Interview With Hawaii Street Photographer Anthony Consillio

Hi Anthony thanks for doing this. where do you live and how does this influence your photography?

A. Hello! Thank you for having me! My name is Anthony Consillio and I live in Mililani on the island of Oahu just about 20 miles from Honolulu. Living in Hawaii has been great for me as a photographer. We have good weather year round so I can get out there more often and such a diverse landscape that you don’t really find in many places. Surf, sunsets and city settings…a little something for everyone. For me living out in Mililani (considered out in the country over here) I gravitate towards the city streets and where masses gather. Brick buildings, long shadows and busy people are what I look for.



When and how did you get into photography (and then street photography)?
A.  I picked up a camera back in 2005 when my son was born and other than taking photos of him and a year and a half  later his sister I was taking a lot of landscape and seascape photos…very Hawaiiana. Around that time I had a few friends who were all getting married so I was asked to shoot their weddings and after a few of those I found out that I had a knack for it and started my photography business. I  had been doing wedding and events for about 6 years when I was asked to take a staff position at a local paper here in Honolulu called MidWeek and I’ve been here ever since. After getting more active on social media posting my work images on Facebook and Instagram I started stumbling across street photography sites and images which I found very interesting. I decided to start wandering the streets around my office to give it a shot and found that I really enjoyed it. I liked capturing the moments rather than staging the shots as I did at work. I used street photography as a way to hone my skills and get a little exercise.



If you had to explain your work to a senior citizen how would you describe it ?

A.  I love colors and dark shadows, a lot of contrast. I don’t stage any shots but will wait a while if I see a strip of light I like and just wait for someone to walk through it. I like gritty, grungy streets and just try and capture things as they happen. If I had to describe it to someone the simple answer would be I shoot people and chase lights and shadows.



What frustrates you about photography?

A. One of my biggest frustrations happens everyday. I have a really hard time figuring out which lens to take. I try to do the “one lens and one body” thing so I will spend about 10 minutes going back and forth between my 23, 35 and 50mm lenses before I actually head out the door. Other frustrations I have are that I see so many great crosswalk shots but I just can’t seem to get one.


What’s your thoughts on today’s street photography landscape?

A. More people are shooting street, some more relevant than other but hey they are still getting out there. There are so many interpretations of what street photography is and so many great images coming from it. I think it’s great!


What is one street photo you never get tired of?

A. I like so many photos from so many different photographers but to pick just one I would probably go with Saul Leiter’s ‘Harlem or even “Man with the straw hat” I used to look at those two images a lot when I was younger. I can’t even remember where I first saw them but they stuck with me.


What are you most proud of in terms of your work?

A. My growth as a street photographer. Over time I got better and more confident in bringing my camera up and getting the shot. There were times when I was gun shy and missed shots because they caught me taking their photo. Another area I feel I grew is that I got better in identifying potential shots and I always have an eye out for light and shadows. I’m able to capture better photos now than I was just a year ago and I think I’ve found a particular style that I’m currently happy with.
Do you foresee Hawaii being a major location for street photography?

A. I would love to see Hawaii have a bigger role as a street photography destination and I feel we have all the pieces to be a major player. We have a very diverse population and cultures, great weather, a good mix of old & new and magnificent views and landscapes all in a relatively small package. Photographers already flock to Hawaii for the landscapes and seascapes I don’t know why more don’t come here for street photography.

Which street photographer inspires you and why?
A. I really like the work of Saul Leiter and his use of colors and shadows. I also like the fact that he used longer focal lengths than most other street photographers who were shooting with 24, 28 and 35mm lenses.
Name three contemporary photographers you really admire?
A. I really like the works of Craig Whitehead, David Sark and Brandon Wong. I love their use of color and shadows. I always look forward to seeing their new posts on Instagram.
If you can have dinner with one street photographer past or present who would it be? 

A. I think I’d like to have dinner with Bruce Gilden. Not my particular style of street photography but still he has made a major impact in the genre. I have at times tried to just walk up and snap a shot of someone but never had the same results but was fun trying. Besides I think it would either be a very funny conversation or he would just piss me off.


When you aren’t making pictures you are doing what?

A. I’m usually spending time with my family and friends. I like hiking so You can find me at times on trails, ridges and pillboxes around the island but I normally have a camera with me then too so I’m always shooting.

 

When or what was the most fun you had photographing?


A. It’s not street related but I had the opportunity to cover a story on a helicopter tour company and they offered to take us on a round the island flight so I was able to spend an hour and a half to 2 hours flying around snapping away. Crossed something off my bucket list as well as got a few good shots.
I ask everyone this question. If you could have one street photographer shoot your wedding who would it be?  

A. Great question! I would probably have wanted Weegee (Arthur Fellig) to shoot my wedding if it was possible. I would like to see how someone who shot violence, crime and freaky subcultures would do shooting a wedding. My wife may not like what she got back but I’m sure it would have been very interesting.

 

Any personal street photography tips or advice you have to those out there?

A. Always have your camera with you and just get out there and shoot. I believe the more you shoot the more you will learn.
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Keep up with Anthony Consillio’s work below!

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