E/S: What attracts you to street photography?
Michal Daniel: Street photography is what attracted me to making photos in the first place. I'm a voyeur by nature, always have been, before I even picked up a camera. With the camera, I can make the moments of voyeurism last longer. Back in the early 70s, I started with a Leica M4. I lived in England for three years, and it was there that I saw a Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit, of close to 300 prints. Blew my mind! I beelined for a bookstore, bought Henri-Cartier Bresson Photographer, and proceeded to study every image, through the viewfinder of my Leica, to try and understand exactly what he did.
E/S: What cameras do you use, and what is each kind good for?
These days, I make money as a live entertainment photographer. With the latest, greatest Canon gear. But, that is much like shooting fish in a barrel. So, to spice things up, about ten years ago I picked up the now way discontinued Eyemodule2, the camera add-on for the now also done and gone Handspring organizer. 640x480 resolution, massive shutter delay, crappy lens, HUGE challenge! I enjoyed it up to now, but last year I started to feel a bit stale with it. Then I read about the ARAX 6x6. Ordered it that day. It's HUGE, heavy, slow, and totally manual. Love having to come back to where I started, but harder. I mean, you can hide a Leica in the pocket. No way to hide the ARAX! So, I'm discovering a whole now way to work. For years, I've been completely hidden with my Eyemodule2. Don't mind me, just organizing here, is all I'd project to my photo subjects. I got as close to them as is possible, without them knowing I was making pictures. With the ARAX, the exact opposite is in play. They know. They really, really know. I am in their face, with a HUGE tool. So, it's sort of full spiral, for me. Started with street stealth and a Leica, worked my way to near invisibility with the Eyemodule2, now out in the open and communicating with my subjects, with the ARAX.
E/S: What kind of pictures do you hope to achieve?
Portraits and glimpses of real life. Nothing fake or faked, just what I see as I make my way through the day, translated to photos. Incongruities are my favorites. Nothing like one part of the image saying one thing and the other saying something else altogether. And humor, of course. If I can crack people up, I'm happy!
E/S: Thanks Michal!
Michal told me about the Arax camera, and as a collector, I just had to get one:
It is an impressive camera, and a fun camera, but as the very reasonable price should clue you in to, it's not an all that good camera. The finder is dark and small and can't be used with glasses, and it does not even have an instant-return mirror, something which has been standard for over 30 years.
But heck, I just got it for the love of cool gear.