Daily Inspiration #286 by Miguel Angel Prieto

Hi Steve!

Here I send you 2 pictures I made walking the streets of London with my M9 and the 35mm ASPH (2nd and 3rd shots).

I love this camera more everyday, how it becomes an extension of your hand most of the time. I’m sticking with the 35mm and I’m learning a lot of the results.

The 1st one is was shot in Madrid with the X100, another wonderful tool for the streets, but the M9 is my girl…

I hope you like them.

Here you can see more pictures if you like, even some iphoneography:

www.framed.es
www.framed.es/iphoneography
500px.com/timetraveller

Thanks a lot and congratulations for your website (again 🙂 )

Miguel Angel Prieto

 

49 Comments

  1. Hi Miguel, For what its worth I had to spend a good deal of time looking at image 2 before I could figure out what was disturbing me about it. Please note I say disturbing me not distressing as there is something in the image that is dissonant or unearthly. And then it came to me, the image seems to me to be a dark, noir, photographers view of magical realism. I purposely have not been to your site yet as I like to consider each image distinctly and on its own merits, but I will check it out later.

    Thanks for putting your work out there Miguel.

  2. Thank you for the interesting shots. The images are of a London I can relate to and yet will make me look again at what is going on the next time I’m there.

  3. Miguel,
    Having read most of the comments and dialog, I guess I’ll add my 2 cents worth. The 2nd photo speaks to me. I have seen skies as dramatic — and possibly foreboding — as the one you captured. I feel there is a tension between the two people, pushed further by the birds in flight. Maybe the two people do not know each other; maybe they will get to know each other. Maybe he will say something to pull her out of the darkness. Maybe nothing further happens between them and each will simply turn and walk away in different directions. This shot is like a chapter in a novel (to go back to the comparison to literature) — it is a moment very well phrased (developed), with something perhaps coming next. Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, I am have been shooting with Leica M cameras since 1962, and now have an M9. Loving it.

  4. Hi again to all,

    After all this conversation, I’d like to make a few things clear, so they don’t get lost and dispersed among several comments up here.

    First of all, I’d like to thank to Steve for featuring my work here and more importantly, for creating this section in his blog, which has allowed me to know several great photographers and extraordinary people, as well to exchange opinions with many of them and learn lots of thing about this great art that I love.

    Secondly, I’d like to clarify that I appreciate a lot the time that all people has taken to see my pictures, think about them and make a comment with their impressions. The fact that I strongly disagree with some of them, don’t change the fact that I’ve just stated. I read all, good and bad, think about it and make my own conclusions.
    I think I can disagree, even with some temper, and at the same time, be grateful for the reasons I’ve said before.

    I appreciate most of all, the comments made with honesty, humble and passionate, which, all be said, are the most complete. Those who in their comment has talked about composition,feelings they’ve got, and, why not PP, all together are the best for me.

    I guess that what I really don’t understand is that people who take their time to see the pictures and fill the response form, and they just say: “there’s an halo there…” Just one sentence like that after taking all that time and effort in seeing the pictures. I would never do such a thing, I’d probably use the opportunity to point another things out too, good and bad, as many of you have done. But that’s just me.

    And, as in many other forums, there’s always people (trolls) who only look for attract attention with their comments, because they’re too bored, have problems with their wives, sons…or just need to go to the schrink. We all know who they are and how they act, and don’t deserve much attention. But I hate the way they twist words and make other people get angry and confuse about my comments.

    So, once again, thanks for taking your time, I invite you to visit my website and see more examples of my work that I hope you like and if you wish to drop me an email to exchange opinions, I’ll be more that happy to answer them.

    In the meantime I’ll keep on shooting and trying to learn as I’ve done until now.

    best wishes and peace.

  5. Over-processed… Under-processed… who cares? The images are engaging and THAT is what photography should be (to me, at least). Thank you for sharing these with us Miguel Angel… I went to your “framed” site and there I found more wonderful and powerful images that similarly are “over-processed” … what a joy it was to see more of your work. Your work has a powerful style and no matter what gear you use… pure poetry.

    Que bien lo haces, tio !

