Congratulations to our Top Pic of the Week, Cory Blessman. Read on to learn more about the production of these photos!
In 2010 I purchased my first ever camera. It was a DSLR, a Sony a55 to be exact! I was so proud and extremely eager to learn what I could do with my new camera. I took some amazing photos that I was extremely proud of in my first year of photography. One of my favorites was of an individual walking home from work in Washington DC with an umbrella. It was raining outside and I was doing some street photography with my a55 and 50mm f/1.4 which was my favorite lens at the time. I stood at the crosswalk next to him waiting to cross and turned to my left and saw his chin peaking from underneath the umbrella with a city bus approaching. Took this image wide open at 1.4, wanting to really focus on the rain dripping from the umbrella.
I would say this sparked my street photography interest. Since that day I began to really see the beauty in everyday life, candid photography. My first film camera I got at an old antique shop in Orange Virginia was a Minolta x-700 which came with a flash, a zoom lens and a Minolta 50mm f/1.7. All wrapped up in a ziplock bag! In 2013, I upgraded to a Sony a99, still shooting my 50mm f/1.4. I was ecstatic about this purchase as well but it didn’t last long. I began to want to simplify things, get away from shooting a computer, and focus more on shooting a camera. I wanted my gear to sort of get out of the way. I made a switch to the Fuji system and shot adapted manual focus Minolta lenses, which I still use to this day.
I was inspired and got into film photography by a good friend of mine. I already owned the x700 but after playing around with his Leica m6, I did some research and read some of Ken Rockwell’s material. I pulled the trigger on my first Leica M3and instantly fell in love with this 1956 fully mechanical piece of art. The simplicity of the Leica helped me to further simplify my style of photography in both the film world and digital. I would say that my style of photography is still “street” or candid.
I’ve recently, within the past year , began doing more portraits which I’m using the same principles I use with street to capture the portraits. Candidness.. I try to capture a real emotion. Whatever FEELS right for that moment.
If I could give advice to anyone starting out in photography, whether it be street or portraiture. I’d say to simplify your gear and yourself, figure out why you’re even holding a camera in your hands, what inspires you. I started out chasing the best and most technologically advanced cameras and the best lenses, now I own 4 film cameras (Leica M3 which I bought from KEH Camera, a Leica R4s also from KEH, an old Minolta x700 and a medium format Mamiya RB67). and one digital (Fuji x-pro1). It wasn’t until I simplified that I became more aware as to who I am as a photographer. Also, learn from the greats, but don’t try to become them.
Thank you, Cory , for allowing us to share these photos! Check out more of his work on Instagram at @MacksPhotos_.
Are you interested in being our Top Pic of the Week? Tag #KEHSpotlight in your photos for a chance to be featured.