Photographer Profile: Ava Weintraub
Ava was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles. She has been taking photographs for more than 40 years. In 2006 she began shooting street photography and has been a devotee ever since. She is also a documentary and landscape photographer, photojournalist and writer living in Los Angeles. She recently published a book, “South Broadway Street,” a compilation of her street photography work in downtown L.A.
Q: When or why did you decide to start taking pictures? Did someone influence you?
I took a photography class in summer school when I was 12 and have been hooked ever since. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic that I used until I was 14 when I bought a used Minolta SRT-101. I loved taking pictures of people.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
There was one picture I took when I was 12 years old with my Instamatic - it was of my brother hitting baseballs in an empty parking lot. I took it from a very low angle to give it perspective. That was the picture that convinced me I could become a photographer. [I’ve attached the photo]
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
In addition to the class I took when I was 12, I’ve taken classes in photojournalism.
Q: What is your favorite gear for shooting on the street?
I’ve been using the Panasonic Lumix LX-3 and LX-5. They have a fantastic dynamic black and white mode. Additionally, they are very discreet cameras, I’ve turned off all sound so between the small size and silent operation I can operate in stealth mode. The majority of the time people don’t know I’ve taken their picture.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle for you growing as a street photographer?
Living in Los Angeles, a city where people live their life in cars and not on the street. I’d love to live in New York city.
Q: Describe a typical day for you as a street photographer?
I grab my camera and head to downtown L.A. and look for people in interesting situations.
Q: How do you describe your style as a street photographer?
I’m not sure how to answer that question. I try to capture moments like a street scene but I also try to capture people in various situations and show their faces that show emotion of some kind. I do documentary photography as well so sometimes there’s an overlap. I’m intrigued by the human condition.
Q: What inspires you to be a street photographer
The awesome work of other street photographers. I love looking at other photographers’ work online, in books, galleries and museums.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
My life is an open book.
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