street photography

Repost – Metro Stop: Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica CA


Inglorious Color: Repost from March 2013


Here is a link to the great website American Suburb X and a group of street photos by newly discovered street photography master Helen Levitt. The difference between these pictures and the vast majority of her other previously shown work is that these images are in amazing color.

Seeing those images this morning inspired me to share some of my recent shots. You know, I’ve always thought of myself as a black and white street photographer. But I rarely shoot black and white street photography. I really have done very little in B&W over the last ten years. I think I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m  a street photographer who works primarily in color.

Color is the only way to capture the parts of Los Angeles I continue to want to shoot most. Hope these images from my Leica M-E capture both the timeless grit and the gripping palate of colors of life in LA in 2013.


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Reposted: Weekend in LA (February 18, 2014)

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Reposted: My Sunday Morning in Vivian Maier’s Chicago


My first outing with the Leica M9 back in 2011 was a weekend trip to Chicago. I only could afford the wonderful Leica 35mm Summarit after shelling out the money for what was my dream camera at that moment. I’d never heard of Vivian Maier at that point, as most people hadn’t. But, save for the color, this first shot I think captures a bit of the spirit of shooting on a Chicago sidewalk as she so often did. Anyway. Here’s some more. I think in some of them there is wonderful color. In others, uh… a hint of the incredible struggles to come I would experience trying to produce passable color with my M9.

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Must be Accompanied by a Parent or Guardian


The Anti-Norman Rockwell in me strikes again.

I’m no Norman Rockwell…


Not even a Ken. But I can’t deny the influence. (of Norman!) And I’d be happy if at least one person out there thought of me as the anti-Norman Rockwell. Just do it.

Low Light Street Shooting with the Zeiss 50mm 1.5 Sonnar

All from a moving car, by the way. Not really worrying about ISO numbers or noise. I have to say, I shot with the 50mm 1.5 Sonnar for over a year on my M7. I’m probably more comfortable using it than any other M-mount lens. It’s very instinctive shooting for me. Love the color, sharpness, everything. Hope everyone enjoys the shots.

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Pictures of a Bus Stop (REBLOG)


I think images should require something from the person who is looking upon them. A photograph doesn’t or shouldn’t have to be obvious in order to be something that holds some value. I think this image could be taken as an example of that. I don’t want to say much more about the picture itself. It either makes a statement to you or it doesn’t. It made a statement to me.

Now it has a sequel. The top image was shot almost a year ago and was taken with the Zeiss 50mm Sonnar 1.5. I think the color representation of that lens is evident in the image. That lens is just stellar and classic. The second image, the one at the bottom of this post, was taken with the Leica 50mm Summilux 1.4 ASPH, and I think the color signature of that lens is also amazingly evident in this shot.

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Cali-fk’n-fornia, Man – Reposted Yet Again!

This is a very different picture of people in a car than probably anything else I’ve ever captured. In many ways.

When I saw it and shot it, I didn’t really expect that it would have the glow that popped up on my D3’s LCD. But sometimes light and a piece of glass like the legendary 85mm 1.4 Nikkor D combine to create something that goes beyond what we could reasonably hope for when we snap that shutter.

It is of a place and of a people. California, and Cali-fuckin’-fornians. There they are. I got them and I’ve brought them here to show you all, like pretty tropical birds in a zoo. Only, in this case, it’s just an old T-Bird, but whatever.

That’s the stereotype right there. Straight blond hair that’s sun and saltwater bleached to go with that classic black California license plate. But of course!

You know they’re a handsome family. Well to do. You don’t eccentrically teeter around Los Angeles in a glorious old 60s tanker sporting the original paint job that YOU know looks way cooler than any redo ever could unless you have the wherewithal to maintain that level of quirk. And quirk it is.

The irony is how rarely these kinds of California residents pop up into a person’s field of view in Los Angeles. The truth about LA is there are more brown-haired, brown-eyed, brown-skinned people here than there are stereotypical California blondes. But that’s for another conversation.

In amongst the Lexuses and Hundais and preppy BMW drivers, here are the quintessential eccentric Southern Californians.

Grandpa looks like Lex Barker from the Tarzan movies. The girls look like Kate Moss. They were eating Goji berries in the Amazon rainforest 20 years before the rest of the world even heard of them. They have a cliff house in Malibu Canyon and mom had an affair with the Dalai Llama.

