Street Photography London interviews Streethunters

Q: Who are Streethunters?

ANDREW: The Streethunters team consists of Digby Fullam, Spyros Papaspyropoulos and myself, Andrew Sweigart. Digby is from the United Kingdom, our fearless leader Spyros resides in Crete, and. I'm from Pennsylvania, in the United States.

Q: Tell us how it all started

ANDREW: The concept of Streethunters was born over three years ago. Spyros and I had become friends via Sony NEX communities online, and shortly thereafter he formed a group called the Hard Photography Critique. Within that community, he began issuing assignments, or challenges. After a street portrait challenge, Spyros contacted myself and former member Rob Heron about developing a street photography group, a web resource for the genre. Spyros, a web developer, would design the site and we would all produce content for it.

At that point, Streethunters was born. It was more than just a "collective", so to speak, more than just the three of us sharing images. We wrote articles about our experiences and the knowledge we acquired developing our skills and our growth as street photographers. Unfortunately, Rob Heron left for personal reasons during that first year, and Casper Macindoe came aboard. We continued to expand after that, unveiling new features. One example was the live interviews/hangouts with great street photographers like Charlie Kirk, Rinzi Ruiz and Khalik Allah. Casper then left for academic pursuits and Digby joined on. And now we continue to produce new features and content. Digby does the Crit My Pic, feature, where readers submit the pictures for critique. Spyros features other street photographers in the Street Photo of the Week. We also have the What's In My Bag feature, where we feature reader's camera gear and I do the Streethunters Bookshelf, where I do photography book and zine reviews and Under The Influence, which discusses the impact the greats of street photography had on myself.

You can read more about the genesis of Streethunters here:

© Digby Fullam

© Digby Fullam

Q: Does what you do now match the expectations you had when you launched the website?

ANDREW: I would say that what we do now has matched our expectations and we're on our way to exceeding them. Our objective was to become a street photography resource, and with each new post, we're building it. TheStreet Hunt videos on our YouTube channel are a prime example. What Spyros has done with them... is exceptional. They're educational, and they have tremendous reach. They've also resulted in a great partnership with Cosyspeed, an innovative camera bag company who have sponsored Street Hunts and our Monthly Theme Contest on social media outlets, awarding their Camslinger bags to the winners. Our number of readers on Facebook and Google+ continues to grow and the images submitted by our readers in our Flickr community constantly impresses me. All of those above things, and the appreciation and participation from our readers, is humbling and inspiring. That had definitely exceeded our expectations. It makes all of this worthwhile.

© Spyros Papaspyropoulos

© Spyros Papaspyropoulos

Q: How different do you feel the street photography community is as opposed to other genres? Do you find people interact and collaborate more?

SPYROS: I have been a Web Designer for many years. Since 1999 actually. During that time I have participated in many communities for Web Design and Development, as well as sub genres such as Flash Design, SEO etc. From my experience in these communities, I find that with an exception of the SEOs, the design communities aren’t as open as the street photography one. In those places I always get a sense of competitiveness and I feel that people “hold back”, like they don’t want to share their “secrets”. Maybe it is me, I don’t know, but in the street photography community things are much more relaxed, I feel like nobody is competitive and that the all-around feedback and conversations are meaningful most of the time. They have value. It is through the street photography community that I have learned nearly everything I know about the genre today and because of that I feel that I want to share everything I know with the community. As far as other “photography” genres are concerned, I haven’t really expanded further than street photography to have any experience e.g. with macro photography or sports photography.

Q: How do you find out about new people to feature? What do you think are some of the best online resources out there?

SPYROS: Every week or so we release the “Street Photo of the Week” post that features a photo and the photographer that shot it. I write this series and my research is quite extensive each time. I like visiting the websites of all the known Street Photography Collectives, I also look at well known Flickr groups and online street photography magazines. But lately I find myself finding amazing photos to feature directly from the Flickr Group. It has developed into a really awesome collection of amazing street photographs!

© Andrew Sweigart

© Andrew Sweigart

Q: Do you all only shoot street or have you got interests in other photographic genres?

DIGBY: All of us now shoot street as our main photography genre, but we’ve got other interests too. Spyros has shot a bit of landscape in the past, and I know he really enjoys small theatre photography too as it’s very expressive and surreal. He has his unique take on low-key documentary style wedding photography too. He’s got some nice ideas and approaches for journalism and documentary photography as well, which I’m sure is something he’ll get to explore in the future. For the time being he’s very much a street shooter at heart though!

