Photography by Tom Lane

Street Photography

I had difficulty in finding my own words to describe Street Photography and so referred to the Internet for inspiration. Even there, there were so many different definitions, but I thought the following was the most appropriate.

Street photography, a genre of photography that records everyday life in a public place. The very publicness of the setting enables the photographer to take candid pictures of strangers, often without their knowledge. Street photographers do not necessarily have a social purpose in mind, but they prefer to isolate and capture moments which might otherwise go unnoticed.

It is an aspect of photography that I particularly enjoy, as unlike a landscape or architectural scene which can be recaptured at will, what happens in that 1/250 of a second (or whatever) when the shutter is opened, is a “one-off” moment in time which will never be repeated. I also feel Street Photography is important, as it will document how this generation lived, for the benefit of the next.

Picking the Winners” – taken in Barbados.                                                                                                   (Leica M240 with 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens)

Street Artist” – in May 2013, Leica introduced a revolutionary camera which would only take Black & White images, to be known as the M9 Monochrom. This was a brave move on Leica’s part, as who in their right mind was going to pay over Six thousand pounds for a camera body which was incapable of recording colour. Anyone who knows me will be aware of my love for B&W photography and so I put my name down for one right after the introduction. The camera was so popular that it was November before my regular retailer ‘phoned me to say mine had arrived. I grabbed a lens and drove the 200 miles to Manchester to collect it. This image was taken within ten minutes of getting the camera and started a love affair with the Monochrom which has lasted until today.                                                                                                                                        (M9 Monochrom with 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens)

Blowing Off Steam” – another image, taken in Manchester town centre, within minutes of me getting my hands on the Leica Monochrom.

The Warrior” – taken one New Year in Cape Town, South Africa. The camera was a Nikon D810 with the 85mm f1.4 Nikkor Lens. Africa is one place where I don’t take Leica cameras, as usually a safari is the major reason for our visit and Leica cameras are not really suited to using telephoto lenses.  Whereas the Nikon’s are perfect with the 600mm f4.0, or 300mm f2.8 lenses I usually use.

NOTE; you’ll also find a different “Warrior” image in the Black & White section of the website. 

Round & Round” – Saville, Spain.                                                                                                                        (Leica M10 with 35mm f2.0 Summicron)

Playing For You: – again, Seville, Spain.                                                                                                             (Leica M10 with 50mm f2.0 Summicron)

Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link” – is a bridge that links Bandra in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai with Worli in South Mumbai. (Leica T with 18-56mm Vario-Elmar)

Looking None Too Happy” – Lyon, France                                                                                                                (Leica CL with 35mm f1.4 Summilux)

Johnny’s Kitchen” – Lyon in France.                                                                                                                       (Leica CL with 35mm f1.4 Summilux)

Being Spied Upon” – another image from Lyon.

Street Performance” – walking round Ho-Chi-Minh City, in Vietnam one Sunday morning, I came across this orchestra giving a street performance. There were hundreds, maybe a thousand in the audience, with a lot sitting on their scooters (mainly Honda 50’s) listening.         (Leica M9 with Tri-Elmar lens)

A small section of the “Street Audience” listening to the above performance.

It would seem that most couples in Ho-Chi-Minh City have their wedding photographs taken in front of the Railway Station Building. I guess it is one of the nicer buildings in the city.                                                                                                                            (Leica M9 with 28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar lens)

“Family Scooter” – taken somewhere in Asia, it could be really anywhere in S E Asia. I’ve been visiting the area since the 1980’s and I believe that these incredible little motorcycles have been one of the major changes to life there. It has meant that families have been able to travel for a relatively small investment, where before they were limited to how far they could peddle their bicycles.                                              (Leica M9 with Tri-Elmar lens)

Street Market” – in Bristol, England. Taken a number of years ago whilst participating in a Leica Street Photography Workshop.                                            (M9 Monochrom with 75mm f2.0 Summicron lens)

