Being primarily a commercial studio photographer there is something about the lure street photography it’s a genre of photography I explore more as a creative release than my main body of commercial work.
Street photography is the polar opposite of what I normally do, I’m normally in total control both over my subjects but also the lighting. Moving outdoors especially with street photography I’m caught up in the chaos of every day life, unpredictability and there is an element of risk. In many ways it’s taking my camera for a walk with no aim or destination, just looking for some cool light and of course interesting subject matter.
My two non commercial photography passions are street photography and landscape photography, these are my alternative areas away from my every day work. I usually photograph on my own walking around observing and conjuring compositions in my head. I see potential, opportunity, interest and most of all a challenge. Landscape photography isn’t part of this article though streetscapes blur the lines between my landscape and architectural work so in many ways there is a cross over.
My early influences came from Cartier Bresson no doubt like many other photographers we look back at his work and yearn to be restricted by simpler things but in today’s technologically rich times we have tools at our disposal and these may interfere with the passion and connection of the street and ourselves.
My preferred equipment for lack of a better word is a simple Olympus Pen I use this when I’m in holiday mode, also it’s capable of producing images I want and I have an angled viewfinder which brings me a different perspective to my photography one that was more common with my predigital medium format cameras. Trying to remain true to the capturing decisive moment simple equipment removes the hinderence of standing out from the crowd, I become a tourist with a point and shoot a recorder of my travels and encounters an explorer.
So why change from my safe area and adorn large bulky professional camera bodies and lenses, I break away from being discrete I become very visible standing out from the crowd or do I? Surely this is a misconception conjured up by the 35mm puritans following in Carter Bresson’s foot steps, being visible isn’t wrong in many ways it becomes an advantage it can bring interaction rather an the anominity of the more discrete approach. Anyway does it really matter, do we need to justify to ourselves or others why we did something other than the expected, no it’s one of those idealistic things that we believe makes a difference.
I’m blessed to have Edinburgh on my doorstep, it’s a 25min train journey straight into the heart of this wonderful city, I can jump on and off buses, trams and walk around exploring this Aladdin’s cave of treasures mingling with other visitors experiencing the atmosphere and a wealth of photographic opportunities. The festival and fringe are the ice cream of photography, the city is alive with artists and creatives displaying their talents and a wonderful carnival atmosphere that lasts over the summer.
The down side is it is busy, very busy, the streets can be a sea of people and finding room to step back and capture photographs is challenging, it’s this restriction that forces a rethink on what my approach will be.
In the next article I will share more of my thoughts and photographs of this fascinating aspect of photography – chia.