    Hope the Spanish voting today inspires more such resonant images… Venga, suerte!

    Jorge

  6. I understand Miguel’s explanation on the processing (well, not completely, as he says why he does it, but not what he does) and respect his approach, but it makes it difficult for me to see the “real” picture. But then, I wasn’t there so I don’t know what Miguel saw.

    Anyway, I agree with the view that the heavyhanded pp makes the camera/lens combo used totally irrelevant. Which actually doesn’t matter at all, because why shouldn’t Miguel use the equipment he likes?

      • These people just paid an inordinate amount of money for a camera. Let them feel good. The camera matters most. How dare you — or any operator — suggest how the image should appear.

  7. I guess the point everyone’s trying to make here is that if you shoot a Leica, why do you process so much?

    If you’re already using an M9+35 cron combo (the “latest & greatest” for most of us), aren’t the pictures straight out-of-camera enough for your taste? If so, why did you buy the pair? When you could’ve bought just the X100 and post process to your hearts content and not receive so much criticism.

    I mean, let’s face it, the X100 shot (1st one) is overprocessed but it didn’t receive much comment. You’re getting all this bad comments because you “over processed” your M9 shots. Had it been any other cameras, people would have easily shrugged it off because the norm is, buy a cheaper camera, you need to process more. That’s reality and people’s mentality.

    • I think it’s been explained in comment 8. I process to show what I visualized, and that has nothing to do with the equipment I used. The out-of-camera pic, as you call it, it’s just a negative, it’s not what I saw and want to tell. I don’t think it’s that difficult to understand.

      I bought tha M9, because I’ve always used Leica M’s equipment for its many advantages: size, picture quality, feeling in the hand etc (I explain it in the post if you read it).

      Why should I process “less” as you say, because of the camera used???? When I shot tri-x, I sometimes shot ant iso3200 and developed with rodinal, which gave me a harsh and grainy image, and nobody told me that I was underusing my equipment, it would be a nonsense, as I think it is in this case. We’re talking about pictures, the equipment it’s not relevant, and of course you’re not supposed to use your pictures in a particular way just because you used a particular camera.

      I’ve seen grainy pictures coming from an M9, as I’ve seen wall-sized landscape pictures with a lot of definition, almost up to a Medium Format picture. It depends on the photographer, not the opposite way. I don’t depend on my tool to define my style, is the way around.

      And “process so much”, it’s your opinion, I process what I process, with my reasons and feelings, it’s not much or less, it’s just what it is (I’ve written this like 10 times today,pffff)

      • So you want to tell us those white halos aroung the lamps? Then indeed your pp is spot on. Otherwise its as aggressive as your replies. We didnt look after your pic, you put it on this site. If you intend to cook, you should stand the steam in the kitchen.

      • I was NOT saying your pictures are “over processed”. I was just trying to collaborate everyone else’ comments here. And trying to state a fact that the norm / people’s mentality is when you shoot Leica (atleast the digital M’s for most part), you are getting the “latest & greatest” picture of all 35mm format cameras and thus needs less processing.

        **The quotations were placed to emphasize that these were NOT my words. Just a mere reiteration of collective sentiments previously stated.

        • My bad, kurt, sorry about that.

          Anyway, your comment about digital M’s has served to give you my point of view about equipment, and why, in my opinion, it should not determine the look/style of the photograph by itself. I agree that mentality about Leica M’s exist, but I think that it’s a wrong approach.

          Thank you

  8. Thanks for the nice comments.

    I understand this is a blog about cameras mainly, but I find in this one and in other posts too many comments regarding only to technical aspects, which is fine, but in my opinion, photography is much more than that, actually technique is nothing without the moments we try to capture. And I find that those moments doesn’t matter for many people around here, they just see pixels, buttons and sliders. I respect that, but I don’t share it, for me, photography is about other things.

    Having said that, I’d like to point some things out, and for that I’d like to use Literature as a comparison.
    When we read a novel, a short story or a poem, what catch our minds and hearts are not the words themselves, the number of points and commas, or the number of adverbs, what arises emotions inside us, is the story and most importantly, what this story (verses in the case of poems) make us feel.

