1 Jul 2014

APF Street Photography Workshop

Photography had always been, so far, an individual activity for me, and intimate hobby, a way of spending quality time with myself merging three of the hobbies that give me more pleasure: walking, meeting new people, and photographing everything that I encounter along the way. Sundays have been, for the most part of the last year and a half, days of steps and shutter clicks, of rudimentary conversations with anonymous people and of urban discoveries. I have deeply enjoyed the path that has brought me, step by step, to where I am now, but for quite some time I have been thinking that I needed to move a bit further, that I should push myself harder in order to advance, learn, and grow as a photographer. And as the time was ripe, when I read about a workshop on Street Photography that was going to be held in my city, I had no hesitation: that was what I had been waiting for. I contacted them and last weekend the "APF Street Photography Workshop" took place at Hansar Hotel, downtown Bangkok.

Containers, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Patterns, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Gravity zero, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Parallelism, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Before this workshop, I had never received any formal education on photography, all my learning was done through the internet and through personal practice, going out and shooting as much as I could. I read, watched and heard lots of articles, books and videos about photography, and I observed countless photographies, but it was always random and probably unorganized, so this was the perfect chance for me to put some order in the chaos. We were a group of 16 photographers, guided by 4 mentors, and the workshop would last 3 days: Friday to Sunday. The first session was an introduction on what can be considered street photography, what tools we can use to work this genre efficiently, and what elements we should consciously look for in our scenes to get the strongest captures (things like lines, curves, triangles or yuxtapositions). With all this theory ingrained in our minds, we went back home to digest and comprehend what we had been shown, and the next morning we were all ready to go out and shoot, proving that we had learnt the lessons. First playing ground: Hualamphong Train Station.

Still life, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Balance, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Train frame, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The wait, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Reflection, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Somewhere else, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
In the afternoon we returned to the hotel, downloaded our pictures into our laptops and, guided by the mentors, we chose our top pictures from the morning session, which later were shared with everybody else, punctuated by the comments and critiques of mentors and colleagues alike. This proved to be a very revealing experience to me: from hearing comments that nailed my inner motives upon capturing an image, to critiques that allowed me to see the weaknesses of a capture and ways to overcome and improve it, to discover that popular favorites might not be my own, it was all a great experience that helped me sharpen my eye and broaden my perspectives. Once all pictures were commented, there was a new session with some more theory (layers, this time), and soon we were out again, ready for the second photo session, this time at busy Chatuchak Weekend Market.

On ice and laughs, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Rain run, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The flower in the garden, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Centrifuged, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Affection, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Game of motions, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Curiosity, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Through the palstic, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Threes, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Say hi!, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
It rained and the market was extremely crowded, so it was only natural that we all drifted away and ended up lost and separated from the rest; I took my time to wander around the countless aisles and lanes, but the light was dim and I did not seem to find any scene particularly interesting around me; nevertheless, I stayed longer and, once the rain stopped and the night lights started populating every stall, the market changed dramatically, and it was only then when I could see scenes that caught my attention and urged me to shoot. The following morning we would have the third and last photo session of the workshop, this time in a very different environment: Surasak neighborhood. So we left the computers and bags at the hotel, grabbed our cameras, and left at once.

The watch, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Levels of caution, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The gate to invisivility, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
In case of rain, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Alcoves , GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Start up, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Blue world, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Surasak is a very interesting quarter, since it holds a Hindu temple, a Buddhist-Burmese one, a Mosque and a couple of cemeteries, one of them Muslim and the other one Chinese, the biggest of Bangkok. We wandered in small groups around the narrow streets of this neighborhood, sharing ideas, inspirations, experiments, captures, all in a very relaxed and friendly way; we were all colleagues enjoying the same things but with our own, different styles. There was no competition but curiosity and healthy exchange of opinions, and this atmosphere is probably what surprised me the most. I felt so at ease with everybody that there was no place for insecurities or hesitations, it was all about enjoyment and learning. After a delicious meal at a local stall, we all reunited again at the hotel to revise our pictures from the last 2 sessions, going over the best of each of us again, humbly accepting critiques and the occasional praise, as well. And that was it. As quickly as it came, it was already gone. We exchanged contacts, and I'm sure this is just the beginning of a beautiful and fruitful relationship with many of them, colleagues and mentors alike. But as we were packing all our stuff to leave the hotel and return home, I just happened to see a glimpse of a scene that was unfolding right in front of me, so I grabbed the camera and captured my last shot of the workshop, a perfect synthesis of all elements learnt throughout those 3 days. Thanks for all your insights and hopefully we will meet soon again, friends of APF!

Game of reflexions, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Layers, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm


  1. Some really nice photos in this posting. Really good work. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you very much, John! It was an inspiring experience and it paid off!