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How A Street Photographer Captures The Vibe Of New York City

For New York City-based photographer Steven Irby (@stevesweatpants), photography is about love and family. He has a passion for humanizing experiences, taking the mundane moments in life and making them something beautiful. When he heads out to shoot street photography, he prefers to keep it simple with one lens to show his perspective. Sometimes he chooses the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II for a wider perspective, and other times he reaches for the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master to capture an intimate portrait. “Understanding your lens setup is like understanding your vision in a way,” he says. “That’s the way you're perceiving the world. That focal length changes everything." The speed and sharpness of G Master lenses allow Steve to stay in the moment and communicate the story exactly the way he sees it, through his own unique perspective. 

“Growing up in New York, it’s always been like, a defining thing to find your individualism,” Irby explains. “And through photography I can show who I am on the outside, but that you can see a different perspective. Especially when it comes to New York City, it’s just as much about love as it is about family for me. So there’s a way that I want to document it. There’s a way that I feel the world should see certain parts of it.”

Why the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II? “Nowadays I like shooting things a little bit wider – create more of these grander kind of scenes,” Irby says. “I’ve always been a fanboy for G Master lenses. They’re sharp, they’re fast. Especially how I really want to be in the moment, it just enhances how you want to communicate that story.”

Another lens Irby reaches for to capture environmental portraits while out in the city is the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. “It just has a really good range for me to get close in to do these intimate portraits.”

Irby explains that before photography, he didn’t really have a clear path. Once he took his late father’s advice to fall into his passion, he says it was the first time he felt like he was in control of his life. “It was this obsession, it was like this hunger to just keep on finding ways to communicate deeper not only with myself but with the audience that I’m trying to share the work with.” Through photography, Irby says he’s found a family, and he found himself.

“I’ve always wanted to translate…humanize experiences, and make the most mundane moments beautiful,” he says. “It’s always about that connection.”

See more of Steven Irby’s work on Instagram @stevesweatpants.

See more videos like this one on the Sony Alpha Universe YouTube Channel.


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