    If I had the chance to meet a writer, I certainly won’t ask about how many paragraphs did he use, or how many adjectives, and how that amount of words bothered me or not…I’d ask about the story,share comments about how I felt, what emotions did it recall inside me etc.

    So, coming back to photography, when I look at a picture I don’t see sharpen masks, contrast amounts, or levels…I try to look deeper, and when I do, sometimes, the picture touches me, sometimes it doesn’t. If it does, I wonder why, what’s in the picture, in what position, why people in the picture seems frightened, sad, or happy, I wonder what’s around them out of the frame. But what I never wonder is how much contrast is there, how many layers were used in photoshop or things like that.

    As I said at the beginning, I appreciate your comments, those regarding the image themselves: composition, emotions etc. I respect other comments, but don’t share them at all.

    Besides, just to add a personal note on technique, it’s not a matter of too much or too little, that’s not opinable. When I “process” a picture ( I word that I hate by the way, I prefer the word used in traditional photography) I recall how I saw the scene when it was taken, and try to put there. So when I look at a finished picture, it certainly looks as I visualized in my mind it when I took it.

    So, “technique people”, if you don’t like the levels, or whatever sliders you use, it’s OK, but it’s not much or little, it is what it is, and if I had to process the picture again I’d do it the same way, because it’s how I visualized it when I took it.

    I bet you don’t go to a painter and say: “hey man, I like you painting, but there too many red there…” “hey man, I like your painting, but don’t you think that there’s too many black colour on that corner??”

    I’d find it, simply ridiculous, but hey, it’s a free world, do what you want, I prefer look at another things.

    Thanks again to those that looks deep and looks for emotions. I’d be very happy if one of my images makes you feel any emotion, even confusion as someone said in a comment.

    peace!

    • Hear hear! I totally agree Miguel. Well said, and I think your analogy to a book and its author is spot-on. Hemingway used the word “and” too many times, in comparison to what we were taught at school. And we loved him for it. One of Mozart’s great works was said to have “too many notes”. I agree with you: photography is about evoking emotion and stirring the heart. Break the rules as much as we like – the heart knows when it is touched.

    • .
      Well said, Miguel! Your heart sees it; your finger squeezes the button. What great pictures in ‘framed.es’.

    • i like the moments, but i think the reason they’re knocking your technique is because its distracting. im curious to see what these look like without as much post processing.

      you have a leica m9 and 35 cron, let them shine through!

      • Miguel, Your last shot is excellent! I don’t understand your note on technique being not opinionable though. It definitely is, and this could be a learning moment. Good luck developing your skills with these beautiful tools!

    • I totally agree people should focus on the moment and not worry about kit and pixel peeping, but the remarks you mentioned were about your PP not about your ability to capture a moment. If you are only interested in the moment, why use any PP? A purist may see any alterations to images as detracting from what the camera and your eye originally saw.

      • Martin, David. Thanks a lot!

        josh. Again, it’s not: too much or too little, it is what it is. Try to go to a painter and tell him: i’d like to see how your painting looks without as much green on that part”
        But, believe me that I appreciate, listen and think about any comment, it’s just I prefer to talk about another things.

        DJDLV Photography is not about what your eye sees, but about what your mind sees, how you visualize it. I use PP, as any photographer to show that visualization. A purist has to print a negative,right?? Or does he hang a negative of tri-x on the wall?? think about it.
        What the camera records (RAW) is just a Negative, I develop it to show the moment “I saw”.

        • i dont mind heavy processing in photography and i think shot three is tremendous. i was just a little thrown by number two where the processing seems sloppy. arguably you could tell a painter that their technique is sloppy and they could reply that it contributes to the final message, but in number two i dont think it has that same merit.

          and you could tell a painter that there is too much green in a certain part, its just that theyre stuck without the luxury of a raw or a negative 😛

        • No need to be facetious about the tri -x, or to get so defensive. I am not a purist and I use PP a lot in my work and agree with everything your saying about moments, art and PP, I was just commenting on the off putting halo’s. Sorry if I caused offence, but I believe people were simply mentioning the elephant in the room.

