Daily Inspiration #385 by Lorenzo van Galen

Hello Steve!

It’s been almost 1,5 years now since my first feature on your site. There have been a lot of changes since then and there have been taken a lot more pictures!

First there have been a significant change in gear. I only carry one lens and one camera when doing some street photography. Really shrunk the setup down, it was kind of in the way of my photography. I was always looking for a better camera, more megapixels etc.

Since approximately a year I’ve been shooting film. I really enjoy shooting with a film camera next to my DSLR. It slows me down, don’t let me take 500 images in one day and makes me excited to get the negatives back! The best thing of all, when you get your negatives back and you’re scanning your images you’ll see images that you forgot about so it’s kind of a surprise as well!

So here are some shots I took this year (2013) in Antwerp, Belgium.


”A helping hand” – Antwerp, Belgium 2013. I saw these two walking down the street helping each other and I think it’s a really touching photograph. Shot with the Leica MP and a Voigtlander 35mm 2.5. Shot on Kodak Tri-X 400.


”Small, big” – Antwerp, Belgium 2013 – After studying the beautiful work of Elliott Erwitt, my fascination with dogs on the streets has grown. Always looking for cool looking dogs (especially small dogs surrounded by large creatures called humans!). Shot on the Leica MP with the Voigtlander 35mm 2.5. Shot on Kodak Tri-X 400. I love the sharpness of the Voigtlander! Great BANG for the BUCK!


”Cosmo” – Antwerp, Belgium 2013 – I saw this rather extraordinary older Lady in a big fur coat wearing sunglasses (while there was no sun!) and I saw this advertisement with this young lady in the background with almost the same hair. I really like this picture with the grain and darkness. I also like the reflection on the sunglasses which makes it kind of evil looking. Shot on the Leica MP with the Voigtlander 35mm 2.5. Shot on Ilford Delta 3200 (Been experimenting with this film, sometimes the grain is too much, sometimes it really ads some to the picture).

As you’ve seen I’ve been using the Leica MP. This will be my one and only film camera for the rest of my life (sounds really dramatic, I know..). I’m using this camera with a lot of joy.

I’ve also been using the Leicavit on this camera (actually got it as a present when I purchased the Leica MP). For the people that are interested, here is a quick overview video of the Leicavit on YouTube which I’ve made some days ago (I was looking for some information about the Leicavit but I couldn’t really find any useful video demonstration on how it works so I’ve made one myself):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xxu9z_Jgsw&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]

I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and the video of the Leicavit as well. And till next time! Mr. Huff; Keep up the great work on the site!! Really enjoy it, thank you very much!

For some of my other work other that street photography you can check these sites:


  1. I’m assuming that was for me. Good luck with constructive input. Hippy shots are interesting but after a while you might get tired of not making pictures and just taking pictures

  2. Hi Lorenzo
    I like your photos,
    just for the mood, just for the life-glance, just for the lovely grainy look, for the wonderful hasty feeling, for the imperfectness.
    Different things for different times, but these sort of pictures, gives a movement, and makes associations pop up.
    Sometimes the unsharpnes, the old-fashioned grainy style contributes to dreamy, melancholic feelings in a way the sharp, the clean pictures don’t. Sometimes the unsharp and grainy picture are full of life in a way that their sharp, well-composed sister/brother wouldn’t be.
    If people read such pictures as a down going spirals in Europe, well, they have overreacted in a funny way. If we forget reality we can’t have empathy and we won’t help other people or we don’t want to contribute in the society. The human being take part in some sort of social group or society, any where around the world, whether we like it or not. Some dramatic things are happening some places in Europe, as well as in US. Poverty can hit as a lightning all over the world, and are often a result of economic events together with lacking social awareness and empathy in the society. It’s not honeymoon all over
    Pictures are intermediaries of feelings, messages, comments, moods etc., and if people don’t like what they are looking at, then they are free to look away, instead of intimidate or educate other people. Respect that other people might feel otherwise, that some really like what others don’t.

  3. Lorenzo, I am happy that at least some of the comments are positive and encouraging. Don’t let yourself being distracted from people who have no clue what they are talking about. Moreover, keep in mind that this site is mostly about gear, second about photography and third – if at all – about art. The audience that is commenting reflects this trend even more, so probably you are looking for advice in the wrong place. People who pitch about sharpness or dust-spots are the wrong ones to ask, their understanding of photography is pure technical, measurable, because this is all that their rationally trimmed minds can understand.
    And that’s all fine, to each their own, but you are going the artistic direction, and you are already on track. I think the first photo has got something, the blur is mostly motion-blur which adds to the atmosphere, the second one is not bad, but the dog should be separated (I know this problem with parallax in rfs ;-)), and the third one I like the best. Reminds me of Gary Stochl (google him, you may find there something). Maybe it is underexposed, but even this is hard to tell from a scan.
    I wanna really encourage you to continue your journey, and please don’t listen to anyone talking about sharpness!