Andrew has shot concert photography, sports and rural documentary too. He moved into street photography around 2013. He’s a bit of a rocker with an interest in the authentic, and this really shows through in his photos - he always selects interesting characters and events to photograph and his shots really give me a feel for all the Eastern Seaboard cities he shoots in. As a result I’d say there’s a strong social documentary genre influence running through his work too![1] [2] [3] [4] 

As with Andrew and Spyros I’ve shot some other genres too, though street photography is now my main hobby. I was an uber car nerd in high school so I’ve used to shoot loads and loads of photos of cars, and I did the odd bit of landscape and architecture stuff for art projects too. I’ve enjoyed taking shots at football matches (soccer for US readers!) too. I really like the idea of photos with stories and the photojournalistic genre, and that’s how I first got into street photography in the first place, as I think it’s the easiest way to tell stories about the world around you. In a dream world I’d like to do more street photography that moved into the documentary realm, and perhaps move into the video aspect of this too. The ‘Talking Movies’ feature I did for Streethunters furthered the movie-making bug for me too, so that would be a great fun thing to explore in the future too.

© Digby Fullam

© Digby Fullam

Q: What do you make of camera companies releasing new models so often, it even seems to accelerate doesn’t it?

DIGBY: We’re all guilty of focusing on gear a bit too much because it’s an easy thing to do, and there’s so much talk about gear online! Of course it’s nice to blame your camera for your bad photos too, and think that a new model is going to massively improve your photos - and that’s what the camera marketing sometimes encourages too. There are already great little cameras out there though, and arguably we’ve never had it so good. Street photography isn’t too demanding in terms of needing technological bells and whistles though. Better to find a little camera that you’re comfortable with, and focus on practicing technique and taking photos, or spend the money on plane tickets to exciting cities than to obsess about ‘upgrading’ and chasing the latest and greatest I think!

Q: What is the single biggest challenge in shooting colour street photography?

DIGBY: The single biggest challenge for me with colour is composing a scene. Trying to link together layers using a single colour can be tricky, as can trying to put together a scene with complimentary colours - colour gives you ‘more’ to worry about. I also find post-processing harder with colour than black and white too. Despite this, I much prefer shooting colour to black and white, as I find it hard to generate a sense of ‘depth’ with black and white, things blend together too much.

© Spyros Papaspyropoulos

© Spyros Papaspyropoulos

Q: What is the single biggest challenge in shooting black and white photography?

ANDREW: The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is to try and see a photograph in black and white before you shoot it. Even though I shoot digital, and I have the option to produce a final image in either black and white or color, I go out on the street with the mindset that I'm going to shoot in just one of those specifically. I think seeing the scene in mono helps make a better black and white photograph. Of course, this is easier said than done. We naturally see in color. What comes through the viewfinder is in color. The image on the LCD, unless you're using a jpeg preset, is in color. And, you only have a fraction of a second to do it. Some would say it's easy because you're taking color out of the equation, but, in a sense, it requires you to be more creative. It's something I work at every time I go out.

© Andrew Sweigart

© Andrew Sweigart

Q: What’s in the works for StreetHunters in the coming year, any exciting plans either individually or as a group?

SPYROS: We have some plans for this year. Some got delayed because of the refugee crisis and the attacks in Brussels etc. For instance we were organising our 2nd Exhibition in Istanbul this time, but we have had to cancel. We will see how that turns out. We have more Street Hunt videos planned for this year. We can’t reveal any destinations yet, because things are a bit fluid because of the reasons I mentioned earlier. We have an idea about another Youtube series, but we haven’t found the time to start that yet. Generally we have a million ideas but time is short and so are our funds so we are trying to make the best of what we have. will continue to pump out new posts and organise street photography contests throughout 2016!

Q: Finally what would you each give as the most important piece of advice to a budding street photographer?     

ANDREW: I would say that it's important to look at the work of other great street photographers, past and present. To look at those images and take in what makes them great and use them for inspiration. Let them motivate you to take your camera with you and to take pictures every chance you get. Use them as fuel to drive you on the road to finding your own style.

SPYROS: My advice is to keep on shooting. No matter what, practice, practice and practice. Change styles, change angles, try out weird things, break the rules and then practice again and again. As long as you do this, you will be fine. Oh and don’t be afraid. Just snap that photo.

DIGBY: I agree with both Andrew’s and Spyros’ advice here. Look around at the work of the ‘masters’ and contemporary photographers who you really admire, and identify what you like about their photos. Then you can try and apply it yourself. The most important thing though is to practice. Go out and take photos whenever you can - it’s all a learning experience. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t like your photos - you’re developing all the time! Looking back on your old photos in a year’s time you’ll be amazed how much you’ve progressed.

Thanks guys, we think what you do for the street photography community is great so keep it up and thanks for taking part in this interview!

Of course make sure you visit Streethunters' website and follow them on Twitter!