          • I didn’t mean to make a joke about the tri-x and printing, I tried to point you out with a graphic comparison, as you’ve understood, that there’s always been PP in photography.

            It’s an element more in the photography, as is the film used, the developer, the lens, etc..it’s just another tool that you can use to form your style, as a painter decides wether to go with oil, acrylic, watercolour, use paper or canvas..

            My point during all this comments has been that only one element/variable between hundreds in a work shouldn’t form the 90% of an opinion about a picture.
            You didn’t cause offence at all, as I don’t think I’ve used a bad tone with any of you.

            Just tried to explain my point of view, maybe with too much passion, but that’s how I feel and live photography, I can’t avoid it. 🙂

            Anyway, I’m sorry if you felt a bad tone on my part, it wasn’t intended at all.
            I think that if we all were drinking beer in a pub talking about all this, the conversation would have been much more calmed, as we had been able to see each other faces when making our points.

          • Just to add to my previous comment,

            I think it’s a pity, that in this conversation with so many people, a halo around a lamp would be the Elephant in the room, and the rest of the picture is just a small Ant that nobody care of. Don’t you agree?

    • perhaps, you might throttle-back on the artistic pompousness a bit and listen to what people have offered as constructive criticism with a bit more grace and less resistance and over-sensitivity.

      the defiant visionary thing… we get it. i’m with you on maintaining your artistic integrity and presenting the world according to your own sensitivities… and i stand whole-heartedly behind the value of the emotion of the moment in photography. which is why, while i enjoy your photography, i don’t understand why you apply such methods that seem to overshadow those moments rather than heighten them. sure, artists have manipulated their photos since the beginning, and have done so to their own tastes, but i don’t think that that is what people are discussing with the sort of blindingly amateur processing that is going on around the lamp-post in #2. ansel adams used processing to enhance the majesty already present in the subject of his photographs. the enhancements became his style, but his style was always slave to the compositions themselves. if ansel adams had submitted the exact same photo as you have in #2, i’m fairly certain the effect wouldn’t come off as sloppy and unfinished as yours does. but, i guess thats your argument… that that is your style, your vision. i do not doubt that when your heart looked through the viewfinder it saw that halo-ing around the post, which you thought of such great importance that it necessitated pronounced inclusion in this submitted version.

      well, then forgive us please, o’ master… our foolish preferences, and our humdrum humanity. forgive us, who see here only run-of-the-mill flickr street photography, with lazy processing. forgive us, who don’t hear symphonies or nobel prize worthy literature in the experiencing of your work. forgive us, our emotion and lack of depth. forgive us, who know not what we speak of.

      blessings

    • Look, whatever. Nobody was being mean, and if you can’t handle constructive criticism and discussion about your work, maybe you shouldn’t put it out there.

      Also, people aren’t knocking your technique just for the hell of it. When you print a photograph, you’re making a piece of art. The methods you use directly influence the final product. So your technique and framing and composition and processing aren’t irrelevant; together, they decide the quality of your work. If somebody has a comment for you about one of your photographs, you can choose to accept their comments, reject their comments, or whatever you want. But honestly, we’re just commenting on the final piece of art, and discussing ways we think it could be improved. Make of that what you will.

  9. I realized that for the recent daily inspiration photos, the B&W ones have too much definition added… That ruins the realistic feel of the moment.

    • Hey, sorry to say, but I haven’t added any definition or sharpen at all. And yes, Leica lenses are THAT sharp. Sorry if Leica lenses’ images looks unreal to you.

      thanks

      • LOL yea “Leica lenses’s sharpness is scaring me”. I don’t care about ultimate sharpness. I’ve been shooting with my M9 for 6 months now. I have to say, the more I shoot, the less I care about gears. The messages a photo convey is the most important. So stop talking about how sharp Leica lenses are. Maybe you didn’t add definition, but your B&W preset might add some effect that has the halo around the subjects.

        Peace.

  10. No 1 and especially 3 are great, really nice street shots. I do agree tho the PP on the sky In no. 2 is a little distracting around the lamp post. A part from that nice daily inspiration, good luck with your adventures with your excellent M9!

