Image copyright Mike Peters. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
With help from my good buddy Mark Toal, we started Mirrorless Monday to share great images from a wide variety of applications all captured with LUMIX cameras. Later the feature expanded to include the LUMIX Ambassadors and today's post is especially unique, thanks to Mike Peters.
I'm always looking for great images captured with LUMIX cameras. Mike sent me the image above and then in an IM conversation on Facebook, he gave me some of his background leading up to joining the Ambassador team. Well, sometimes the backstory behind an artist and an image is just as much fun as the photograph itself. I loved Mike's story, not just about this image, but his love for photographing people, the square format and the way his work captures and defines the human spirit.
Check out more of Mike's work with a click on his image above. And, check out the LUMIX Ambassador team. They're an incredibly diverse group, always sharing great content to help you raise the bar on your skillset.
Find out more about the LUMIX GH5 and the Leica 15 mm lens Mike used on this image with a click on the thumbnails below.
by Mike Peters
Many years ago when I began to shoot on the street I was using a Rolleiflex, and then a Hasselblad. I used those cameras specifically because I wanted to shoot square. Why square, because I shoot for clients, and they all want rectangles. When I look at the world through a square viewfinder, I know that I’m shooting for myself and I can immediately shift gears to a more personal approach to my work. I like that the square is neutral, not this or that, just what it is - kind of like my photographs.
I like my personal work to be very unlike the commercial work where I make pretty pictures to tell uplifting stories for my clients. The work I do for myself is more a reflection of the reality that I see, and an expression of how I feel about that.
Photographing on the street gives me an opportunity to find people in whom I see something familiar, and to find their universal humanity in their specificity. We all have stuff. We all want the same things in life, to love and be loved. And within each of us is the capacity to be both very good and very bad people.
Finding people where they are in public places, I look for those who express the honest and unvarnished truth about themselves. I am bearing witness to their existence, acknowledging their presence at that particular place and time. We were there, together. The photograph is the proof.
I don’t really consider myself a street photographer in the classic or most popular sense. I photograph people on the street and in public spaces. My focus is on the people and their character and personality, along with the way they express themselves. I see these images that I make more as spontaneous portraits.
I saw this particular woman while walking across 42nd Street in NYC. I noticed that she was quite unusual in her presentation as she passed by me. So I turned around and walked quickly to get in front of her, far enough so that I could stop and wait. I saw the Broadway Magic sign and knew that it would be perfect.
I had one opportunity to nail the shot; she was walking towards me, so I cranked up the shutter speed in shutter priority, and auto ISO, and made the shot f1.7 @ 1/4000 ISO 1250 with the Leica 15mm on a GH5 using multi area focus in the single shot mode. The 15mm is the fastest focusing lens that I’ve ever used and I knew the focus would be nailed in this situation.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.