“I like when people aren’t aware of the camera but if you get caught the person is looking right down the lens that can be great too. For my own work I think it works best when you take a risk.”
Steven Quinn (born in 1981) is a visual artist and street photographer currently based in London.
Interview with Steven Quinn
Steven, which image do you consider to be your “best shot” so far?
This shot is for some reason a memorable one. Great light! A woman staring right at me but unable to do anything about it. That’s one reason I love trains. As soon as I took this one I knew it was good. I had set the focus when she wasn’t looking and held the camera between two people waiting to see if there was a gap. Which there was.
What was your first camera and photographic experience?
I’m not sure what my first experience with a camera was but my dad has always had a camera & taken it everywhere. I just go that one step further documenting random people I don’t know rather than a family of people I do.
What does photography mean to you?
It does sound a bit stupid but its to the frustration of the people around me that when I go literally anywhere I need to take my camera. To me there is no point seeing anything if you haven’t taken a photo of it.
Which photographer has inspired you most and in what way?
Arthur Fellig, or better known as “Weegee”. When you get home and think you got a few good photos you see Weegee’s work and think you could always be bolder and get closer or not be frightened to go take a picture.
What kinds of photography do you like best?
Voyeuristic street photography. I like when people aren’t aware of the camera but if you get caught the person is looking right down the lens that can be great, too. For my own work I think it works best when you take a risk.
Over the years I have developed a few methods of distraction. Putting the camera on a timer, hiding it in a bag, putting someone you know in front of you with the lens poking under their arm, using a cable release and so on.
Or just being blatantly overt. It’s always fun if you are on a situation where someone can’t physically get to you. Someone on a train, taking photos from a bus or car etc.
What kind of camera and photographic equipment do you use?
Canon 7D with a wide-angle lens so I can get close & still get a lot in. I usually have a ring flash & 50mm handy just in case.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
“The Art of Creative Photography”, of course. (laughs)
Flickr I like, too. I know it’s not ‘about’ photography, but I find Flickr is the most direct way to keep up to date with photographers I like that are carving the current photography scene of the future.
How do you learn more things in order to improve your photographic skills? Are photography books a source of information and inspiration?
I subscribe to SOURCE and visit galleries and museums, buy photography books etc. But again Flickr is a great resource for info. You can search by lens, by camera. When I got this current lens & camera, I looked at nighttime shots people had taken using the same equipment.
I then looked at their EXIF settings to see what was good for certain conditions. Though to be honest auto functions are great these days especially if your walking past someone and need to take a photo in a split second.
What book about photography would you recommend?
I would say get any decent book on Weegee especially if your into Street photography. Something with a decent amount of text too. He is such an interesting character.