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  • Writer's pictureAbhishek Deb

Lil Steinberg


Photo - Lil Steinberg

Lil Steinberg


A photographer who believes in respecting people while shooting with a smile is a rare but ideal gem in the street photography world. Such photographers are not only able to capture the essence of their subjects but also make them feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. They are able to create a relaxed atmosphere that allows their subjects to be themselves and express their true emotions.


Street photography is a fascinating art form that captures the essence of urban life. In this series of interviews, we’ll be talking to some of the world’s most talented street photographers, who will share their insights, techniques, and experiences in capturing the beauty and complexity of the streets.

In our 3rd installment of this interview series, we have had a detailed conversation with Lil Steinberg and it turned out to be a charm in disguise!


 

Why and when did street photography become your THE thing? What exactly inspired you?


Lil: I was actually always attracted by people and street portraits more than by street photography till one day a very famous photographer told me “Enough with your portraits ..we all know you excel at this. Try street! The moment you will be able to do it, this will be the moment you will be a good photographer. “ So that is how I started shooting streets, actually during a trip to New York, which is of course an amazing location for that ...

It did not take me long before I got the street virus! Today street photography has become a real passion for me, my main activity.


How would you define your style of street photography?


Lil: As a person, I can get into easy contact with people so I have the ability to approach people without fear and it helps a lot. Lots of my street portraits are taken very close to the subjects. Someone told me lately, that one can feel the love I have for people in my frames, and I hope this person is right!

What is more important to you Lil, the people or the surroundings?


Lil: I think that a combination of both will give food for a good capture with a great story.


Lil, what would be your top list of tricks to succeed as a street photographer? Share some tips for people who are starting out on street photography..


Lil: First of all try to consult books from renowned photographers and get inspired by the best! Do not expect to become a great street photographer if not practicing a lot! Shoot, shoot, shoot! Build up a story, approach your subject, and be open to critique ! Never think you are good as you are learning every day! (that is a lot of energy in those exclamation marks)

Lil, when you look deep within, did street photography change you?


Lil: Street photography has made me very happy! I am never bored and can walk for hours alone wherever I am, even in a foreign country. My camera became like a part of my body and my approach towards people has changed with time.


So Lil, for a street photographer, what is beyond that camera?


Lil: Beyond the camera is the brain: how will I succeed to make this frame interesting? What should I do to captive the viewer? Which story could I tell? People often think that photography is nothing more than just a click or that success depends on the brand of the camera… Actually to succeed the photographer has to think a lot, look at everything around him, run, bend, move a lot…..anticipate a story, think composition, and be very patient sometimes, and even then one is not sure of the result 😕 


Is street photography your primary source of bread & butter?

Lil: No, luckily it is my passion!


Photo-Lil Steinberg

Out of your own work, pick the top three. Tell us the story behind those shots.


Lil: One in B/W was shot in Bnei Brak in Israel. Bnei Brak is a religious suburb in Tel Aviv and whilst walking there, I noticed kids with their faces glued to the window, looking at the outside world. This picture is in my opinion very strong as it might remind the viewer about a very dark time in humanity: the transport of children to the camps during world war II.


Photo-Lil teinberg

I love this scene as it really reflects India. The way people manage to sleep peacefully in the most unusual places and positions. I love the “meeting” of the horizontal legs and the legs of the man standing. It adds to the moment captured.


Photo-Lil Steinberg

The third one was taken in Rome. I saw a woman with a great hairstyle and smile. She was wearing a white dress with black dots and had the reflection of a white dot in her black sunglasses! How lucky I was!

Any shot you think that you may have missed and you must have taken?


Lil: I can not think of it but there are a lot I will want to take in the future.

Which camera(s) do you use? And what about your lenses and other accessories?


Lil: Fuji XT5, Fuji XT2 Ricoh GR-III wide lenses, accessories, and good shoes 😊 


Which other street photographers’ work inspires you the most?


Lil: Henri Cartier Bresson, Vivian Meyer, Bruce Gilden, Alex Webb, and Vineet Vohra are really good!

Well, Lil, what is your word of caution to amateur street photographers?


Lil: Before shooting somewhere try to inform about the laws in this specific area concerning photography of people, and more especially concerning kids.


What NOT TO DO in street photography?


Lil: Do NOT be aggressive; Try to respect people. Shoot with a smile.


Do you believe that street photographers are travel photographers too?


Lil: Street photographers are travel photographers shooting the streets abroad 😊 


Photo-Lil Steinberg
Photo-Lil Steinberg

What is your perspective on the relationship between Street Photography and Street documentary?


Lil: Street Photography and Street Documentaries are very close to me. You often can shoot both at the same location.


Do you follow any composition techniques by the books?


Lil: As a photographer, you should know all the techniques which will help you find your style and make great images.

I still believe though that rules can and should be broken sometimes! A photographer shooting with passion and emotion will deliver better work in my opinion than one that possesses the best techniques but has no feelings!


Any project that you remember more than everything else?


Lil: I have been following a dancer for 4 months, the whole day, from morning till evening, at her work and at her home, and this is for a special project. She was rehearsing for a ballet at Suzan Dellal in Tel Aviv. It was a very difficult and intense project, but I loved doing it! In the end, it was exhibited 3 times.


Any location that you dream to cover next? Or any place that you would want to revisit?


Lil: So many on my bucket list …


What makes you say “Wow!” when you see some other street photographers’ work? (and the reverse)


Lil: The picture that touches my soul, that I will never forget!

What a way to wrap up this conversation! “A picture that touches the soul”, we believe this will stay as a thought-provoking as well as an insightful read for a lot of other street photographer souls who are either into this discipline with full vigour and are trying their hands on it.


 

Lil Steinberg

You can connect with Lil Steinberg on Instagram | Facebook


If you are a street photographer and own a credible body of work, you can be featured in The Street Photography Gallery’s Feature section. You only have to hit the button below or email us on thestreetphotographygallery@gmail.com



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