This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we focus on an American street photographer we particularly like based in New York City: Eldar Khamitov, also known as Eldalieee
Eldalieee focuses his work on candid images of people in the streets of cities he visits all over the world. His primary goal is to capture mood of each scene or character, and create a story that has a timeless quality.
Let's immerse ourselves in the streets of NYC with him and his stunning photos in full resolution powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
My name is Eldar Hamitov (aka Eldalieee), I'm an American Street Photographer based in New York City. I started photography 4 years ago, and it started after I bought my first DSLR camera with a 24-75mm lens.
I was born and raised in Kazakhstan so moving to the US was a huge shift - it's like moving from one planet to another where everything is different: language, lifestyle, values, even all the measurements are so different from European (miles vs. kilometers, am vs. pm, pounds vs. kilograms, etc.). I was amazed and delighted by everything I saw. All of these have let me look at people and things around with a fresh eye and notice and see beauty where it may be taken for granted by those who were born and raised in a certain place. I believe this contributed to how I depict life in my photographs.
Did you try other photography styles? Or street photography has always been your favorite one?
Street Photography is my primary genre. I believe that like any other art form, Street Photography is a reflection of the artist's inner world. I think if you don't have substance, if you don't have anything to say, your art won't be reaching other people's souls. I am convinced that photography is my way of dealing with this world and processing this world and also my attempt to fall in love with humanity.
Street Photography for me is also about finding answers to questions about aging, about body transformation - because I photograph a lot of older people. I find them fascinating, and as a storyteller, I see a lot of stories that they can tell just by their looks or face expressions which I don't see in young people that much.
Street Photography helps me deal with my anxieties and panic attacks as it always calms me down, excites me, and makes me happy. Besides Street Photography, I do portrait photography as well. But even there I try to tell a story or catch the mood. I don't like plain studio shots. I prefer candid moments when people are their authentic self over perfectly staged and controlled environment.
Any advice for beginners who want to start street photography? What are the do's and don'ts?
I'm not good at advice, but I have figured out a few rules for myself that may be helpful for those who are starting their journey in Street Photography:
1. Overcome your fears - I think Street Photography is all about conquering your fear of interacting with people in the street whether you are trying to stay discrete or ask people for a portrait. It is all about how bold you can get when you see a shot and how close you can get to a subject or a scene that you want to capture. And when you get it, it is the most rewarding feeling. You feel like you are the happiest person as adrenaline rushes to your brain and all these happy cells are activated.
2. Study classics and read a lot - I try to spend a lot of time to study photography books and go through the works of Street Photography icons. I also read a lot of blogs of successful contemporary street photographers and found a lot of helpful tricks and tips on how to get better and more skilled. But try not to get discouraged by seeing their greatness - you have your own way and go through your own journey, and after all, all that we are doing is some sort of recycling of previous experiences.
3. Always keep your camera with you - Take it with you wherever you go because you never know when a perfect scene is waiting for you. When I just started, I did these long walks that would start in early mornings looking for scenes. But nowadays I mostly carry it with me, and most interesting shots happen when I don't expect it at all.
4. Shoot More - Shoot a lot I believe that this famous phrase is very accurate: You are only as good as your most recent work. Keep developing yourself and learn.
5. Don't be scared to make mistakes - We all do them. We learn from mistakes, and mistakes are what make us all better. So don't let them stop you.
6. Listen to good music, read good books and watch good movies that develop your soul
What was your favorite trip? Why?
I honestly love each of my trips. Travelling is my passion number two after photography, and I am picking destinations after long research. And all the places I pick are places that have that edge, some grungy element to them, some dirt and personality. I don't like polished faces, polished objects. I need to see decay, imperfection. That's why trips to New Orleans, Louisiana, or Madrid, New Mexico, or Paris, or Florence were extremely memorable as all of these places have a character, a story to tell and lots of weirdos.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or directors, artists?
My top classic street photographers and inspirations are Vivian Maier, Harry Gruyeart, Dany Lyon and Diane Arbus.
My other inspirations outside of photography world are David Bowie, David Lynch, Pedro Almodovar, Joni Mitchell and many others who created their own universes.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
I shoot mostly digital, and I am still shooting with my lovely Canon t4i Rebel with a bunch of lenses: 35mm, 40mm, 24-75mm. I do also shoot film with my Revueflex-M old Russian camera.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I am working on my ongoing Saudade project. Saudade is a Portuguese word that has no English equivalent, and that means longing or melancholy for someone or something that may not even exist or missing someone who you will see soon but still have this beautiful longing about. This series unites people in crowds that are deep in their thoughts, separated from the rest of the world while living in this big city of New York.
I do also have a few personal projects that I am working on and may share later.
To see more from Eldalieee:
All photographs copyright Eldar Khamitov and used with his permission.
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