Editor’s note: Wikipedia’s definition of street photography is, in part, photography that “features the human condition within public places.” This is what is so compelling about this genre, the emotions and sensations that good street photography evokes in the viewer. You don’t even have to know what it is about the image that speaks to you; just let it unfold.

The images below are all from MatadorU student and photographer Genaro Bardy, and he also took some time to tell us about his process.


On what he looks for when he's out shooting

I'm either looking for a nice frame and waiting for an interesting scene [to happen], or I just encounter someone special that I follow as much as I can without being seen. Street photography allows you to look at things differently: A very small detail can tell a story. I can pass by the same street every day and see totally different situations. That's the beauty of it.


On compositional tips for beginner street photographers

I would say do not care about composition rules. Every single style has been done by a better photographer than you; just try and find your voice. It takes time, so go out and shoot as much as you can. What helped me at some point was to give myself a theme for a shoot: only red color, only hands, only reflections, only faces from a 3-foot distance. And when you find what you like, practice it over and over.


On interacting with his subjects

Most of the time it's "don't ask for permission, beg for mercy." But when the person sees me I always look at him or her and smile, then interact if needed. "Yes I just took a picture of you. Maybe you'll like it..." Sometimes I don't feel like stealing the scene, I just go to the person and ask for a portrait, but I don't think that's real street photography. I actually met one of my best friends like that.


On research vs spontaneity

Most of the time I don't research, because I always have a camera with me. But when I go to a new city, I look at Flickr albums or Instagram hashtags before going out. That way I'll find interesting neighborhoods or previous works by local photogs where I can find inspiration.


On how he selects his photos to share with the world

I'm out for an emotion. I get a lot of different emotions while shooting, and sometimes the photo is aligned with it, sometimes not. When the eye, the light and the heart are aligned, that's a keeper for me.


On his favorite lenses

I started street photography with a 50mm after reading a Henri Cartier Bresson bio where he detailed his love for this lens. Now I'm using a Leica 35mm Summicron (F2.0) on a daily basis. I find it more versatile. And more and more I'm shooting wider with a 24mm, especially in a new city where I want to do more architecture scenes. (All focal lengths refer to a full frame sensor — I'm shooting with a Sony A7 on the streets.)


On preparing for a shoot

I always take one more battery and a spare SD card. I don't want to miss a thing just because I was stupid.


On post-processing

I don't do much. I have my black and white and color Lightroom presets that I like, which are copycats of famous films like Tri X or Provia. I hate cropping, so editing is pretty fast. I think cropping is cheating, like 70-200mm lenses. "If you want better pictures, just get closer to your subject." Robert Capa, right?