The Business District: Portraits of Strangers in Black and White


I love taking my Diana F+ camera and some Ilford HP5 Black and White film down to the Business District in Toronto to take shots of strangers. Here are some shots and the stories of how I got them.

Credits: stevebarberoffice

With my trusty Diana F+ camera and some Ilford HP5 black and white film, I love to lie in wait and capture portraits of strangers in the Business district in Toronto. The secret to great street portraits is to be invisible, have eyes in the back of your head, and be able to shoot quickly from your hip. As soon as you put that camera up to your eyes, people get shy and turn away. Shoot from the hip and they will never know what happened!

Credits: stevebarberoffice

I saw this gentleman walking ahead of me, striding with purpose, and a great hat, and decided I had to have a photo. I kept pace with him and finally passed him in front of a mirrored window, and snap! I took a shot from waist level. Priests have great style!

Credits: stevebarberoffice

This guy was waiting for a light to change at Bay and King, the heart of the business district, and he seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Snapped a quick shot before the light changed. You can almost feel his pain amidst the bustle of the street.

Credits: stevebarberoffice

This guy was standing in the perfect light smoking a cigarette. I walked passed with my camera at my hip and just as I snapped the shot, he dropped his cigarette and stubbed it out with his foot. I love the way this shot turned out, a perfect accident.

Credits: stevebarberoffice

Standing in front of this church, I saw and heard these guys coming from a mile away. They were engaged in a very lively discussion. Just as they passed me, snap! There’s another great shot taken from waist level, with no-one the wiser.

Credits: stevebarberoffice

Finally, I found this spot, with great glass walls and a late afternoon sun shining gloriously. Stood and waited for a good half-an-hour, reading a book and waiting until anyone walked by and then these two folks strode by simultaneously. I reached down to my camera hanging at my waist, and snap!

Credits: stevebarberoffice

One final portrait!

That’s all it takes for a great portrait of a stranger, a camera, some patience, practice shooting from the hip, and a quick trigger finger!

The Diana F+ is a new twist on the ‘60s classic cult camera. Famous for its dreamy and soft-focused images, the Diana F+ is now packed with extra features such as panorama and pinhole capabilities. Available in our Online Shop.

written by stevebarberoffice on 2012-03-26 #lifestyle #portrait-photo-strangers-black-white-diana-f-stories-toronto-business-district-ilford-hp5


  1. hxloon
    hxloon ·

    Very beautiful Black and White photos.
    Sweet shot of the duck!

  2. coolsigg
    coolsigg ·

    nice shots! I should try it someday. which lens did u use on the diana?

  3. stevebarberoffice
    stevebarberoffice ·

    @hxloon I used the 55mm wide lens!

  4. hxloon
    hxloon ·

    Haha! Cool I should give it a shot as well, currently only have Fisheye lens : )

  5. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    nice shots!! i especially love the one of the guy putting out his cigarette!

  6. stevebarberoffice
    stevebarberoffice ·

    @Jeffr thanks. I love that shot too!

  7. breyer
    breyer ·

    Great shots! I especially love the conclusion with the duck!

  8. gitarre
    gitarre ·

    Great shots! i like your black and white pics!

  9. gitarre
    gitarre ·

    Great shots! i like your black and white pics!

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