I’m kidding of course! I don’t know these people!!! Have a nice Tuesday!

Ever So Slightly Crushing It

One day last year. At least I think so. I’m loving the ‘mosaic tile’ gallery option on WordPress. It only took me years to notice it. So I might go back to some of my older posts with lots of images and put them together in this new (ahem) and exciting way. 😉

Sunday Will Never Be the Same


La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, 01/25/15


THE EVENT: LACP’S First Annual Street Shooting Exhibition

TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!!! LACP’S First Annual Street Shooting Exhibition

Donald_Barnat_07As I write this the rain is falling on the roof of my building in cold jealous sheets. 😉 Damn you, rain! Be gone! We photographic artists must be allowed to co-mingle and congratulate ourselves over wine and cheese that we did not pay for!

Okay. (Let’s hope that works.) No rain can dampen the excitement and warm feelings today holds, not just for me, but for the 28 other street photographers who will be honored at the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s first Annual Street Shooting Exhibition in Hollywood.

I don’t really discuss street photography much here on As I’ve said in an earlier post from last year, I prefer to let my images do the talking for me. It is a sentiment that has been shared by so many photographers throughout the history of the medium. Let the work speak for itself, the images for themselves.

Not always a workable position to take there, it is increasingly less so in the world of contemporary art photography and galleries and clients etc., which all demand that any visual artist know exactly what the purpose is in their work and that they possess and own the very reasons their art exists. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

In my case, I don’t even have the excuse that I’m not good (enough) with words or that I don’t have anything to say about what I’m doing. I’m good (enough) with words to say what I’m thinking and I have actual thoughts on photography and, maybe especially, the street photography that accounts for the majority of my own creative efforts over the last 15 years.

So I’m going to take this opportunity, on the occasion when what I’ve been doing for so long is being recognized, when the undertaking itself is being recognized, to say a few things about the work of street photography.

First I have to say that upon perusing the fine selections for the LACP showing online I’m reminded that, thankfully, whatever positions or thoughts I hold in regard to street photography aren’t instantly transferable to the work of others. Photography itself and street photography in particular means something different to everyone who picks up the camera.

I think when I started to make street photography a form of creative expression I did it because I wanted to capture and preserve and make permanent my own life in the form of what I was seeing in my world. I saw it my way. I don’t believe there is a higher power simultaneously seeing and recording and preserving my perspective… or any perspective at all.

Moments, like life itself, were fleeting, but even moreso. There is no guarantee of permanence of human life or even the planet we live on. I had a desperation to grab the ordinary because I saw it, and still do, as being so extraordinary. Everything I see and photograph is, to my mind, the most singularly pointed definition of unique.

Selecting scenes and frames from what I see happening in front of me is a far more subconscious process. I am looking for specific things and then something inside of me is also more instinctively looking as well. Sometimes the things that are most integral to my images are not physical image elements. At best, meaning when I think an image of mine is most successful, the things that I have photographed are not physically apparent.

More than anything, I’m trying to photograph humanity and the human interplay between the living beings and this imposing city. The grace, lack of grace, responses to life, its pressures and pleasures, the human reactions to the environment that we have created for ourselves.

In street-photographing Los Angeles, I am attempting to make subtle, psychological images of humanity as I find them and see them against the backdrop of one of the more chaotic and overdeveloped places on Earth.

I hope that touches on the more general aspects of my street photography in a way that people can relate to when looking at my images. I thank everyone who comes to and who has supported me and my photography over the years.

I want to once again thank Julia Dean and the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Thank you for everything that you do, LACP!

Donald Barnat
Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Center of Photography proudly presents our First Annual Street Shooting Exhibition that celebrates street photography in Los Angeles and around the world. The exhibition showcases 29 photographers and 39 photographs.  The works were carefully selected among 120 photographers and 767 images.  The selection process was juried by Sam Abell, Julia Dean and Stephen McLaren.

via First Annual Street Shooting Exhibition – Jan 30 | Los Angeles Center of Photography.

Prints for Sale Here!

This page is just a teaser! Please check back here in the very near future to go to the actual Purchase Prints page where images I have selected will be available to be purchased as prints. I will be adding many more images to these in time and if there are any that you have seen that you would like to purchase a print of please feel free to contact me regarding those.

Thank you so much for your interest and support if you have any questions at all contact me here.

Donald Barnat