London - Street Photography
Friday - 4 Feb 2022
I want to share some thoughts about what I learned about street photography on my trip to London yesterday. It is not as easy as I thought it would be!
Having had a taste of it locally, where I seemed to stick out like a sore thumb, and was noticed and stared at, I reckoned on the busy streets of London I’d blend into the background and would be able to mingle and take photos unobtrusively.
There’s definitely an Art to it
There’s a technique to street photography. An art to being able to take up a position and point a camera at people without being ‘caught in the act’.
I very quickly discovered I felt a little uncomfortable taking pictures of strangers without them knowing. Should I ask permission? Should I make it known that I am taking photos of them? There is no doubt a street photographer’s code of ethics. I haven’t searched for that yet. I’m guided by my own moral compass.
My intention was to capture a slice of life on Oxford Street. People shopping. People working. People rushing to who knows where. What I discovered was, that if I kept my camera hanging around my neck, I could walk along and take pictures of whatever caught my attention and remain ‘undiscovered’. I kept snapping away with a cursory glance at my results now and then, until my camera battery ran out.
Later at home, with all the delayed gratification that ensued with having to wait for my battery to charge, only then, and when I’d transferred the images onto my i-pad, could I properly view the results.
Unlike when I am stationary and can predict what my pictures will look like, this process turned out to be the opposite of that. The way in which I’d captured the images felt fresh and exciting. The spontaneity of the bustling streets was captured in the blurred motion of the moving subjects. All this was unintentional. I love that. I feel I have found my own ‘technique’ to achieving this without being taught or learning it from someone else.
One of the thrills of being a self-taught artist is just that. You can claim small discoveries for yourself. You know you’re not inventing the wheel. Just re-inventing it your way. That makes it feel personal and precious. Less likely to feel the need to seek validation from others for your art.
Take. Create. Manipulate.
The fun, for me, begins with my original photograph. Then I create something new from it. I like to create a narrative with cropping and digital effects. The third stage reveals a conceptual message. I will leave it up to the viewer to find their own interpretation when looking at a series.
I’d love to know any thoughts you may have on my process. For many more photos please go to my instagram account.