Daily Inspiration #191 by Zheng Wang

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your hard work at providing all Leica shooters a great place to keep up to date with

reviews, communicate with others and most important of all getting inspirations. I have been

following your site for a bit more than a year or so, and it has become my daily habit.

I have been shooting with rangefinder on and off for a while, started with a Chinese Phenix 205E,

then migrated to Bessa R and now M8 and M7. I never shot any street until I came across yours

site, which got me started in street photography, and have been addicted to it ever since. I thought

I share some of my street shots with the viewers of yours site, all taken with a M7 + 50mm

summicron + Tri X film. Hopefully I can get some criticisms and comments to improve my


Thanks again for your hard work.

My Flickr link is http://www.flickr.com/photos/36971492@N06/

Anyone is welcom to visit and criticise.

Best Regards

Zheng Wang


  1. Zehng, absolutely, just study other great works. I took a workshop with Constantine Manos, check out his greek portfolio. That is a great example of some amazing images, composed perfectly and well executed. You learn by doing and analysing. I also shoot with an M7 and a 50 mm combo. Perfect street camera, and you won’t get the crap kicked out of you in the process, unlike a DSLR. And don’t crop, force yourself to shoot full frame, because if its not shot correctly, cropping does nothing. This kind of discipline will pay off in time. Good job.


  2. Zheng, if you want to improve your photos check out Barnstone Studios and the study of design. All the information is there on the DVD set that is offered on composition. And HCB used two root 4 rectangles overlapped to compose his images. Composition is everything, without it, no picture has integrity. As far as not “understanding street photography” i think thats a too vague comment, its really life photography. And if you can’t understand that, you’ve been photographing too many studio portraits, which in my opinion are dull as dirty dishwater.

    • Thanks Jim, I will check them out. I guess “understanding” is aquired by learning, as in my case, where my “understanding” and interest spur from looking and learning from other’s street photos.

    • if i am not mistaken, HCB said something about photography being about the instantaneous alignment of the mind, the eye and the heart.

      turning the outside world into a series of mathematical configurations sounds like an extension of studio photography, and in a sense defeats the ‘essence’ of the street. as does trying to replicate the personal vision of another human-being. flickr is bursting with millions of examples of folks trying to emulate and continue the HCB legacy- almost always falling short, because in their quest for composition they forgot about content. attempted to create rather than capture a moment. i suppose, the trick is to be able to do both, something which unfortunately for us mortals, is reserved for the masters.

      imho… a picture, whatever category it falls into, needn’t be understood, but should be felt. the emotion of the moment, is for me what ‘street’ photography is all about. composition should be used to heighten or illuminate the magic in the content of the captured moment, not be the content itself. i see thought going into these pictures, which is a good place to start, but they are forgettable, because they don’t connect with anything in my heart.

  3. hi simon, thanx for the advice, its my intention to stick to 50mm as well.
    And film camera gives me great appreciation in the excitement of waiting for the result, as well as training me to think more before pressing the shutter.

    Hi jay, i totally understand what u r saying, i didnt understand street photos either before i follow this site. Then i learnt to appreciate them more as i read the posts by steve and the others. My photos r not good examples of street photography, but if u look at photos others took on this site, u will find them more interesting, and discover little interesting details the more u look at them.

    • Hey Zheng – Dont sell yourself short – your photos are spectacular and are great examples of street photography (art) – in my opinion. Art is interpreted and liked by others in different ways and for me your images are inspiring – so to each his/her own. Keep doing what you are doing (I am a happy ‘customer’ of your creativity; so that is even better).

      Technically and compositionally your photos are great, artistically – that is in the eye of the beholder, whereas we all evaluate art in our mind’s eye with the concept, โ€œI know it when I see itโ€. All subjective and therefore no one is wrong. Keep your head up, no reason to trash your work to compare to greater street work; your work is strong and stands on its own.

