Interview with French artist Lionel Buffe about making his touching shot which won the reflections category in the "Golden Glove Awards 2019"
streetphototip making of interview lionel buffe
Photo by Lionel Buffe

About Lionel Buffe

Lionel lives in France and photographs using a smartphone. Although he says, quote “I not a photographer, I just invited myself to their home” his works point out that he is an talented visual artist. Lionels street shot of a woman touching a window with a silhouette figure won the “Reflections” category in the 2019 Golden Glove Awards of the Street Photography Flickr Group “Street Fight”. We interviewed Lionel to learn the making of story behind this touching shot.

Making Of Interview

How would you describe your photography work in reference to what is commonly defined as street photography?

Street photography can be defined in several ways. there are several schools of thought. The most common definition is that it involves capturing life scenes spontaneously. After a lot of street photographers codify the discipline to the extreme. No eye contact, no cropping, no familiar characters, the street photo must be humanist, it must document an era, it must take place in an urban universe etc … it all tires me. Everyone has their definition and all the approaches are interesting but the truth is that there is no clear official definition. For me, Street Photography is just a way of transforming spontaneous and unexpected everyday scenes, very banal, into amazing scenes. And my sensibility leads me to create unreal, mysterious almost pictorial scenes by not imposing any rules on myself.

Where and when did you make the photo, was it a new or familiar location to you?

This photo was taken in a small street in a neighborhood where my sister lives. It is a familiar place where many young people come together to smoke, to drink …

What was happening and why did you photograph the scene?

I was about to get into my car when I noticed my niece who was in the car, looking at a young man in front of the car who was having a rather heated discussion with another young man from the Across the street. I saw the face of my niece who was both curious and worried by the scene mixing with the reflection of the young man smoking an electronic cigarette on the glass. I took out my iPhone, and discreetly captured the scene.

Was it one spontaneous capture or did you work the shot?

So this is a spontaneous scene, I just had to play with the angle to have a perfect and clear reflection

In case you made more that one exposure, could you please share some images and walk us through your thinking/working process? 

There was just one exposure

Did the photo came out as imagined or did something unexpected added to it?

The photo came out as imagined but there was just the smoke that had better hide my face than I had hoped for. It really reinforced the mysterious side of the photo.

What camera, lens, flash and exposure settings did you choose?

I ‘m always working with my mobile phone. Because all the scenes that I create are unexpected scenes of everyday life, I don’t take photos all day, and therefore the mobile, which is always with me, allows me to be reactive and discreet in front of unexpected scenes of everyday life.

Any post-processing?

I use post processing via an application. After dozens of tries I found a recipe that I apply to most of my photos, which allows me to reinforce the unreal universe in which I try to immerse the viewer

What makes it a popular/well received street photograph in your opinion?

For me a successful Street Photography is a photo that doesn’t just show a beautiful scene. It immerses the spectator in an emotion or in a reflection

Is there anything you took away/learned from making this picture?

Yes, I learned that even if we have a doubt, we must always photograph a scene when instinct demands it.

Thank you very much for your time and the interview Lionel!

Links to Lionel Buffe

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Interview with Lionel –