Very Strange !

This is a quick follow  up  on my Red Letter Day piece.

Those who read my theory on hot spots and special photographic days should have stopped laughing by now, however the 19th of June was even stranger this year !

The 19th of June fell on a Tuesday this year , I had no plans to go seeking photographic subjects as I had work commitments, I thought to myself that the Red Letter Day principle was not going to be maintained in 2018 and thought no more about it, although I was a little disappointed.

Sandwiches made I got in my car and headed to work just like I do most other days,  my camera stayed at home , killing off any possibility of me making a special June 19th capture, or so I thought ?

On my short drive to work I spotted a photographic opportunity and thought it was worth a shot , using my phone I managed a few shots of this unusual scene that really rang my Street Photography bell, more importantly from my superstitious view point the magic of June 19th had delivered a picture and a smile on my face in very unlikely circumstances, again !

I truly believe that I am led through this photographic journey, as many of the pictures just seem to appear and fall in my lap with very few decisions being made by me ? 

Street Photography really is a mind game . believe ?

Be lucky and keep it real !

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Know Your Streets !

It's not rare for me to hit the streets for a few hours and fail to make a capture that satisfies me .  however, I should add that occasionally I manage more than one picture that rings my photographic bell,  yesterday was such a day.

Its important to come back with a few pictures you like now and then, but I've always told myself that these "fail days" are not totally wasted if you learn something from the session , it might be a bit of lighting on a particular street or a repeated behavior of street vendors or pedestrians , the learning is subtle and quite often is of no practical use, but every now and then this insider knowledge of "your" street pays off !

I have been trying to capture a picture of the  guys in my local town taking down huge umbrellas that are used to cover market stalls on market day,  the image of someone trapped inside a giant umbrella has existed in  my mind for years, as my efforts to date have always ended on the cutting room floor , until yesterday .

In the past I have worked this packing away scenario without success, but yesterday was different, I already had a decent shot in the bag and was not contemplating another attempt at my elusive "umbrella  shot" as my photo session was coming to an end and it was hot and I was knackered.

The truth is that I was just walking through the market as it packed away, looked up , saw the brolly guy and knew what would happen next , the light was hard and cut through the scene like a hot knife through butter creating beautiful areas of light and shade , wait,  wait, ...   wait ,  the brolly man did his thing and I did mine, one frame,  got it !

Some shots feel as if they are meant to be, this is one of those  . I had already been extremely fortunate earlier in this photo shoot but that's another story !

Make  the most of this great UK weather and keep it real .

 

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Something Deep & Meaningful ?

Every once in a while I feel the need to write a piece that reflects the state of contemporary Street Photography and the giant strides our art-form is making ?

Having had  a good look around I see that good solid documentary photography is still being mistaken for Street Photography and the insatiable lust for the retro street photography "look" goes on , in short many of today's togs know what they like and like what they know !  

Its not the most forward thinking or progressive of visual manifesto's to create images without visual risk but that appears to reflect the mindset of many of today's shooters.

As I do not wish to write anything deep and meaningful that might awaken the creative sensibilities of the SP community, I thought it best to post some black & white "shaggy Dog" pictures , always popular and never controversial ?

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Will Street Photography ever change its spots ?

Keep it real !

Just Got Back ....

Pleased to report that my trip to Sardinia for the inaugural Alghero Street Photography Awards did not go unrewarded . I was fortunate enough to pick up the award for best Street Photography single image and meet some great folk  .

The island of Sardinia and the town of Alghero made a great backdrop for this prestigious event that attracted top drawer entries from international and Italian photographers.. I am proud to have been recognized at this event .

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I must thank the team and sponsors who made this event happen and congratulate the other photographers who were successful on Saturday evening , especially the young photographers 

The Street Photography Festival program of events included lectures from prominent Italian photographers and a Street Photography Workshop led by David Gibson. . I managed to spend a bit of time trying to find a few views worthy of next years festival with mixed results , I have included one below, this is a pre-edit pic so don't judge it too harshly ?

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All in all Alghero ,Sardinia and this Street Photography festival will put a smile on any street togs face , it certainly provided me with some great memories. 

