Featured Street Photographer #3 – Carmelina Pascoe

Next up is Carmelina Pascoe, a talented Melbourne based photographer who is also about to spend some serious time in a very photogenic New York City. Can’t wait to see what she shoots there!

Carmelina’s site and instagram feed are all exceptionally well curated, which makes them exciting and inspiring to visit.

Carmelina is on the interwebs here :

http://www.carmelinapascoe.com/

https://instagram.com/chapterandverse/

http://facebook.com/CarmelinaPascoePhotography

She uses black and white primarily to create wonderful images of the world around us all, interspersed with some colour shots that only make sense in RGB. Carmelina is also working professionally in photography, shooting events and portraits. Her portraits deliver on the whole “I don’t want to look posed” but “you have to pose for” genre perfectly. Next time I get married, I will be sure to give her a call! (BTW Mrs Melbournestreetphotography is a wonderful wife – just in case she is reading!).

She is a very thoughtful photographer – being able to explain the creative process is a skill not many of us possess. There are some great blog posts on her site, which I enjoyed reading. I would encourage her to write a bit more as I would love to hear more about her journey. Actively thinking through your technique and options is something I also recommend to everyone looking to develop their skills, and Carmelina has been kind enough to share her thoughts here :

Why Street Photography?

Quite simply,  people fascinate me.  Street Photography tells our story, it advises what it is to live in this time and place.  It is the documentation of our lives, albeit in my case with a little poetic licence.

What do you shoot with?

I began shooting street in mid September 2013 an iPhone5, but switched in May 2014 to a Canon 450D with a 50mm f/1.8 borrowed from a friend.  I moved to a Canon 7D later that year and added a 50mm f/1.4 and a 24-72 f/2.8 to my kit.

When shooting I will choose a lens and use that for the day as its less to carry, on occasion I will take both lenses.  Most of my shots are taken on the 50mm f/1.4 as I love the depth of field it produces.  Not to sound too preachy but the other weapon in my arsenal is respect.  I use it in all my shots.  I do not believe street photography should be an outlet for ridiculing others.  If I wouldn’t want myself in that photo, I wouldn’t take it.  It’s a privilege to shoot the streets, my subjects deserve the dignity and respect of me as a photographer and of the audience viewing them.

Your best tip?

Train your eye, work on the artistic quality of the photo.  Focus on the story in the photo, the composition, the lighting, the subject, they all go a long way to conveying the essence of the photo, and whilst we can’t change the sun, or the clouds or the crowds behind (or in front of) your subject, maybe there’s a way to take the shot that will give you a better result than what you first thought.  And to that end – practice, practice, practice!  Instead of taking one shot of a subject – take more, the hand movement or the tilt of a head, the angle or distance from which you take it, may make the difference in the shot.  See how you and your camera react in different circumstances.  Look outside the world of street photography, other genres, other art forms for ideas on lighting and composition.  I’ve found some amazing techniques using existing lighting when looking at sculptures or paintings, or even dancers performing on stage or the way a singer is lit in a smoky bar.

What’s your favourite “go to” spot?

Almost reluctant to tell you as it’s already crowded!  Sadly, I don’t get there anywhere near often enough but… Centre Place.  The natural light there is amazing and changes in fascinating ways throughout the day.  

What got you into Street Photography?

As I said earlier, people fascinate me.  Every person has a story to tell, everyone has a history.  When I was a child my mother would create stories about the people we would pass in the streets.  Some would make me laugh, some would sadden me and others would scare me.  It wasn’t long before we were creating conflicting stories for the same individuals and it made me realise that we all see the world differently, but it also made me realise that people have more than one story in them, no-one is two dimensional.  

When I look at art from the past, the images that stick in my mind are street or documentary in style.  It shows us how we live today and how our lives have changed.  It is a moving medium and genre in a way that others aren’t.  It also allows me to title my photographs with stories.   These are not the actual stories of the people in the photos, but my interpretation of their story as an observer.  Generally, they are stories that we can all relate to, or at the very least empathise with.  The human condition is truly inspiring.

So, let’s have a look at some of Carmelina’s images that I loved!

Axis-of-Attraction-FOR-WEB

everything-rested-on-his-next-move-for-WEB

The first two images are a great demonstration of Carmelina’s ability to “see” images all around her, and get the camera up quickly before the moment passes. There is only the quick and the dead in street photography. Moments are fleeting, and if you cannot get your camera up and the shutter firing quickly, you will miss images like these. The two guys mirroring each other in the first image would only have been there for a few seconds before crossing the road. Carmelina needed to spot the opportunity, frame it, and get the shot quickly.

The second image would have had a little more lead time, potentially. The image is made more interesting by the expression of the subject, and his hands, both of which would have shifted in a few seconds as well. I love the multiple planes of this image, with the chess pieces and the subject being in very different places in the image. They feel linked in some way, but yet separated by space and distance. Spooky.

Rebel-for-WEB

Perfect use of colour in an image. There is still a monochromatic feel to the image, but it is still in colour. Everything in this image just works so well… The diagonal lines of the lane, wall, and windows, starting at the subject and then converging to the right of the image. The contrast of the subject’s dress against the wall. The repetition of the window frames. Diagonal converging lines always seem to be a winner in images.

With-love-&-squalor-for-WEB

Another image featuring different planes. The main subject is almost in the “middle” of the frame, front to back. There are people in the foreground and background, none of which are interacting with him. You can almost feel how ignored the busker feels in this spot – people in the Flinders St subway are all in transit from one place to another, on a mission to a destination. Ain’t nobody got time for distractions. Not a great place to busk, I suspect…

Again, Carmelina has used lines effectively in the image to direct the viewer’s eye to the busker.

AS-You Walk Away

I often worry too much about exposure – getting a nice even light so you can see everything. Carmelina has created a deeply moving image by showing us less, rather than more. The main subject’s legs are lit and my eye travels from there up to her thoughtful face. It is only then that the second subject, moving away from her becomes visible. I start to wonder why he is leaving? Why isn’t she going with him?

Again, the diagonal line bisecting the image brings the water to life, and the story of the image is told along this line.

Thanks for spending some time with Melbourne Street Photography Carmelina!

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