    • Well, I have just watched the Leicavit video. Maybe you should also consider doing some movie-stuff professionally, since this is the best camera-porn I have ever seen! No I want that Leicavit, even if this is least thing I need.

      • Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Got a huge amount of views the last couple of days so that’s really cool!

        I actually do video stuff professionally. We do product video’s, commercial video’s for the largest electronica store in the Netherlands. Personally I’ve been making two documentaries that were broadcasted on television. This video was just a small, quick video for the Leicavit. In my opinion this beautiful machine deserves a lot more attention on the internet so I had to make a video about it!



  4. Thank you George, Thomas and Turvyjj for your comments, I really appreciate all that people take the time to look at my work and make a comment, thank you so much for that.

    I’m really developing my own style right now. Learning about interesting compositions rather than photo’s from eye level. Also practicing shooting from the hip. Which is in my opinion one of the most usefull techniques while making these kind of photographs.

    Nevertheless, thank you for the comments and the nice discussion we have going on here.

    All the best guys,


  5. The young and the old lady shot is best. the first had something there but was missed. Keep practicing and try shooting at eye level rather than hip. Artsy statement is lame. And try a shutter speed of f250 or higher so the nervous jerkiness is taken care of. Keep shooting and shooting

  6. Lorenzo, I really enjoyed the “human condition” series on your website. Nice portraits in your Flickr too.

  7. I’m surprised by the supernasty comments from so many individuals here. And many of the not bad comments are disgustingly patronizing. Personally, I’ve had enough dose in this site of sissy, dull minded but extremely clinical photos. I don’t like them, but I don’t condemn them. I never liked the zombies, blunt street scenes, or sooo many completely irrelevant travel pics shown here. But never wrote any nasty thing about those photographers, because they don’t deserve that, and even some times I’ve learned things from them. Lorenzo’s pics have more soul and more interest than 80% or 90% of pictures shown in this site. They have some Daido Mariyama resonance. And his opinion is not only valid but very interesting. I praise Steve for showing his work, in the same way I despise all the negative and patronizing comments on Lorenzo’s work.

  8. Keep at it Lorenzo. You can only get a feel for photography and your gear, and eventually develop your own style, by experimenting and making a lot of mistakes.

    One of the best photographs I ever saw is Capra’s blurry, grainy photo of a soldier in the Spanish Civil War at the moment he is hit with a bullet making his arms fly out and his head kick back. Capra was in the middle of a battle, crouching down or lying on the ground and shooting hand held with a Leica M. He sent the film to a regular lab in Paris and printed the shot as it came out. To my taste, and it is just me, the ultimate power of photography is freezing a powerful or impressive or interesting moment in time. Freezing it enables a viewer to spend much more time studying and experiencing the moment. In my opinion, the only form of photography more powerful and meaningful is snapshots of family, friends and personally important events.

    Many other people like other styles. The most expensive photograph ever sold showed a strip of grass next to a river with the sky above. There is nothing noteworthy about the grass, the river or the sky. I think that is pure BS but someone else was willing to pay several million dollars for the thing. The same guy took a photo of the inside of a supermarket. There are no people in the shot and he used a medium telephoto to compress the isles of stuff on shelves. He sold that for millions too. What is he saying? Undramatic scenes are just as interesting, meaningful and profound as the dramatic ones? Or the subject is irrelevant, just the technical quality matters? I would be embarrassed to hang one of these photos in my house but that is just me and it does not mean I am right and they are wrong. Indeed, I think most of the photos hanging in MOMA are really boring or awful but a lot of other people like them. They see a mood or style in them that I don’t. The only correct conclusion to be drawn from that is that I would get no pleasure from looking at them so I shouldn’t buy one, but others would.

    All of that said, does focus matter? Of course it does. Sharp focus draws a viewer in, out of focus is distracting and a flaw. The first impression I had of the first photo above was the bad focus and grain and I saw them as flaws, not mood. I also thought the subject was uninteresting. Again, that is just me, there is no objective truth in that statement. The last photo is also poorly focused and grainy but it does have a moody quality to it and is interesting for that reason. I would use poor focus and grain only if I could get a certain mood out of that (old, noir and the like) or if the subject was so powerful that it made the flaws relatively insignificant and I couldn’t get the shot any other way. In the Capra photo the blur embellished the chaos surrounding the soldier’s death. Even if it didn’t, it would still be the best photo Capra could get in that situation and the subject — both the drama and the reality — make the poor focus irrelevant.

