When I turned six years old my parents took me to the Zoo for the first time to see Nocturama. It is a facility where visitors can find nocturnal animals and have the chance to see how they live and behave under artificial darkness which tries to simulate the dark of the night. They stroke me as being sad, not only were they caged and stranded but also in distress. They behaved as if they were continually looked up on or if they were going to be hunted down by a predator.
Extrapolated to real life, Nocturama is set to invite spectators to discover scenes out on the street related to fear and lack of safety people may feel at night, whilst the wonder on their own through dark alleyways or beneath the city lights.
Nocturama tries to represent the vulnerability towards the unknown and intends to capture the premonition that something bad could happen in the dark of the night. Without any doubt, fear is a natural feeling that is capable of paralyzing and taking control of anyone’s mind. But, when do we start to wonder if we are being followed or stalked? Which are the secrets that may lie among the shadows and city lights? Are you an observer or being observed?
“I normally shoot with my X-T2 and one prime lens attached, that’s it”
My favourite gear is the lightest equipment. I don’t like to have options or distractions when I am shooting, so I prefer to be practical and productive while I am traveling or I am walking on the streets. I normally shoot with my X-T2 and one prime lens attached, that’s it.
I know some street and travel photographers who carry heavy gear, like 2-3 cameras plus 2-3 lenses. For me, this is so uncomfortable and it goes against my personal idea of how to hunt the “decisive moment”.
To give you an idea of my way of shooting, I decided to carry in my last trips to Turkey, Iran and Bolivia just my Fuji X-T2 plus the XF23mm f2 lens. Fortunately, it was the best decision I’ve ever taken, because I was able to make one of my best street photography works so far. I bet for the lightest gear and the results were outstanding. If you are just focused on your goals you will avoid distractions, then you will reach your goals quicker.
“Actually I only have 2 lenses, which is enough”
When I bought my first camera 9 years ago, I started shooting with the zoom kit lens (like everybody I guess). Soon I discovered the wonderful prime lens world and since then, I only shot with prime lenses.
Actually I only have 2 lenses, which is enough. I have the XF23mm f2 and the XF35mm f2. Both are really close to each other in focal range, but this slight difference makes a big difference in my way of shooting and composing. In any case, soon I will change the XF35mm f2 for the XF50mm f2 in order to cover a wider focal range.
“Remember: don’t be scared about high ISO, just be concerned about missing your shot!”
Shooting at night
Shooting at night is very pleasant because I usually pass unnoticed; undoubtedly, it is the biggest benefit comparing with shooting in daylight. However, there are always downsides too, and the biggest disadvantage I found is directly related to autofocus. Sometimes it’s hard for my lenses to hunt at night; dark places can be a real challenge for night street photo. Apart from this, I didn’t find any remarkable problem at all.
Shooting at night also means to take pictures in a different way we would in daylight. This difference begins in my camera settings. This way, I always set my ISO at 3200 to make sure that I will not miss any moment. Some people complain about high ISO because it adds some noise on the picture. However, as a film photographer I am too, I like to add some noise (let’s name it grain) on my pictures because they will look like film pictures. Remember: don’t be scared about high ISO; just be concerned about missing your shot!
I only develop my pictures in Lightroom. I am very purist on my way of editing my workflow; therefore I always try to give the most natural look to the final results, as close as possible to reality.
Check Jose’s website for other projects and Street/Travel work. And don’t forget to follow him on Instagram:
Jose Carpin was born in Madrid, Spain in 1982. He started photography in 2011, as he left Spain and moved to South Africa to work. Since then, He is traveling and exploring the world, looking for the most iconic cultures and unexpected everyday life scenes.
His idea of photography is motivated by the effort and desire to reveal and express what his senses feel while he is walking through the streets of his hometown or traveling to remote places in the world, in order to show to the people the value, beauty and secrets of the world.