  4. I guess I should like these images, but they just remind me of why I don’t like “street” photography. Neither one of these images manages to capture my attention for more than a second – I just don’t see why I should care about a random chick at a Shisheido counter at the local Macy’s. It’s not like the image is revealing some deep secret about the human condition or capturing a “decisive moment”.

    Maybe I just don’t *get* street photography.

  5. I like all the images, and have to say no 1 is amazing. I love the complex composition and the framing of the poster, which is being almost mimmicked by the woman. Perfect reflection here too. Nice work!!!!

  6. Very nice photographs. Must have been great to shoot and then after developing them find such great results ๐Ÿ™‚ my fav is the last one. Mysterious…

  7. Three moments in time beautifully captured. I especially like the first one for the way in which it encourages the viewers eye to move to and fro between the three women in the picture. Well done!

  8. Thanks for the criticism and comments, I will try my best to improve my skills by learning from all the posts in steve’s site.

  9. Zheng, great stuff just keep shooting, shooting, shooting,

    The more you shoot the more comfortable and familiar you will become with the camera. Being comfortable with whichever camera set up you chose is very important, it helps your mind relax and allows your eyes to notice the bigger picture in front of you.

    Image taking is simply the ability to recognize parts of the whole world around you, nothing more. We all hope our images may reveal something unique, a unique picture can reveal something that we may not have been aware of before. When your comfortable you are aware without the distractions of the process of taking a pictures, and have a better chance of capturing the unique within the mundane.

    My advice would be to stick with the M7 and 50mm lens and just keep taking pictures, your images will evolve and have their own unique style. Something we all aim for in our photography.

    I look forward to seeing more images in the future


  10. thanx for the criticism and comments, i will try my best to improve my skills by learning from the daily inspirations on this site. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Zheng – The first one has many dimensions to it and to me it is successful showing the excess of marketing, beauty, etc. The second is very dreamy and surreal. ย That book he is holding takes on a new meaning. Makes me wonder what secrets it holds. The third one, like the first, is very multidimensional. I love how the reflection masks the woman’s face perfectly. It allows the viewer to wonder about her. I like the depth in all your photos, great job – truly inspirational.

  12. Tri-X has such a great “street” look. Sort of a perfect balance between smoothness and grain. I like the repeating boxes of #1 a lot along with the echo of the poster face and hand position and the real girl’s face and hand position. I’m a long way from expert in any kind of photography, but the proportions there also seem quite classic (which is surely a characteristic of Mssr C-B, learned, as Jim points out, in classic art classes and despite his strong affinity for and connections with the surrealists, always a component even of his photojournalistic work).

    As for number two, I can’t comment much. If you were trying to hem him in, you succeeded; but it’s too tight for my taste. I’m sure others’ milage will vary.

    But I’m with Bjorn on the third. I think it is very strong. Again, all the repeating boxes and the woman’s face and hand in squares (or nearly) from the reflected background, with the squarish magazine in between. If I’d do one thing to it (were it mine) I’d crop it (HCB is spinning in his grave) from the top at the window frame. That would put the woman’s boxed face and hand nearly at intersecting thirds, balanced by the wineglass (and the background box just beyond it) nearly at the top of an equal sided triangle and allow the widowbox to anchor the whole a bit more. I think that would give it even more classic compositional keys, although many street shooters might complain it would then be too static and boring. Like I say, milage varies, but cropped or framed as is, that’s one classy picture of one classy looking lady! (Do think she’d let me buy her a second glass of wine?)

    Nice, nice work, Zheng. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Steve for posting. Gotta love these inspiration posts!


  13. The first shot is nice, the other two I don’t get. Not sure if i would say Magnum but the first shot compositionally is good. However, Magnum website is a great place to see some great photographs, type in Henri Cartier Bresson and it will bring up 1000 images. Study his work and his composition. He studied as a painter under Andre Lhote, which clearly transfered over to his photographs.

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