    So, Lorenzo, you can discount most of the negative comments as coming from people who don’t understand what you are trying to do with your photos. That could be more their failing than yours, but it could be your failing too. If you are publishing you obviously care how other people see your photos so use this as an opportunity to think about why your purpose is not coming across to some or perhaps many people and what you need to do to make it clearer.

    Either way, it is admirable that you are trying and I wish you the best.

  9. Excellent pictures on your website, Lorenzo! Very good street photography as well.
    Veel plezier met je camera!

    • Thank you, it’s nice to hear that you like them! (Dat zal zeker lukken!!)

      The best,


  10. What disturbs me when I read the negative remarks of certain individuals is the callous abrasiveness of their words. On the other hand, I am encouraged by those comments that are supportive and kind. I would like to say that Lorenzo was courageous to post his pictures. So what if they are not perfect – however one defines perfect. I also went to his website and found there some rather competent work. Here is a young man with passion for photography and a lot of time ahead of him (though it moves faster than we like) to continue to improve his photographic skills. The first picture of the couple truly moved me.
    Making mistakes is a learning experience and not being perfect is human. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you for the kind and wise words. I’m glad you like the work on my site!

      We got a nice discussion going on here, appreciate it.

      The best,


  11. I am surprized about the negative comments.
    I think critics are fine as long as one adds some ideas/suggestions how to do it better. I miss that here.

    • Read my comment. Random composition doesn’t work, thoughtful composition does. Not every random street shot is good photography. Unfortunately.

  12. I think the subject/ compositions are not strong enough to make up for the lack of focus, the underexposure and the dirty negatives.
    Making statements about how sharp a lens is, then posting images that aren’t sharp takes away somewhat from the point.
    I think the last image has the most potential, and would be worth attempting some clean up on Photo Editing software.

  13. Lorenzo, I think the point of your article was clear: you’ve been showing us “work in prgress” on film and you’ve been very gracious in your replies. So thanks. I’ve also looked at your website and your photostream, and as pictures there are some much better things there – also in the street photography, which is not the genre I best understand! My personal favourites for sheer imagination are the double image “road to somewhere” and the abstract “bokeh”. And there are lots of the others where the composition is to my way of looking super !

    • Thank you for your comment. I respect everyones opinion and I’m glad they give honest critique, I’m also a respectful person. Photography is an art form and everyone has a different taste of course.

      As I said these images are taken in two days, this is not my portfolio, it’s just for fun and to share my new found love for film with the community and on this site and hopefully get some tips en comments about them!! I still have to learn a lot and I’m enjoying photography, in particular analog photography, so much! I earn some money from my commercial photography but I get so much more joy out of my ”street”, spontaneous stuff and that’s what it is all about in my opinion!

      I’m glad these communities exist, and this community on stevehuffphoto.com and other sites are one of the best on the internet.



  14. Sharp or not sharp is not all that interesting, but composition is. Random composition (as in these images) rarely works. Look at Vasco Leao’s work for composition that does work.

  15. Thanks for sharing. BTW, does it spring back even it is not mounted in the camera? I found a 2nd one but I doesn’t seem to work…..mounted or unmounted….Thanks.

  16. Hi all,

    I have been following Steve’s blog for the last 6 months. And I have to say that sometimes I am surprised about the reaction some contributers show when discussing pictures. There seems to be an assumption that somebody who does not display the ‘nice and clean’ style can’t do better and thus shows pictures of minor quality.

    I have recently bought an RX1 and I am enjoying the sharpness, clarity and details of my pictures. I am considering buying an M Monochrom to complete the approach away from DSLR. However what if the pictures become too clinical, too perfect and thus too boring? Ashwin Rao has been discussing this issue in the past. His answer is to use old glass to smoothen the rendition of his camera. I am wondering if those wonderful digital devices can provide a soul distinct from thousands of different shades of gray or three dimensional rendition and I will have to find my answer to this question yet.

    Producing “dirty pictures” (no offence Lorenzo!) can be an alternative. Using film underpins this approach. Before judging I would ask the artist (why not artist, why not ‘arty’ pictures?) if this was his purpose and if not what he wanted to express.

    Steve gives many people opportunity of participating and sharing their way of shooting. There is not one perfect way. And a little bit of humbleness when critiquing somebody’s work would do no harm.

