Lisa Cirincione, QPSA  

Father Russia by Lisa Cirincione, QPSA

January 2022 - Father Russia

January 2022 - Lisa Cirincione, QPSA


About the Image(s)

From a trip to Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. I was taking a photo of the building behind the gentleman, and then saw he was looking at me. I zoomed in to 105mm and took this photo. Then put my camera down, and said hello and thanked him. He smiled. I’m not quite comfortable with people photos, I do feel like I am invading their space, when they catch me.

Hopefully I can enter this photo for travel, portrait, street categories. Any thoughts?

Canon 5DM2, 1/800 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

7 comments posted

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I love street photography, and when I first started photographing people on the street, I felt the same as you noted. When in foreign countries, they recommend knowing the rules of street photography. Outside of that, practice, practice, practice photographing people. Some people ask; first, others just shoot. I know Valerie Jardin has excellent videos on street photography and offers good tips and tricks on her youtube channel.

The man in your photo seems like he didn't mind being in your photograph. You included characteristic features of Russia (signage); even his clothing says Russia, so I think this would fit in a travel photo category.

It doesn't sound like you asked him to pose for a photograph because that wouldn't be allowed. If he fell into a pose for you that would be different. Not all judges are forgiving, so I just put it out there for you.

Lastly, I suggest lowering the brightness; the overall image feels too bright and he seems to be squinting-easy fix for you.

Best regards,

  Posted: 01/04/2022 12:50:50
Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
LuAnn, I wasn't aware that posed street portraits are not allowed in competition. Is this true universally? I ask only because for the better part of COVID lockdown I was a member of a virtual street photography salon. The host of the salon does street photography exclusively and has put on shows and even published some online exhibitions of his work. We were encouraged to ask people to pose for shots.   Posted: 01/11/2022 07:24:46
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Lisa likes to show her work in travel categories for competitions, Michael. In this category, posing people for a shoot is not allowed. This rule is for PSA-only sanctioned competitions. If you go to PSA's main website (, then go to Division - travel, you will find the definition for their competitions.

Everything we learn about composition and photography is just guidelines for PSA only. If you were to enter a competition of PPA (Professional Photographers of America), they would have their own rules, which can differ from what you have learned for PSA.

I hope this answers your question.

LT   Posted: 01/11/2022 07:39:10

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
Your image is intriguing! I tried to figure out the story of it and a lot of questions has arised. The man sitting at the water fountain wears Russian Olympic uniform (with the "Russian Olympic Team" on his right shoulder and "Russia" in the front of his jacket). Is he an Olympic athlete at Sochi? The building with the name "Noyta Poccmm" behind him reminds me of Russian hand blown glass items. Are the man and the store behind related? I'd prefer to see the man working on something to make the story of the image stronger.   Posted: 01/10/2022 07:35:40

Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
Lisa, I find your photo and your story of how you took it to be fascinating. I think it works well for the category of street photography. Your questions about whether to ask permission to take someone's picture in another country is one I've struggled with too. I remember asking a nun in Europe about taking pictures of her students who were on a field trip to a tower (and having a delightful time). She told me that she couldn't give me permission to take their photos, but if I just happened to include them in my shots of the tower, she couldn't stop me. That response still makes me smile.

The look that the man is giving you definitely is an example of a matter of fact "Russian" look. His backwards cap and blue uniform make me wonder who he is.   Posted: 01/10/2022 11:40:57

Mary Ann Carrasco   Mary Ann Carrasco
Lisa, I am intrigued by street photography and want to do more of it. It is quite the skill in not only photography but with people! This photograph definitely tells a story. I sense the man is very proud and happy to have his photograph taken. My only suggestion is the same as LuAnn's in that it seems a bit too bright.   Posted: 01/11/2022 04:44:16

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Lisa, what a great Russian street scene! Nice composition. The inclusion of the background elements add context and enhances the story. You were fortunate to have a cooperative subject! It's always a challenge as to whether to photograph people in foreign countries without first asking permission. (While in Venice, I got a very thorough verbal chastising from a gondolier whose picture I took without asking him permission). Your image has a lot of color in it - so much so that I found it a bit distracting. I'm wondering what you think of my monochrome edit?   Posted: 01/11/2022 07:20:19
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