“My passion is street photography and I tend to take quirky and humorous photos,” says photographer Eric Davidove. He continues: “Maybe it’s because I was a street mime for ten years and I have a knack for spotting and exploiting situations like this.” Davidove recently submitted his series mission district to our artistic team, and we share it with you.
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Eric Davidove offers a wide range of street photography galleries on his website. He could have submitted any of his collections, and we would have gladly featured it – that’s so good! As it stands, Davidove chose to submit Direct mission, a series of candid images taken in one of San Francisco’s oldest neighborhoods. The series is full of dynamism and action and offers an improvised insight into one of San Francisco’s subcultures.
Eric Davidove’s essential photographic equipment
“I shoot with the Sony a7RIII camera and a 35mm G Master Prime lens. It’s my go-to camera for street photography because it’s a full frame with a high quality sensor , it focuses quickly and accurately on moving subjects, has a high frame rate, and there are plenty of good lens options.
Photographer: Why did you get into photography?
Eric Davidove: I suddenly found myself unemployed and felt like it could take up to a year to get my next “good” job. This was the third time I had been in this predicament in the previous five years. Needless to say, my anxiety and stress levels were relatively high and I desperately needed to find a fun and healthy distraction. Then it occurred to me. My new camera (purchased mainly for use on vacation) was quietly gathering dust and I had plenty of free time. I went around town, for long stretches, walking aimlessly, without a specific route in mind and taking pictures of anything that caught my eye. Just what the doctor ordered! I was having fun, exercising, discovering new places, meeting new people and doing something creative.
Photographer: Which photographers are your biggest influences? How did they influence who you are and how you create?
Eric Davidove: Certain well-known and famous street photographers strongly influence me (not surprisingly), as do my contemporaries. I tend to spend more time studying street photographers who are active today to understand and learn new techniques and approaches. This includes pursuing social media (mainly Instagram and Facebook) as well as online galleries of street photography competitions. Additionally, I enjoy looking at fine art photography, experimental photography, and photojournalism. Looking at the work of other photographers often sparks new ideas and challenges me to experiment more.
Photographer: How long have you been photographing? How do you think you have evolved since your debut?
Eric Davidove: I started taking photos (other than family and vacation photos) about six years ago and I feel like my work has changed dramatically and improved. In the beginning, I pretty much took a photo of anyone doing anything and wasn’t too unique or creative in how I used my camera. My instinct of what to shoot was pretty good, but my camera skills were pretty basic. Over the years, I feel like I’ve done a better job of creating less repeatable photos, with stronger, more artistic, more memorable, and more cohesive narratives. I also take fewer photos when taking pictures because I have become much more discerning and precise.
Photographer: Tell us about your photographic identity. You have an identity that basically makes you who you are. Tell us about this person as a photographer.
Eric Davidove: I take photos for myself and try to give less importance to external “rewards” such as the number of likes and followers on social networks, contest prizes, photo sales, etc. . Easier said than done. I want to take photos that speak to me, that match my “voice”, and without too much extrinsic motivational influence. Sometimes it’s very tempting to succumb to the pressure of becoming a popular photographer and maybe start emulating other successful photographers. Public and commercial rejection and failure can really suck. I hate that my photos don’t get selected for an exhibition or win awards. My ego and confidence are negatively affected. I try to forget rejection and failure as soon as possible and move on.
Photographer: Natural light or artificial light? Why?
Eric Davidove: I mainly shoot outdoors during the day and prefer natural light. Using a flash draws too much attention to me and spoils the candid moment or angers some people who think I should have asked their permission before taking their picture. Some photographers use flash skillfully, and I’d like to improve my flash skills for situations where subjects expect or want a photographer’s attention (eg festivals or events). Night photography with artificial lights intrigues me and I want to spend more time developing this skill set.
Photographer: Why are photography and shooting so important to you?
Eric Davidove: Photography has improved my life because it has given me the opportunity to develop and develop new skills. Plus, it took me out of my home to discover and appreciate new places and people, and it fueled my need for a creative outlet.
Phoblographer: Do you feel more like a creator or a documentalist? Why? How does the equipment help you do that?
Eric Davidove: I have worked as a paid freelance photojournalist for two regional newspapers and a company specializing in food photography. In addition, I have been hired by individuals who are interested in family photos, portraits of themselves or their dogs. I also sold my photos to individuals and magazines. My passion, however, is photography as an art form where I have the freedom to take the pictures I want to take, the way I want to take them. I like being both a creator and a librarian, but I think I’m more of a creator who prefers independence and who has total control over everything.
Phoblographer: What goes through your mind when you create images?
Eric Davidove: Often I stop to take pictures because I feel like something interesting is about to happen. Sometimes it’s because an interesting moment is already happening. Other than that, I’m triggered by lighting conditions, the presence of intriguing shapes and forms, vibrant colors, and interesting people.
Photographer: Please tell us about your processing techniques. Also tell us about how you get your look without Photoshop if you’re comfortable with it.
Eric Davidove: I am a minimalist treatment and I do as little as possible, and only what I think is necessary. I strive to take a picture with my camera that is near perfect and requires very little post-editing. My processing workflow includes basic adjustments such as white balance, exposure, highlights and shadows, contrast, and noise reduction. I will occasionally crop my photos a bit. In most cases, I try to get a photo that looks natural, where my edits aren’t easily noticeable. Sometimes I make an exception when editing photos that have very distracting silhouettes, reflections or elements.
Photographer: Tell us about the project or portfolio you are sharing. Be descriptive with who, what, when, where, how and why.
Eric Davidove: I call this photo project “Mission District” which is one of the oldest and most exuberant neighborhoods in San Francisco. The Mission is an evolving neighborhood with Latino roots and a hipster vibe, brilliant artwork and beautiful architecture. The project I sent to you includes photos of the lowrider community that I have taken over the past four years. I grew up in Southern California and my high school kids (mid 70s) were usually called lowriders, surfers or whatever. Although most of my friends were surfers, I had a few lowrider friends. Perhaps my high school experience with lowriders drew me to the Mission District and formulated my interest in taking photos like the ones I’ve shared with you.
Photographer: What made you want to get into your genre?
Eric Davidove: Street photography was a good genre for me to start my photographic journey because I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on equipment, I didn’t need models or studios, and I lived near a city. which has interesting people, architecture, geography, festivals and events. The weather and lighting conditions are also very good. I was also drawn to the spontaneity and challenge of seeking out and acting on those special, quick moments.
Photographer: What motivates you to photograph?
Eric Davidove: My greatest motivation is my progress. Every time I shoot I feel like I’m learning and improving a bit more. I’m also driven by the satisfaction of being in the right place at the right time, and not making mistakes when using my camera.
Photographer: Explain why readers want to see your work, or why your project is really cool.
Eric Davidove: My Mission District photo project is fresh, colorful and interesting. Most of your readers will not have attended a lowrider festival or event and will not know much about the lowrider community. They’ll think my project is cool because it’s unique.
You can find out more about Eric by visiting his website and Instagram.
All images by Eric Davidove. Used with permission.