Those of you who watched the presentation via the on-line feed will already be aware that both David Gibson and myself managed to test the destructibility of the trophy live on stage ,   OOP's !

Until next year, win or lose, can't wait ....

How I Shot The Royal Wedding !

That's right , yesterday I shot the royal wedding , I decided to shoot the event as a Street Photography / documentary project as part of my State Of Britain series . It might surprise some of you that I have worn the Royal Rota Press Pass on a number of occasions in the past , but I was not in the business of trying to create PR publicity shots on this occasion , thankfully. !

Mick Jagger told me a million times never to exaggerate and never to name drop, so  I won't mention here who I've shot in the past . My plan for this event was to photograph it in "Street" style from my personal (Layman's) view , I would not even travel to Windsor although I would visit a local town and shoot whatever royal wedding imagery came my way !

The local town had laid on a big screen to enable shoppers & shop workers to watch the event and create a community atmosphere., I was looking forward to being part of the crowd and recording this occasion . As Windsor hosted the worlds press with thousands of photographers present, I would record / interpret how ordinary people in a normal city responded to this memorable day. 

I prepared for this shoot with a level of seriousness that I thought was behind me , two bodies with 20mm lenses fitted, Eight camera batteries , spare cards in case of malfunctions , flash to control contrast if needed etc .  I arrived early in town to case the location and see how the local folk were responding to this historic event , at first I was worried ,as the town was quiet , very quiet?

I managed  portraits of the grooms grandmother, Harry and Megan very early on in the day before capturing a cafe worker preparing for the day ahead. 

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To be honest I was thrilled with the 3 portraits I captured in the window of the charity shop , the quirkiness of this photographic opportunity was revealing itself to me , I felt like the cat with the cream as this crazy shoot was working out.

Twelve O'clock soon came around and the television wedding coverage began on the big screen with the local folk gathered around ,  I knew this was going to be the most challenging part of this unusual wedding photography coverage , I had photographed this large screen before at  Cheltenham races  and knew that the banding problems that old TV sets presented to photographers were not an issue here , long exposures were not necessary, which was just as well, as it was a very bright day and the contrast was high !

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I shot about 200 pics on the day, obviously most of these have already hit the edit room floor and will never see the light of day ,its early days in the edit but I might have managed 7 or 8 keepers from the day, which is fine .  I have to admit that this was a tough day compared to my normal considered laid back Street Photography approach. . 

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 I have loved shooting this international event from my local  and personal perspective, the images might be challenging for some viewers as they seek to offer alternative representations and interpretations to the predictable high profile press imagery that does not really represent the reality of how most of the UK public participated & engaged with this twenty first century marriage.

 I believe this alternative Royal Wedding photographic coverage is an important contribution to my State Of Britain series .

Keep it real !

Hot spots & Red-Letter Days ?

Every now and then I write a blog that I know is madness , this is one of those !

Looking through my photographic archive recently, I noticed a very strange phenomenon, I write this today to find out if anyone else has noticed this weird "coincidence" in their digital files.

Searching out a picture recently in my files I could roughly remember the month I had made the capture, but could not remember the year.  This led to my discovery that a number of my favorite captures were all made on the same date in different years !

I know this is hard to believe, but don't knock it until you've taken a look through your files,  this "Red Letter Day" theory is bad enough but my experience is that some locations appear to deliver more interesting visual events than others despite having no special features.

Here are a number of same location coincidences ?

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Following the hot spot realisation it was no surprise to me to discover that many of my favourite captures are made in June as this is probably when I am most active , however I was surprised that the 18th & 19th deliver most year in and year out ,  this is usually about the time of the summer solstice and is associated with all things magical and mystical , I'm not prepared to say here that I believe in all this mumbo jumbo magic solstice stuff but I do associate a level of spirituality with Street Photography.   I have no better explanation for the special mindset that tunes me into the unlikely alignment of natural and surreal elements before my lens on the good days .

Here are a few of the pix from my unexplained red-letter days in June !

 

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To be honest if this phenomenon is real or imagined matters very little, but I have to admit that I work with a greater level of confidence,  positivity  and expectation during my "lucky" days in June !

Do you believe in magic ?

