Cole Beal

Street | Last Updated: February 3, 2021

What’s up everyone! My name is Cole Beal, I’m currently 22 years old, and I’m a photographer from Southern California.

About 8 years back, I picked up a camera for the first time, and although the subject matter I shoot has varied, my style hasn’t. I have always strived to create simple, and direct compositions that convey a feeling by using primarily natural light.

My journey as a photographer has taken many forms over the years, at one point I worked for SURFER Magazine, shot a fair amount of freelance, then later had the opportunities to shoot artists like LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Chance the Rapper, J Cole, Major Lazer and Duran Duran.

For that stage of my work, I was using a Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART lens.

Around 4 years ago, I started messing around with my Grandfather’s Canon AE-1, and immediately I was hooked on shooting film. I quickly upgraded to using the Konica Hexar AF because it is the quietest 35mm film camera on the market, and for its tack sharp 35mm f/2 lens.

This was the combo that really started me on my street photography journey, but it had too many electronic elements in it, and I disliked how reliant I became on disposable batteries.

That’s when I made the switch to my “forever camera,” the Film Leica M6 with a 35mm Summicron f/2. It’s with this set up that I managed to create my most recent body of work, “The Process,” from 88 rolls of 35mm film to its final form as a hardcover book.

As a Street photographer I just really enjoy seeing my feelings expressed in my immediate surroundings. It’s a very vulnerable, therapeutic, and solitary practice that for me is like a drug.

I don’t really see street photography narrowed down to just shoving a camera in people’s faces, but rather a lens of seeing the world. Whether it be shadows, people, objects or moments; I see street photography as being immensely versatile.

My Gear:

Leica M6

This camera needs no introduction,  a German made film camera that feels more like an extension of yourself than a camera. It is everything you need, and nothing more. A camera that pushes my art to carry more of a thoughtful quality, feeling, and timelessness. It’s simple.

Working with this reliable set up allows me to focus on what’s happening around me and not be stuck fiddling with settings or looking at an LCD screen.

Although it is one of the hardest cameras to learn to use proficiently, once you get it… It’s unparalleled.

Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 v2

This lens was made in 1969, a lot of people would prefer something new, maybe it’s a sharpness thing, or a status thing, but this classic lens is my favorite.

I’m not much of a gear head, or pixel peeper, so this lens is the best, it has a certain glow that you just can’t get in modern lenses on film, especially when you pair this lens with Kodak 400tx, you reap some serious benefits. One camera, one lens, no distractions.

Leica SF40 Flash

This is my favorite thing to slap on my camera when my friends and I are going out for a drink or to an event. I guess you could get a small disposable camera, but there’s something fun about carrying around a camera and flash.

The photos always come out so classic, it’s a great way to document fun memories of those around me. Just pure fun.

Film Stocks:

You will almost never see anything other than Kodak film in my camera. Whether its 400 Tri-X (pushed to 800) , Portra 400/800, or my secret favorite Color Plus 200, Kodak film has never failed me.


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1 Comment

  1. Nikita Tretyakov on August 14, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Wow, this is a truly minimalistic gear! Would you have an advice what camera to start with when entering the film universe? Thanks!

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