Cheeky” – some years ago I went to Manchester to photograph the riots they were having (can’t remember what it was all about) and as I was about to take this image when the one woman police officer turned and gave me a big smile. Great moment in time worth capturing. I prefer black and white for Street Photography but feel this works better in colour.                                                                         (Sony DSC-RX1 with fixed Zeiss 35mm f2.0 lens)

Austrian Bar” – taken in Vienna during one of the Leica Meetings held there.                           (Leica Monochrom with 21mm f3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH lens)

Walking Home” – another image taken in Vienna during the same meeting.                                         (Leica Monochrom with 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens)

Buying Herbs” – taken in Pike Place Market in Seattle.                                                                                            (Leica T with 18-56mm Vario-Elmar)

Striding Out Military Style” – I’d been watching these two and couldn’t believe my luck when they stepped off the pavement like two soldiers marching. One of my favourite street images taken at a small village in Portugal.                        (Leica M240 and a 35-70mm “R” lens using an adaptor & visoflex)

Checking For Messages” – the Souk in Dubai.                                                                                                        (Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit)

Taking A Rest” – one evening in the Gold Souk in Dubai.                                                                                       (Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit)

Caloocan, Metro-Manila” – when working, I used to visit the Philippines on a regular basis, as we ran an Aviation Training School at an old US Military Airport in Subic Bay. I would fly into Manila and then have to drive to Subic and this was taken on the outskirts of the city.               (Sony DSC-RX1)

Taxi Rank” – another image taken in Metro-Manila showing the motorcycle taxi rank. Because of the traffic jams it was quicker and cheaper to take one of these as opposed to a regular taxi, or jeepney.

Waiting For A Bus” – taken on one of the Caribbean Islands. I was more than a little worried when I took this that the camera may end up “somewhere where the sun don’t shine”. However, everyone seemed happy enough; nothing ventured, nothing gained.     (Leica M240 with 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens)

Petanque or Boules” – seems to be the national pastime of France, being played on the Southern French Coast somewhere around Nice. I particularly liked the strong shadows in this image.                                                                                             (Sony DSC-RX1 with fixed Zeiss 35mm f2.0 lens)

Japanese Waitress” – taken at a small bar in Osaka.                                                                                  (Leica M240 with 35mm f2.0 Summicron lens)

Deep In Thought” – portrait of a Turkish Lady taken in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.                        (Leica Monochrom with 28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar lens)

Struggling Uphill” – another image taken in Istanbul.                                                                                                                         (Leica Monochrom)

Storekeeper” – selling herbs and nuts in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Istanbul is a wonderful city for this type of photography and I never get bored of going there, as there is always something interesting to photograph.                                                                (Leica Monochrom with 28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar)

Looking back at “St Paul’s” from the Millennium Bridge in London. When working, I used to travel a lot and so had to go into London often, to apply for and collect visas. Sometimes I would drop off my passport in the morning and have to collect it later in the afternoon. On those occasions I would take a camera and take photo’s around the capital.                                                                                       (Leica Monochrom with 35mm f2.0 Summicron lens)

Commuter Cyclist” – taken in Copenhagen, Denmark.                                                                                        (Leica M9 with 50mm f1.0 Noctilux Lens)

Holding His Head Up” – taken in Melbourne, Australia during one of the “Leica One Challenge Meetings” in April, 2017. Basically the event is to allow likeminded photographers to get together for a couple of days of friendly banter, food and drink, during which we set ourselves a challenge to take 36 images in 2 hours. This photo was voted as being the best image of that trip.                                                    (Leica SL with 50mm f1.4 SL Summilux)

“Filming in New York” – these people were making a film, but I’m not sure what about. It could have been a soap, but there again it could have been some serious documentary. To me, this is what’s interesting, Street Photography can often leave the viewer with questions.

I Only Have Eyes For You” – taken in New York during a Leica Meeting in May of 2019. The couple could have been totally alone despite being on a crowded street.                                                                                                                                          (Leica SL with 50mm f1.4 SL Summilux)