Enjoy your long holiday weekend , keep it real ! 

There are no launderettes in space

 

These pictures were found deep inside my subconcious and reflect imagined 1960's childhood memories, aspirations and fears !

When I was five years old I wanted to be an astronaut and hoped that the aliens I encountered would be friendly , this was the era of Telstar, moon landings and optimism. 

                        I have no memory of this "old" faded family photo from 1969 

                       I have no memory of this "old" faded family photo from 1969 

I thought I would grow up in a brighter better new world,  childhood optimism  ?

When I look around me now I see a fractured decaying society and a breakdown of community values ,whatever happened to our future ?           

Did we buy washing machines when we should have been building launderettes ?   

                                                                                                                             

 

 

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This conceptual project was created as a response to the 2018 , Reclaim Photography Festival brief  , Reclaim Your Future .

Starting Street Photography IN The UK !

I've read a number of "Street Photography For Beginners" articles recently , they appear to promote little more than a generic idea of SP , a bit of history, think like an alien , the best camera, black & white or colour, book a workshop ? , bla, bla, bla !

Is it any surprise that Street Photography in the UK  is losing its appeal and integrity as new togs are feeling confused & frustrated , "British Street" is becoming formulaic , predictable and detached from the everyday lives that it allegedly represents. British Street Photography is becoming heavily influenced by the New York Street aesthetic , the way newcomers discover SP and engage with the medium in the early days is producing togs that work hard to emulate US visual values rather than innovate a British way of seeing,  Individuality based on a authentic original approach is becoming hard to find.  You could end up producing work like the self appointed experts if your not careful ,    don't allow others to corrupt your potential, unique ideas and social vision, you do not need to know the rules , as none exist. !

How difficult can street photography be ?   Very simple if you don't get bogged down by unnecessary technique and SP propaganda  !

 New togs are confused and frustrated  !

New togs are confused and frustrated  !

My Very Quick Free Guide to Starting Street Photography In The UK .

 

1. Shoot your life and the subjects that interest you , shoot what you like and what you dislike , shoot with honesty and integrity.

2 Try to avoid engaging with the work of others initially , just find your own way , take some pictures , make some more and make even more. Edit, Edit and learn .

3. Try to create images that communicate life in 21st century Britain, don't be distracted by the superficial stylized efforts that pass for SP in the minds of those who have nothing to say and want to create "pretty" pictures,  traditional aesthetics & pictorial values should be exchanged for a more irreverent, personal, alternative view  !. ,  The World Is Not Beautiful  -  But its  there !  (John Myers ) .

4. Be influenced by the books you read and the music you enjoy, don't be influenced by the Street Photography websites & social media , including mine , value your independence and photographic ignorance, your lack of experience is a opportunity to do it your way , be curious and become the photographer you want to be, slowly ,... slowly ,.. one shot at a time .

One successful special capture each month is a attainable realistic target, if you invest enough time into Street Photography.

 

Enjoy the journey !

Lines Of Production

Thought I would share this collection of abstract images today, that follow in the footsteps of Rothko,Johns & Duchamp , these "ready Made" views belong to a industrial environment and were created by the erosion created by production activity and the necessity of space management with no aesthetic consideration  . They are part of a larger recently completed series .

These graphic compositions were captured on my mobile phone camera .

 

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Seeing it ,different !

 I have been test shooting various techniques recently that allow me to create abstractions of the urban environment and have settled on a simple multi-exposure in camera approach .

I have revisited a number of my favorite locations and searched out new interpretations, the scenes I have created so far are created by stacking a number of exposures on top of each other in camera.  A degree of visual pre-planning is required although the technique should not be so tight that it eliminates the little surprises that make this form of urban landscape photography so compelling.

Most of the attempted multi- exposures unsurprisingly end in failure but they are not a waste of time as these attempts leave clues to how improvements can be made for the next attempt.  Its a approach that adopts a continuous improvement ethos !

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All in all its great fun and worth a try if your digital camera has a multiple exposure facility. The files I make are treated the same way as my street photography ,   relying on  Levels , Contrast and Colour post processing enhancements only.

Give it a go !

Keep it surreal !