Creative Process

Why is the 70-210 mm lens my choice for street photography?



”Rules are made to be broken.” But which rules to begin with? Ah, the ones according to which the best lenses for street photography are the 35 or the 50 mm, apparently you feel ”closer” to your subject. But since when examples have established rules? And how many examples have been misleading in history? You get the point.

I must say I first listened to the numerous advocates of those, tried the 28 mm on my micro 4/3 camera, tried the 50 mm, the results were ok. But while I felt I was still not getting it right, I just said you know what, let me get that telephoto. I just feel the result, the look, the bokeh, the closeness are  better. Again, if I have to prove it, it would be by example, which I am not going to try to. However, my examples just establish that this 70-210 mm is at least just as valid as any other choice.

I do believe in art as being objective though not only a subjective appreciation, tastes might be subjective, for example, I don’t like the taste of beans. But aesthetic has rules, so it can’t  be subjective.  I am willing to dedicate another post to this problematic subject.

In a sense, using a fixed prime provides an intimacy with the subject. You have to get close with that lens to capture the intimacy, right? Why is it you can’t capture that with a telephoto lens?  Can’t you capture the soul from a distance? Sure, you can!

And not only you can, but that is the best way not to disturb the natural flow of the scene, by setting up at a distance and shooting. If there’s a throng of people, I can isolate the subject without getting close. And, I can feature that subject among the other people. Or, if I want to get back and capture that subject against part of an urban backdrop, I can set the shot up nicely with my tele, without backing up, and possibly losing that moment.

The 70-210 is a very obvious lens, though. It makes me more obvious and my camera more noticeable. It is ok, I am willing to discuss with anyone who has questions, issues or concerns about it. After all that is part of the risk and I am willing to take it, for greater results.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *