Interview with Tuna!


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Sep 2, 2003
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Welcome to the July 2021 TPF Member Spotlight!

Our Member Spotlight interviews are designed, quite simply, to showcase our members. It’s not meant to be a pretentious show, or make anyone feel self-conscious about their work style or artistic preferences. These interviews are casual chats just to get to know each other better - a celebration of our wide, diverse group of photographers who, despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, all come to TPF because of a shared love for photography.

TPF is a wonderful community and it’s worthwhile to shine the spotlight on our members. This means YOU, reading this – don’t be surprised if you hear from us asking for an interview!

Remember, each interview segment will be left open like a regular thread, so you can ask your own questions or comment on things you may have learned. This is our new way to highlight the skill sets and display the unique styles of our wonderful community.


Now, onto our interview – member Tuna!

Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Tuna! Your personal background in photography - - tell us how you first got introduced to photography, and how it's evolved over time.

I was attracted to photography intuitively in my late teens. I saved up my money until I could buy a “serious” looking camera which ended up being a Canon FTBn with a 50/1.8 lens. I taught myself from instructional, basic photography books and also took some classes in college, both creative and darkroom skills. I went on to work for many years in the photographic industry, including 16 years running a mini-lab company that ran One Hour Photo labs, and also 10 years as a Technical Trainer for Kodak - which had the extra benefit of allowing me to travel extensively around the country. I also did some professional event and product work along the way, but taking pictures has mostly been a serious hobby throughout.

Tuna 4-Su Corazón.JPEG

Su Corazón “Here is a puzzle that becomes apparent after a bit of viewing. I saw this scene just after I had finished lunch at a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. I was confused as to what I was looking at, but I am glad to have thought to immediately take a picture before the scene changed.”

That’s a terrific and wide-ranging photography background! These days, do you have a favorite set up?

For me, a favorite setup would be more of a favorite style of kit. I prefer quiet and relatively simple cameras.

The current four I am cycling through are the Leica MP with either a Voigtlander 21mm or a Summicron 35 attached, a Contax T2, a Fuji X100V and a Sony RX100 III.

Tuna 1 TheStairs.jpg

The Stairs “This one was taken at MOMA in New York City. I always take my camera with me to museums as they tend to be a source of inspiration for me.”

What do you usually reach for when you’re heading out to shoot?

What I reach for when heading out depends on the situation - usually the MP or Fuji X100V for regular street shooting. I prefer the smaller cameras mostly when traveling abroad and being out all day or going out to dinner, etc. BTW, I see a Leica Q Monochrome in my near future to add to the mix…

Tuna 2-Art.JPEG

Art “One of my favorites, as the initial impression is somewhat of a mystery. Is it a painting? If so, what is reflection and what isn’t?”

Your street shots are widely admired here at TPF. How do you think you became interested in this genre?

You are very kind. I am always happy when someone likes a picture I post as I only post pictures that I personally like. I believe I slowly turned to street style photography due to having always been influenced by the likes of Friedlander, Eggleston, Arbus and Erwitt to name a few. As I took pictures, I found that those I liked best were those that captured stories in the frame, moments in time that were fleeting and mattered as well as images that captured emotions.

As I overcame my hesitancy to take pictures of strangers, and became more technically adept with my cameras, I found it easier to concentrate solely on what was happening around me. I developed a sense of stealth, timing, patience and anticipation that, for me, resulted in images that I liked.

Tuna 7 Playground.JPG

Playground “One of my favorites, because it is one of my first street shots. I approached these children playing on a playground with an old Leica IIIc camera and they appear to be fascinated with the old-timey camera as I snapped the shutter. I think I ended up with some genuine gazes and energy.”

You mentioned a few famous names up there. Do you have a favorite photographer? Do you think this person influences your style and, if so, in what way?

I mentioned some of my favorite photographers in your previous question. I am also regularly looking at current street photographers work posted on the internet, such as classic photographers like Bruce Gilden or new shooters like Tatsuo Suzuki. I believe my style is a blend from most of those influences.

I find that in establishing a personal style, editing the images and eliminating redundancies and rejecting clichés is important. I also find much more success when I am thoughtful in my approach, and don’t pull the trigger too often - this is something I learned from shooting film, where I would often shoot just one shot of a scene - at most 2 or 3 if the scene was static. Now that I am shooting digital as well, I try to stick to the same discipline though it would be easy to just shoot dozens of shots of a scene and hope one is a winner. I did that initially when I started shooting digital and found I ended up with fewer shots that I liked!

Another influence to my style from the photographers I have mentioned is that I became drawn to strictly composed images. Extreme control of what is in the frame and where everything sits within the frame. This isn’t always possible when shooting fleeting moments in the street, but I have gotten pretty comfortable with moving in and out and around in order to achieve some control of the frame as I shoot.

Tuna 3-Don'tWalk.JPEG

Don’t Walk “This is my attempt at one of the more recent trends in color street shots where extreme contrasts are established with the subjects popping out of the blackness.”

We all have our personal pet peeves. What are your top ones?

Haha. I will stick to some I have for photographer behavior on the internet. I am often surprised by those who post every shot they took rather than learning to edit down to just the one shot that was best.

Another one would be those who post both a color and a B&W version of the same photo expecting viewers to choose - I believe the photographer needs to learn how to choose which it would be or just pick one and stick with it. Another would be leaving one item in the image in color with the rest of the image in B&W - in my opinion, rarely (if ever!) does this work.

Tuna 6 Gray.JPEG

Gray “I noticed this woman, who appeared to be on a break, outside of the National Gallery of Art in DC. She seemed to have a certain mood to her posture and I felt I captured some of that emotion in the image.”

Outside of photography, what do you do for fun and adventure?

I mostly enjoy traveling. The pandemic has made it difficult. To compensate, I have been going through old negatives and image files from my previous trips. I also enjoy mixology and keep a well- stocked bar. That has been a benefit during the pandemic!

Tuna 5 AtTheCafe.JPEG

At The Café “I’ve always liked this one showing a man peering out at me from a café window. The picture was taken along the Champs-Élysées and always reminds me of what fun it was to wander around Paris.”

What is on your bucket list of places you’d love to go see, or things you want to do?

I have been very fortunate to have had a job that allowed me to travel extensively throughout the USA. Also, I have been lucky to have traveled to Europe and Turkey (where I was born). My plan is to go back to Italy, France and Turkey. I also hope to make it to Central Europe, Portugal, Ireland/Scotland and possibly to Argentina at some point.

Tuna 9 ACloserLook.jpg

A Closer Look “I’ve always been partial to this shot. First, because of her pose as she tries to get a closer look at the art. Second, because I had to shoot this in low lighting at 1/15 shutter speed hand-held using controlled breathing methods to achieve a relatively sharp shot and was happy to see later that I had succeeded.”

What’s the best compliment you ever received? How come?

I guess the best compliment I have occasionally received regarding my photos is when someone will comment that one of my candid street shots appears posed. To me, that means I captured the moment perfectly. I think a certain cinematic effect in candid photography is really nice, and am always happy when I have achieved it.

Tuna 8 TheBlonde.JPEG

The Blonde “This shot was taken within an hour of having seen an extensive Hopper exhibition at a gallery. I guess I was still under the influence of his art.”

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview, Tuna! I’ve enjoyed getting so much insight into your approach to photography.

That’s the end of the official interview! As a reminder: we’re encouraging all of our TPF members to also participate! Any comments or questions you have for Tuna, after reading the interview and looking at his work, by all means, take it from here!



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Wonderful interview! I admire your work and could never skip over a new post by you. It made me happy to read you like when someone asked if your photos were staged, as I was afraid I had offended you when I asked that very thing about “ Su Corazon “.
Haha I think I remember that but yes, it is a compliment. I tend to edit heavily for strictly composed frames even when it is a quick grab shot of a fleeting moment like Su Corazon. So, many of my shots look staged - maybe I should mix in a few more slightly askew images (that I normally reject) to balance it out…😄

Thank you for your comment and I am always appreciative of your contribution and presence in many of my posts here.
Wonderful read and good to hear you shoot film. "The Stairs" shot is wonderful. Looks like a shot I would take sans the person.
Wonderful read and good to hear you shoot film. "The Stairs" shot is wonderful. Looks like a shot I would take sans the person.
Yes, still shooting film (all but one of the images above are film). I have also started shooting some digital but find myself editing the images to look more film-like as I don't like the plastic look of many digital images (I will add some grain in Photoshop). Also, the color palate in digital doesn't have the variance of the different types of color film. On the Fuji, I have tried some of the color pre-sets in the menu (ex. Portra) and they are actually pretty good though I still find myself tweaking colors (my years of running photo labs comes in handy!).

The Stairs has actually been added to many architectural photography collections so there are many others that agree with your no-human-needed viewpoint for that image.
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Enjoyed reading your interview. Your photos have many layers. Love your work.
I really enjoyed the interview and images. I always get a little excited when you post. You make some great points on photography. The frame edges is something I am working hard at.

I am slowly trying to edit but I hate doing it so much, I rarely shoot digital. I don't edit my film shots other than dust removal and the crop of image scan edges. I like using my 100V but I'm always left thinking, I need to edit it so I rarely post anything from it.
I really enjoyed the interview and images. I always get a little excited when you post. You make some great points on photography. The frame edges is something I am working hard at.

I am slowly trying to edit but I hate doing it so much, I rarely shoot digital. I don't edit my film shots other than dust removal and the crop of image scan edges. I like using my 100V but I'm always left thinking, I need to edit it so I rarely post anything from it.
Yes, for me framing is pretty important and I used to obsess about it but have gotten much more comfortable with just capturing the moment and cropping if needed later. The other aspect of framing that I pay a huge amount of attention to is what is in the fore and background - so much so that I sometimes lose the moment. So it sounds like we are alike in our approach to film shots.
As for editing, I used to have traditional dark rooms where I would edit through the use of type and grade of paper, tilting the base board, dodging and burning shapes on sticks, etc. So it wasn’t much of a stretch to continue editing in the same manner once Photoshop became the new darkroom. I enjoy the precise control and added subtle enhancements that PS offers as well…though I still stick to the basics of levels, contrast, color, etc. and don’t really know how to use any of the other extensive tools that are there.

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