My name is Patrick Stevens, I’m a street photographer living in San Francisco, CA. I’ve been shooting street daily for the past 3 years. I shoot primarily black and white as I prefer the esthetic and it also helps simplify my decision making process on the streets. I’m inspired by the rich history of photography and the greats that paved the way within the street and documentary genres.
When was your first picture taken?
Outside of disposable cameras that I had as kid and cell phones over the years, my first picture was taken when I got my a
real camera December of 2018. I purchased a Leica QP with a 28mm Summilux lens.
How do you put the person, place, or thing in front of the camera onto film, chip, or paper the way you want it to?
My approach to street photography is all movement based (for the most part). Either myself, subject, or both of us are in motion. I’ve very aware of my camera settings. I zone focus 1-3 meters out most of the time, as I don’t want to miss a frame by wasting time manually focusing and I don’t want to auto focus as I want to maintain control of the subject, foreground, and background. I do consider myself a hunter vs a fisher and candid photography with natural emotion is what excites me.
What photographers have influenced you, and how have they influenced the way you approach your subject?
Great question as I fell in love with the rich history of photography prior to actually owning a camera. I’m a big fan of the Magnum style of street/documentary style photographers. Here’s a short list of my all time favorites:
William Klein, Larry Towell, Mark Cohen, Eugene Richards, Bruce Gilden, Trent Parke, Daido Moriyama, Garry Winogrand, Jason Eskenazi, Ray Metzker, Gilles Peress, Paolo Pellegrin, Joel Meyerwitz, Bruce Davidson, Raymond Depardon, Alex Majoli, Elliot Erwitt, Tom Wood.
What exactly do you want to say with your photos, and how do you make your photos do that?
I really don’t know how to answer that as I think a lot of the why behind my photography style is more focused on asking questions more then I ever actually answer with my frames. I seem to be attracted to intimately documenting the human condition (good and bad) and how we all interact and impact each other. I personally don’t have good answers to many or any of these bigger life questions. I feel in a weird way that if I can be consistent with a growth mindset to the craft of photography. I’ll someday have more answers than questions. At least that’s the aspirational hope.
What photographic gear do you use to stay focused on what you do best when shooting?
My focus is best when physically moving, walking, interacting with those around me. Exercise has always been apart of my life and Im continually challenging myself to get the most out of every day. Finding ways to incorporate photography into that vision is what spurred my “always chasing daylight” instagram page. My camera is always by my side and Im always looking to capture the world through my lens with a carpe diem mentality.
I don’t use a lot of equipment. I have 2 Leicas which are both Monochrome or Black and White only. M10M and my e. They both have 28mm lenses and outside of that I do use Lightroom to touch up my files, but I know if I’m spending more than a few mins in Lightroom I just need to take a better picture.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures? Is it political, intellectual or emotional?
I’m spilt between physical and emotional motivation as they impact and feed of each other. I relate my attraction to photography (which is now boarders on an addiction) to any craft that you physically create something and the. put it out in the world for others to judge/comment on. It’s a vulnerable yet addict pursuit. The photography community as a whole is very generous, kind, and very supportive. This really helped me over the past 3 yrs develop a style, confidence, and ultimately a body of work that is cohesive and hopefully continuing to grow.