The Street is Chaotic, Spontaneous and Messy: Chicago-based Street Photographer Edgar Corona On Capturing The Mood of a City
Chicago-based street photographer, Edgar Corona's, moody shots of downtown Chicago creatively capture the personality of the famous windy city in a way that only a local Chicagoan can. Corona, who goes by @corona.creative on Instagram, has filled his feed with intimate portraits of locals, infamous steel-framed skyscrapers, and inspiring light and shadow play throughout the city.
Corona has lived in Chicago his entire life. He's wandered the streets of downtown since he was a kid on a skateboard. In fact, his appreciation and eye for photography grew out of his love of skateboarding:
"As a skateboarder, you see the world through the lens of a skater. You don’t see stairs; you see a set. Other people recognize a bench, but you see a ledge to grind on. You begin seeing your soundings in a new light, and you are always looking. I found this quickly translating into photography as that what it comes down to, still being aware and always composing images with or without a camera."
We sat down with Edgar to see where he draws his inspiration, how he captures the essence of Chicago, and how he sorts through thousands of shots to find the perfect one.
What inspires you?
Cities. The city is awake every moment of the day, and capturing just some of those moments is what drives me. In Chicago, there's always something going on. Whether you're out at 5 am or 1am there is always the hustle and bustle, what I want to portray in my photos is the in-between: people at their natural states, the small or mundane moments of everyday life, and putting it in context of the city.
I've done food photography for a large part of my career. I’ve found that street photography really balances it out for me. Food photography is neat, orderly, detailed oriented. The street is chaotic, spontaneous and messy. This is what initially drew me to street photography, that and the fact that I used to skate. I feel that this is what initially began training my eyes for street photography without even knowing it.
How do you capture street portraits?
As far as my portrait work goes I rarely ask my subject before taking the picture. I like the spontaneity of the moment and by asking that is usually taken away. People often ask me how I am not afraid of doing this, the secret is I am always afraid! The way I overcome this fear is by simply composing and shooting the photo before my brain even registers what is going on. I let instincts take over because as soon as you start thinking about it, you begin to hesitate, then you look like you are lingering around, and that is when you start making people feel uncomfortable.
Can you take us through your workflow?
I usually like to start shooting late in the afternoon. I love to catch long shadows, play with light, and capture people at their busiest. This also works because it bleeds into the night which always me to take long exposures and the bright lights of the city. It usually takes me some time to get into the grove, so I always begin with taking throw away shots. They act as a warm-up for my eyes. I wander around the city and usually stick to a scene if I find the perfect composition.
There have been times when I have waited well over 2 hours waiting at one specific spot waiting for the right light, person or event to happen.
I usually don’t start editing right away. I cull through my photos and reject but not delete the ones I don't like. After a day or two, I start editing the ones I do like. I don’t delete all of the rejected images because there have been times I review old photos and decide I like an aspect about it I didn’t necessarily like the first time I looked it over, but most of the photos never see the light of day.
How has Palette Gear changed your editing workflow?
Palette Gear hasn’t changed the way I edit, but it has improved every aspect of my editing process. From precise use of sliders for culling, to changing brush sizes, and tools in Lightroom. It has made the way I edit faster as most of it can be done from the board. No more keyboard shortcuts or typing in numbers or sliding for exposure, contrast and so forth. Even changing presets and exporting is all done through my Palette set up. There is also something so satisfying about binding a Lightroom slider to an actual slider or pressing an arcade style button to reject photos.
Try Palette risk-free in your workflow for 30 days for a faster, more intuitive, and precise editing experience, so you can get out and shoot more.
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