Researched by Roberta Pastore
I’m a 61 years old businessman, family man and a passionate photographer. I was born in a Tel-Aviv suburb , a short while after the birth of the state of Israel . To grow up during the 50’s and the 60’s, in a complicated developing country, was a great and constant lesson, about people and about human nature. I am what you might describe as a very serious amateur. It means that I would do almost everything to get a good frame, but I don’t make a living from photography. I Being an optimist , I try to see and show the good side of life. Most of the times, I would stop, when the ugliness begins. Describing myself as a private person, I like to give my subjects the same opportunity.
I am aware to the fact that poverty and misery, are very good eye catchers, but I respect people, and try show their life and behavior, in a less realistic, more esthetic, or should I say artistic way. Unlike many street photographers, I am not a stalker but a reactor. I will hardly wait for the opportunity, but identify one and react (very) quickly to it. For me, to be caught without a camera, is like being caught without water. I will always have at least one camera in my bag, and on my travels, at least two.
My first Nikon , back in the 70’s was a Nikomat film SLR. Today, I use modern, up to date Nikon DSLR’s, and a variety of high quality, Nikon glass. Both, zoom and prime lenses.
On the street, I usually get the best results in the 20-35mm focal lengths, but 16mm or 85mm, also serve me well. In spite of being a Nikon fan, I had recently bought a beautiful , irresistible street oriented, Fuji X100S , and I love it! Till the year 1998, I did not have the drive to expose my photographs, to other people. During this year, my younger brother, had seen some works of mine, and had convinced me to share them with other photographers and individuals.
Through the social media, I had the chance to be exposed to work of great international photographers, learn and (hopefully) become a better photographer.
I had also gained some good “flesh and blood” friends, whom I would have never met .
When did you start a passion for the photography?
I had a passion for photography since my teen years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the costs of film and development, so this unfulfilled passion had to wait until my twenties, when I purchased my first series SLR camera.
What was your first camera?
My very first camera was a Kodak instamatic 100, with a 126 film cartridge. Because of its square format, I believe that this camera, taught me a thing or two about composition, even before I knew how to spell the word…The serious and significant breakthrough was when I purchased the Nikomat FTN, 35mm SLR (In the US it was known as Nikkormat) with a 50mm lens. During the years I have been a using Nikon cameras and lenses, film and digital.
My current cameras are the D3 and D600 full frame cameras. Recently I added the Fujifilm X100s, which is an outstanding camera, especially for street photography.
What is photography to you?
Photography is a deep and personal part of my soul. As a business man, I wear my “every day at work armor”. When I am out at the streets, taking pictures, I no longer wear that armor and my true self, with all my thoughts, feelings and life experience is channeled to the photographs I take. As a friend once told me – “When you take pictures, you are Sammy unplugged!”
And what should not be instead?
My art will not be commercialized!
Which masters of photography inspired you?
The art of photography is relatively young, and very different in my view, from other “traditional” visual arts. This art, especially documentary and street, is about life as we see it in present days. For me, the most influential master of photography is Robert Capa .Interestingly that influence does not appear in my photos. If anything, the influence of Henry Cartier Bresson can be recognized in my photography, especially regarding the “decisive moment”.
So why Capa? Because his great work makes me appreciate life, as life is beautiful! In that respect, Steve McCurry is a photographer that I admire, and want to learn from. One final note for this question, I do not feel comfortable writing my name in the same page with great masters of photography, I just answer the question…
What is the photo that struck you the most of a great photographer of the story?
Robert Capa – Death of a Republican Soldier (1936).
What is your favorite technique?
I always carry a camera with me, I always look for a story, and when I find one I react! I realize that this is not the traditional way to take street photos, but this makes a challenge which I enjoy and it is very rewarding. I use only equipment which I can relate to, and master it technically. The camera and lens should never stand in my way, but rather be an extension of my mind.
I might add that I often use some post processing in order to complement the shot. As my dear friend Arie wrote just the other day “Creative photography does not stop, nor finished when the shutter release is pressed!” I more than agree!
Why do street photography?
I have explored and still enjoy other kind of photography, but I was always fascinated by the human behavior, and its relation to the environment. Street photography is very compelling in that respect.
What is your best shot and what does it represent to you?
How can a father be asked to choose a child? I prefer to leave the viewers to decide for themselves.I always approach to a shot of mine a while, after it was taken, never immediately. That way I can judge it dispassionately, and as a critique. Furthermore, I send photos for review to two friends of mine, which I value their opinion and sincerity. Those friends, Arie Arielly and Rami Yemini, are active members in this wonderful group.
I listen to them very carefully, and only then decide, what the final outcome will be. I believe that it is very easy to fall in love in one’s photo, and in order to avoid this honey trap, I try to be the most merciless critique of me.
What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?
Before the shot, no relation! I respect people and try to avoid embarrassment and humiliation. Once I have taken the shot, my subjects and I are related forever after!