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Meet our YBS 2012 Winner!

Author: Libby - Printique by Adorama

Congratulations to Your Best Shot 2012 winner Alejandro Santiago from Canada.  His image made it through four rounds of  judging by professionals and Printique members  to take home the top spot of Your Best Shot 2012. His photograph on that foggy February morning  is the epitome’ of amazing street photography. ybs2012

Alejandro grew up in Miami, Florida and studied design at Parsons in New York. All throughout his life, photography and design have been a way for him to communicate the things and people he loves. You can see more of his street photography & portraiture on his website or his Facebook page.
I asked Alejandro to tell us a little more about his winning  photograph. He said, ” This photograph was taken on a foggy winter morning in 2012. I remember watching the fog outside my window and not being able to sleep.  I packed my camera and took to the streets before sunrise.  The photograph was  taken just a block from Lake Ontario. This man was crossing the street to get on a streetcar. This was an important morning for me because I made a choice to wake up, explore the streets with my camera and make photographs. That’s how creativity is — you need to claim it. I’m working on tracking down the man in the photo. I would love to give him a print. If you know him please contact me!”

Not a lot of people understand or recognize street photography and what it entails. I asked Alejandro to explain it for us. He said,”

Street photography forces you to use all your senses to be completely present and  in the moment. It can feel like fishing because you’re attempting to capture a moment. Some days you come home with nothing other days you come home with a great image. I always make an effort to wander the streets with my camera at least once a week, it’s almost like a workout for my eye  and camera.  The best thing about street photography is that it doesn’t require planning or scheduling–the streets are always ready for you.  I recently began a Tumblr about my street photography in Cuba. Its called, Oye Cuba.
I had to ask Alejandro what was in his camera bag. He said, “It’s easy to get caught up in gear and fantasizing about all the things you don’t have, but for me creativity is about exploiting those limitations and using what you have. I shot that photo with a 35mm lens on my Nikon D7000. When I’m on the streets I try to keep my travels light.  Though I like to use a speedlight which I usually hold in one hand and my camera in the other. Sometimes I put a small softbox diffuser on my flash it makes a huge difference. Good light is the most important thing for me.”
I wanted to know if Alejandro had any advice on those just starting out on street photography. He replied, “Treat street photography like a workout, its a skill you need to develop that requires discipline. Don’t think so much, experiment, and make accidents on purpose.  Also, share your work. If you take a picture be sure to give it back to the world for people to experience. That will help encourage your growth.”
Thank you Alejandro for your advice. You are an inspiration and your work is thought provoking. It speaks volumes without saying a word. In case you are wondering, Alejandro picked the Nikon D600 as his camera. His image along with 11 other winners will also appear in our YBS 2012 Printique Photo Book.