    • Negative comments do not get censored. Personal attacks with no constructive criticism do. If you are commenting just to be mean or rude that doesnt fly here, so if that is how you like to take part in discussion, well, Goodbye! 🙂

      • Never have, never will, since I don’t consider my self an outstanding artist even after 50 yrs. experience. I did find it ironic that Lorenzo stated how sharp the Voigtlander was and then posted “arty” street work. How the MP and film allowed him to slow down and then talked about the rapid advance Leicavit. Glad that you got back to me, because I did feel that your site was friendlier than most. I apologize to Lorenzo, you, and the other viewers if I came across as snarky. That wasn’t my intention. I was trying to be sarcastic, however. Regards, Alan

  17. I enjoy your pictures and the accompanying words, Lorenzo! I’m sorry for some of the comments, however . . . it would seem as though some photogs need more practice getting their feedback right. Subjective opinions stated as fact without constructive advice have never felt too helpful or supportive to me, in my own work at least. But keep it up Lorenzo and enjoy what you are doing, because I’m sure that there are plenty of people who enjoy it, too!

  18. I think you might need to get some more practice with getting exposure right, but the video was really nice!

  19. Well, I for one do like this type of photography. It has feeling and it’s not that clinical, like some of the perfect pictures you can see on some sites.
    I think photography is about emotion and not technical perfect pictures.
    But I do agree that the use of a dust blower is needed to get rid of the dust particals.

    But go on with your style. And if people don’t like it, they don’t have to look at them.

    • Thank you for the kind and wise words. In my opinion, in street photography, a sharp image is secondary. About the dustblower…uhm yes you are right!!!



    • Well said Erica. Some commenters seem to have forgotten that photography is an art form and, as such, is not process centred. Perhaps these pixel peepers have lost the love for photography that you clearly still have lorenzo. Give me a moody, half-seen image which sparks my imagination over a razor sharp face-on portrait any day of the week. I’m not right, nobody is. It’s art. What you like is good, regardless of its technical quality. If we forget that, photography as an art is dead and has been replaced by photography the dead, cold technical process. I sincerely hope that that day never comes.

    • +1

      A couple of my favorite photo books are FrenchKiss and Cafe Lehmitz. And it is not at all because of razor-sharp pictures. Check them out. Rough and gritty in the extreme.

      By the way: we have a street in my neighbourhood called Jan van Galen straat (in Amsterdam). Named after famous old uncle, perhaps?

      Keep up the good work.

  20. Thanks Lorenzo for the Leicavit video, this was actually the first time I saw this “in action”, so I appreciate it a lot.

    As for the pictures, I believe that the quality of the film negatives would allow better scan quality, thus resulting in better images to share. Personally, I like the picture of the lady with the sunglasses the most.

    No matter if other people like your pictures, as long as you enjoy making them and looking at them, go on! There’s nothing you can lose, except a few Euros on buying and developing film.

  21. I actually like these shots quite a bit. Who cares if they’re not razor sharp? Since when is that necessary to all good photographs?

    I’m not fond of the first image, but the one of the chihuahua is pretty nice. I’d have liked it better if you had taken a step to the left in order to separate the shape of the dog from the man’s pant leg, but it’s still an interesting image. The woman in the fur coat is also pretty interesting, though I agree it could do with some dust removal.

  22. Love your enthusiasm, good to see film is still alive, but Lorenzo do invest and use a Giottos Rocket Blower before scanning your negs. Your photos will look much better 🙂

  23. Gentlemen,

    please calm down. First of all thanks for sharing Lorenzo. It is always a bummer when people do not like your shots – but then again I guess you can handle that.

    But I think I have to remind everybody of the words from the master himself – are you listening Alan

    “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” – H. Cartier Bresson

    Keep shooting Lorenzo

    • Not sure if I want Lorenzo shared around, and even less sure about his snaps.

      Trond, why do you need to “remind everybody” about what HCB once said? Is it some sort of absolute truth we must take aboard?

      I agree with your instruction to Lorenzo to “keep shooting”; he needs the practice. Lots of it.

      (At least I may dare to send in my grotty shots now – the bar seems about the right height..)

      • Thanks for the comments and the discussion guys. Shure a sharp image is nice in street photography but I rarely have the change to even focus and shoot at an aperture like 2.5. I’m really practicing and experimenting with different films, iso’s and techniques right now.
        I’m 21 years old so I definetely have a lot to learn and I have a long way to go. Please keep in mind these photo’s are taken over a weekend. This is not my portfolio, this is daily inspiration. About the scanning, I have a lot of questions for shure. So if anyone has a good resourch for scanning film?

        Thank you for the comments, I really appreciate it. We can all learn from each other and that’s why I love this community, we are all helping each other.

