Gary Perlmutter is one of our Academy teachers. Living in London, he has the perfect opportunity to capture the capital’s busy street life. But how did he come to be a photographer with his own style? Read the interview.
Calumet: How did you get into photography and what sparked your passion?
Gary Perlmutter: I got interested in photography as a young teenager, lusting after my father’s camera and then getting my own. However what really sparked my passion though, was getting my first ‘street photo’ published on the front cover of my local newspaper at the age of 15. From that point on I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career.
C: Where did you train to be a photographer?
GP: I did a 3-year diploma in photography at Richmond College back in the 70’s. But it was my first job working for a news agency in Shoreditch as an assistant photographer where I learnt the most in my 2 years with them.
C: Where do you find inspiration?
GP: I love people watching and they are my inspiration; just watching life’s moments unfold in front of me on the streets.
C: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
GP: I have been teaching photography since 2014 and it’s now this that I find most rewarding; so, in 5 years I would love to be doing this full time and let photography once again become what I do on my days off.
C: What equipment do you shoot with?
GP: I have always been looking for the perfect street camera and in 2011 I found it in the Fujifilm range when they brought out the X100. I have now owned and used most of their range.
C: What is in your bag on a photo shoot?
GP: When street shooting I like to keep it very simple gear wise. So I’ll always have the Fuji X-Pro2 with either their 23mm or 35mm lenses or the Fuji X70 with me. Then just a couple of spare batteries and a bottle of water!
C: How do you work with natural light?
GP: For me flash is a no, no when out on the streets. Light is one of the most important things in photography and I love sunny days with the contrast of sun and shadow. I often use spot metering to add drama to these situations.
C: Your work is amazing, what do you look for when taking a photo?
GP: Firstly thank you! I look for things happening that will make an interesting photograph not just a snapshot. I also love to capture humorous situations.
I get a buzz when I capture a special moment; it’s this buzz that keeps me wanting to go out again and again. Apart from that, commercially I shoot weddings, portraits etc.
C: Your work is very distinctive, what would be your dream assignment if you could do anything at all?
GP: Thank you again! Being paid to do street photography abroad as I love travelling to new locations. I did get commissioned by Airbnb to do some ‘street photography’ around London for their website, so who knows?
C: Have you ever been published and where?
GP: I have had articles published about me and my street photography on several websites including: stevehuffphoto.com and Eric Kim’s Blog. I also write monthly for Fujilove.com.
Got inspired? Sign up for one of Gary’s courses at Calumet Academy here.
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