Word on the street! A street photographer’s story – Francis Gorrez

I like to consider myself a street photographer. I do all other sorts of photography – parties, events, travel, landscape, portraits and more. But what I love most is street photography. That is my central groove. It is my art. That is what got me into photography in the first place. It got me out and about. It was also what led me to make the move to Fujifilm X Series cameras and bodies. I felt I had so much more creative control to capture my own style of art.

In reviewing all of the blogs that we have on the Fuji X Aus site, and there are a lot of highly informative and inspirational pieces, I have never pursued to write about street photography as a genre. I believe it will make for an interesting discussion and to find out why people become street photographers. Why does someone choose to become a full-time wedding photographer? Why does someone take hours and hours to create and style the perfect portrait shot? Surely it must be more than just commercial gain. For street photographers, there is no commercial gain. Or very little anyway. I believe it is all about the art. A frozen moment in time that will never exist again. An interpretation of life in motion. Or frozen in motion.

In this new series, I want to explore what street photography means to some of the street photographers that inspire me. Photographers whom I consider to be artists in their ability to control time, light and their own place in space and time to capture amazing street images. I want to get to know and share with your, dear reader, why they chose this genre, what their inspirations are and how they define this elusive field of photography. Our third interview is with Francis Gorrez.  He has been a regular contributor to our community for some time and I have always admired his ‘lunch-break’ street photography.

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Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Just your regular family man with the wife and 2 kids(they don’t like being called kids much. Seeing as they are over 20 that’s probably justified). I come from the Philippines originally but converted to Aussieism around 20 years ago(g’ day mate and all that).

There are quite a few artists in my family, but I could never paint or draw myself (must have left out a gene or two when they made me). In photography, I finally found a medium I could actually work with.

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How did you come to find yourself shooting street photography? Was it an intentional attempt at the genre or did it happen more organically than that?

I was shooting mostly landscapes and family on film at the start but after picking up my first DSLR in 2004 over the next few years developed this desire to shoot something, anything, everything! Given I worked in the city 9 to 5 the opportunities to shoot were limited to on my way to work, lunchtimes and on my way home- which pretty much meant shooting on the street once or twice a week. I didn’t actually know there was such a genre until my first photo walk(google+) in 2011 and while sharing photographs somebody tells me “oh, you do street photography”, and I go “uh, street photography?, yeah, yeah that’s what I do”.

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How would you describe street photography to someone who knew nothing about it?

Each city has a lifeblood, a pulse, a rhythm if you will. That lifeblood is its people, creating a uniqueness outside of its physical structures that ebb and constantly flows through the day. Being able to see and capture from your own perspective even a portion of that flow is what street photography is about. *note: If I get a blank look after that, I just say it’s about taking random photos of random people on the street.

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Is there a mindset you find you have to be in to shoot street?

It’s different every day but primarily two things I do at the start and during the day:
Tabula rasa – I try to clear my mind of any preconceived idea of what I will shoot on a particular day. I find I do my best work when I start this way. It may develop into a particular theme as you go along but generally start with a blank slate. Stop looking for that decisive moment! You are closing yourself off to all the other precious little moments happening along the way.

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What key elements do you try to incorporate in a street photography composition?

Can’t always find it but I look for multiple layers of interest. I try to create a tension between the primary subject and whatever is happening in the background be it other people or objects, etc.

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What do you personally get out of street photography?

My catch line in most of my social media accounts is “I just like the sound the shutter makes”. In other words, it is the process of creating the image that I enjoy the most. Being able to share that image and the story it tells(although it doesn’t always) is a bonus.

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What is your favourite Fujifilm body and lens combination when it comes to shooting street photography? Why this kit?

X-T2 (mostly because that’s all I have).  I primarily use two lenses from opposite sides of the spectrum. The 23mmf2 and the 90mm are my favourites depending on the mood on the day. I may decide I want to incorporate more of the background and use the 23 or want to get more isolation and use the 90 or use both as the day progresses.

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If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

Mostly on Instagram https://instagram.com/francisgorrez 

I also have a website that is a work in progress if you want to see my other photographic endeavours www.francisgorrez.com.au

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