Johnny Stiletto

Johnny Stiletto's photos were taken throughout the eighties with a 35mm camera and he used around half a roll of his black and white film a day creating a collection of over 100,000 street photographs. His technique was simply to travel around London with his camera and he photographed anything that interested him. He positioned his camera at his waist, not looking at the viewfinder to create this very surreal perspective to his photos.

This candid photo above shows a couple kissing. I found it in an article on the BBC website and many people commented saying that they don't think Stiletto's photos show any skill or talent. Personally I think photography and any art form is subjective and there is no right or wrong way to do something. Johnny Stiletto used this candid technique of taking photos because that is what he finds aesthetically pleasing, he also used black and white film in the eighties despite colour photography becoming the norm for photographers at that time, but personally I like Stiletto's style. I think the use of black and white is powerful in making you focus on shape and form rather than colours in the photos. The way the photo above is blurry makes it even more captivating in my opinion, as it makes us feel caught in this quick moment like the passionate couple and I really think it adds to this intimate shot. The angle of the photograph also makes it look very surreal with how Stiletto has taken it at waist level without looking into the viewfinder, it changes all the dimensions we see, in particular with the lines on the steps and walls. I also think it adds to the passionate feelings we get from this shot because this slanted angle makes us feel like we are leaning with the embraced couple.

Another intimate photo from Johnny Stiletto is this one above of a woman in a ra-ra skirt, stood at her car. For me this photo represents a lot of what Stiletto's work was about, capturing the variety of people you see in London, from Mick Jagger and Francis Bacon on the underground, to new romantics and those from around the world. But London is also full of fashion variety and eighties fashion is something we often visualise when we think of that decade. Not only is this communicated through the woman's ra-ra skirt but I also think the composition and vantage point of this photo is interesting, in that it was taken passing this woman in a car and also the lines we see crossing each other from both cars and the station behind them.

After looking at Johnny Stiletto's photos and technique I decided to try taking some candid photos myself, with my phone at waist height without looking at the screen. I think especially with these kind of photos the decisive moment is very important to get a photo that is particularly captivating. I don't think these were particularly successful and for my next proper shoot I want to take my DSLR camera out to try this technique around my city.


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