  11. Hi Miguel, great photos! for me they really provoke my imagination. My favourites are the 2nd and 3rd. As I stare at them all sorts of possible stories come flooding out. Keep up the great work! For me, “the processing issues” the previous two posters have mentioned don’t bother me at all. The photos capture my imagination and evoke possible stories – that’s the main thing for me.

    I hope to be using an M9 one day – maybe if they ever get cheaper after the release of subsequent M’s. For now I have to be content with an X100, Voigtlander R4a and Contax G1. I am not mad about the X100 but really I am very fortunate to have cameras like this to use at all!

    Keep shooting, keep being inspired, and keep inspiring us! Thanks for your photos and message Miguel.

  12. I like the moments. Minimal but deep if not viewed cynically. The first and second shot have some post processing issues, objects glowing (statue and lamp post).

    • I agree, the post processing is a bit heavy handed. A little more care with the dodge tool would bring the focus back to the image, rather than on the technique.

      That said, I feel these photographs are a bit confused. Miguel, what were you trying to say with these?

      • Hi, I won’t comment about technique (read my comment n.8), but about your question, I’d say that any photographer capable of answer that question about his/her street work, has injected himself/herself several syringes of ego straight to the heart.

        When I walk the streets, I try to have my eyes open, be concentrated, anticipate and when a special moment comes, be quick and listen to my guts to find the right moment to press the shutter. I don’t “try to say” nothing by myself, I let the moment I see, speak. It’s the picture the one that speaks, is the people inside the frame who creates the emotions with their movements, expressions and actions. I’m just a fortunate witness of the moment.

        I’m glad you felt something looking at the pictures, even if that was confusion. In my understanding, pictures are made to transmit emotions.

        thanks

        I hope this answer your question.

      • I think the “confused” label fits a lot of street photography. If you are cynical you can just consider street shots pointless and give them a “so?” shrug.

        But then again there is a little magic in those hidden, intimate moments. People lost in their thoughts, like the cab driver. Moments that don’t really exist until the photographer notices them and captures them. What is it trying to say? Well. Perhaps it is just expecting you to feel what he feels, saying nothing more.

        • I think it’s certainly true that lots of street photographs are a bit confused. Especially when the photographer doesn’t think before hitting the shutter release. In my opinion, that’s what makes the difference between good and bad street photography. The good street photographer pays attention to the “geometry” of the elements within their frame, and waits until the decisive moment to hit the button. He or she is trying to create a pleasing work of art, not just an image of the faces of strangers. The bad street photographer does none of these things, preferring instead to click impatiently and without much thought regarding the composition of the image.

          BTW, I’m certainly not claiming to be a phenomenal street photographer. All I’m saying is that if the photographer doesn’t pay attention to what he or she is doing, the resulting piece of art is bound to be…wait for it…confused.

  13. Great photos Miguel. I used to own the 35 summicron. It’s an amazing lens especially for it’s size but ultimately I’m a 50mm guy so I’ve since sold it.

    I like the third picture the most. Besides the subject and framing it stands out as the best for me because of the levels and contrast. They seem more natural than the other two. The second picture in particular is very distracting with the hyper contrast added. Did you use the clarity slider (or whatever it’s called now) to bring up the contrast? Each to their own obviously, but I’m not a fan of the halos that the clarity feature creates around high contrast areas. Although I like the contrast, the halos give the impression of a bad roto job used to cc different areas.

    Otherwise, cool shots, interesting composition too. 🙂

  14. I like these pictures – particularly the third one with the waiting London black cab driver deep in thought, or maybe just bored.

    The Leica is a wonderful camera for catching these moments in time – I just wish I could afford one these days, but when you are retired you have to pull your braces in unless you have a huge pension pot. Used to have a Leica M4 and M3 back in the 1980’s, but they were stolen in a burglary and not insured (learned my lesson there). Have a Ricoh GXR A12 system these days, and although not quite in the same league as an M9, it is a fine little camera for everyday shooting.

    Keep up the good work!

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