pure in her art expression as she was such a private person and took photos for taking photos sake.
Today, there are so many street photographers that inspire and influence me. I love connecting to artists (many who have become great friends) via FaceBook and Flickr where I find daily inspiration.
Mobile street photographers who inspire me:
…and so many others I hate not to include !!!
“TheAppWhisperer” has a wonderful street photography group for women entitled “Streets Ahead.” This collective of women street photographers from around the world is incredibly inspiring for me and I am honored to be a part of it. Flickr Group Streets Ahead
What are your favorite apps?
For street photography, I normally use black and white with the “Hipstamatic” app.
Hipstamatic – One of my first apps was “Hipstamatic” over 2 years ago, and what I love about it is the ability to change lenses, filters, and flashes to create images that to me feel very reminiscent of photography from eras gone by. I feel very drawn to vintage-looking photos – I think from my childhood years viewing my mom and dad’s photos and also their old “Photography Journals.”
Oggl – Provides the ability to change the “Hipstamatic” lens and films after the photo is taken. I am starting to use this app more and more for its versatility.
Snapseed – Post processing with Snapseed reminds me of being in a darkroom – where you are able to enhance an image by cropping, increasing the contrast, darken or lighten a particular area, for examples.
PhotoCopier – The “Photography” option in particular for street photos. There are many options here that give photos a vintage quality.
Stackables – I really find this app simple in it’s function – being able to create many layers to add more or less texture in particular areas of the photo.
Mextures – Especially the “Grunge”and “Emulsion” features – again for adding a vintage distressed look to street photos.
Where are your favorite places to shoot your photos?
My favorite place to take photos is Seattle – where there is so much diversity in architecture as well as cultural influences.
Are there other places you would like to visit and photograph?
Nowhere in particular, however, I do find that when I feel not very inspired, going to a new area in the city I have never been before, or going to a new city or town can be so exhilarating and really help get me out of creative slumps.
What makes great street photography?
This is such a difficult question as I think there are so many possibilities to the answer. However, in general, a photograph that captures one or some of the following – that makes the viewer pause; that captures a timeless “decisive moment” (Cartier-Bresson) that can never be repeated; that makes the viewer feel something in the heart, in the gut or viscerally; that has an air of mystery and or intrigue; that tells a story; that makes a viewer wonder what is happening; that has an interesting / unexpected point of view / perspective; that has high contrasts in light and shadow, colors and subject; that sometimes captures the extraordinary and that sometimes captures the ordinary in an extraordinary way; that captures someone partaking in an action or expressing an emotion; or a photo that inspires emotion in the viewer.
From the photographer’s perspective, I think that it is photography that – shares your view of the world around you; that feels like it is a continuation of you – extended out into the world (or vice-versa); and that feels like it has come intuitively from your soul.
If you would like to follow Lee and check out her Mobile Street Photography and other mobile works. Lee Atwell – media links are below.