        The best,


        • Thank you for your interest, William. I’m not sure why you would want to subject yourself to them, and unfortunately I don’t have an internet site or other on-line repository for you to link.
          Be thankful for small mercies..

      • James, I don’t understand why you insult Lorenzo. I think that suggesting someone needs practice is just plain rude, we all need more practice. Photography is art, we all have our opinions, there are no maxims here. Why not critique the art, instead of the artist?

        • Sorry for the late reply.

          Cameras do not take photos by themselves (well, speed cameras do..).
          Lorenzo would profit greatly from more practice; if you want a list of the less appealing aspects of these shots, read all the comments. Many would be removed by such practice.

          Your attempt to characterise my point (incidentally, practice, practice, practice is repeatedly recommended by many far, far greater snappers than myself ) as “insulting”, “plain rude”, or critiquing the artist is gratuitous rubbish.

          Of course he should practice much more, and a little less of your sanctimonious commentary of any one suggesting such may encourage him to do so.

          I’m struggling with an oboe piece at the moment; should I foolishly attempt a public performance right now I would expect any number of critics to rightly tell me to go away and practice – a lot.

          Maybe Christopher, you should practise your criticisms a little more carefully. Just a thought, of course..

          • I think negative feedback is a wonderful thing, I really do. Most of the comments I get are positive, vague and borderline useless. The negative opinions are usually held back, we are often left to assume that an image with many views and little feedback was not well received. Why don’t you like the photos? – this is the good stuff.

            Your words did not read as constructive or useful to me. My perception was that you intended to insult Lorenzo and this website

            while offering little to substantiate your opinion.

            Perhaps you could instead explain why you dislike his work, instead of insinuating that he isn’t worthy of a daily inspiration post?

          • “Why don’t you like his work” and, “explain why you dislike his work”; I made it very clear – ” if you want a list of the [obviously] less appealing aspects of these photos, read all the comments.” They were explanatory and easily readable by any person with English as a first language (or even second..).

            Did you? Or were you too intent to start writing slosh such as, “my perception” or “insinuating” or “he isn’t worthy” or “..”you intended [to insult]” or “your words did not read..”? What silly self-serving drivel.

            Only the arrogant reject advice to practice (and before you desperately seize on that, Lorenzo is most probably not of that ilk).

            And please take your straw-men constructs, particularly the “you intended to insult” garbage, to another place where you can entertain yourself all day by burning them down.

          • It’s also possible that some of us enjoyed seeing these images, but I care less about technical sheen than about emotional content. Sure, they’re rough, but in the first picture the roughness matches the subject of two old souls. Very touching. I’m also glad I made the acquaintance of the older woman, though the image seemed less original than the first, more of a standard street photography image. The dog didn’t do much for me as a composition (subject small and indistinct, busy background), but I have a hard time finding as much of interest in a dog as a person. I don’t live like one.

            I do think you’re a bit young to be making decisions for the rest of your life. You will change your mind more than once – leave yourself room to change in. I’m not too concerned with technical perfection (I was a painter – and there is no such thing as correct exposure in painting), but you are young and inexperienced and it shows. Maybe too much.

  24. This is all getting a bit harsh. I agree that I’ve seen sharper photographs but, for me at least, the FEEL of an image is far more important than its technical qualities. One of my favourite photographs was taken using a holga in Highgate cemetery, London. Blurred, light bleed, slightly foggy but creepy as hell! I like these pictures. They have feeling. They might not be perfect technically but they do have that feeling of being there in the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the comments guys, appreciate it. Bummer that you don’t like the pictures. Maybe you’ll enjoy the video? Please don’t forget these pictures are taken in one weekend. Hope some people do like them;).

      The Best,


    • Hey Nick, don’t knock the Zenit! It was my 2nd camera (a Werra was the 1st), and I learned the whole darkroom thing with it!

  25. Last year i also took a lot of photographs in Belgium Antwerpen. I love the city. A lot of thing going on there.

  26. Antwerp couple looks sad, like the condition of the whole of European culture. Is the planet on the downward spiral. Maybe film acerbates this feeling. I have been photographing for nearly 40 years not counting my youth. The state of technology rises in inverse proportion to the decline of its spawning culture. I hope the future of technology follows the path of spiritual awakening and enlightenment. That was Steve Jobs dream I believe.

    • I hope European culture is not spiraling down as rapidly as this photo suggest! I’ll be going to France this spring and I anticipate a rather gay, and beautiful environment (as I remember two years ago). I will perhaps look at the city through rose colored glasses, ignore the detritus, and bring back great photos and memories.

  27. Lady in a big fur coat wearing sunglasses (while there was no sun!).

    What’s new about that?

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