Mike Chudley in his video on Why 85mm is RUINING your Street Photography
I believe that 85 millimeter lens could be ruining your street photography and more precisely hindering your ability to improve as a street photographer
someone walking down the street at f/1.4 isn’t street photography it’s lazy
First things first, I really like Mike’s videos (usually) and have followed him on instagram for a long time. He is a great photographer and one of my inspirations. I’ve DM’d him a couple of times to say I love his photography, and he seems like a nice, genuine guy. I think this video is purposely explosive to get views and spark discussion. Which is a good thing, but I’d like to push back.
The way the video comes across, and some statements made infuriate me because it is needlessly preachy. Not because I’m a fan of 85mm, but because it’s dismissive. I simply can’t get as close as 35 mm in the places I go, I can’t walk around London for hours on end, so I have to take what I can find. Smaller towns and villages are my stomping ground and I have to be a bit further away, I’m afraid.
I agree with what he is hinting at. Low aperture shots look nice, but often don’t show off the whole point of street photography. All the situational information and the environment is blurred out, removing the entire point. But smaller focal lengths just don’t suit my style, so to say I am lazy, and my photography isn’t good enough because I don’t like standing on top of people is just bizarre.
I switched off when he claimed that “walking down the street at F 1.4 isn’t street photography, it’s lazy”. There is some useful advice in there somewhere, but the hyperbole ruined it for me.