One of my annual forays into London and I decided to make ‘workers’ a subject to look out for. I often make lists of things to look out for with the camera; people carrying things, people bending over, people with dogs etc etc. London centre doesn’t start coming alive until mid morning, when the tourists start moving around. Before that it’s mainly workers going about their business. A recent look back at these images and they continue to appeal to me.
I firmly believe the streets is where much of a society is played out. It’s politics, relationships, the good and the bad. Shoot the streets and you capture something of the society you live in. It’s as simple as that.
The US President ( I can’t bring myself to write his name) comes out, completely ignores the debate on gun control and instead wants to talk about how his society deals with mental illness. Well he would wouldn’t he, given the fact that the National Rifle Association made a substantial financial contribution to his election campaign. Still It’s good of him to want to talk about mental illness. It’s a huge problem and no doubt a massive drain on the national purse or wallet if you prefer. There are myriad reasons for mental illness but one of them must surely be the pressures put on a person from the society within which they live. I can hardly comment on the mental illness problems of the USA from my perch here in the UK, suffices to say we have a mental illness problem here too. What we don’t have is a rampant gun problem and a constitutional right to bear arms. You get someone with mental illness and marry that up with an armoury of guns and you’ve got a dangerous situation in the making, just possibly. We’ve had gun attacks here sure but nothing like the frequency and appalling consequences of the US. I can’t go down the road and buy a semi-automatic even if I wanted to. It’s crazy that a young man can carry a gun at the age of eighteen but must be twenty one to buy a beer.
Still what do I know ? I’m just a frustrated photographer. Leave nothing but footprints take nothing but photographs folks.
This is not one of those instructional how to Blogs. I don’t do equipment reviews or anything like that, nor do I tell you how to go out and take the perfect street shots. That’s up to you to find out and there’s plenty of self appointed experts out in the blogosphere who’ll tell you what they think they know. If you want my advice then by you’re welcome to ask for it and I’ll try my best to oblige. My wish is that my images and work encourage and inspire you to go out and have a go yourself and attempt to say something about the world you occupy.
I don’t generally focus my camera on street entertainers for the simple reason that it’s too easy. They expect to be photographed, it’s part of the deal they make with their practise and therefore will happily perform for the camera. As such the subject is flogged to death. I don’t turn my camera on the homeless on the streets either. That’s a subject which photographically needs a much more in depth analysis.
I’ve finally got my Instagram account and feed sorted out. Not before splitting the screen on my phone which cost me a £30 replacement. The Lord giveth the Lord taketh away ? Anyway I’d love you to join me on Instagram where over the coming months I hope to be adding some of my favourite images, old and new. I’ll also be checking out lots of other photographers and maybe adding links to their works on here. I’ll do it so you don’t have to.
I’ve just noticed ( shame on me ) that this image his left hand is blurred and I actually don’t care. I prefer it, it adds to the mystery. I’m not one of these folk who thinks it’s all got to be technically perfect, it didn’t worry Robert Frank so it don’t bother me.
This next one I’m still considering as well. At the moment I really like it ? What do ya think ?
A routine Endoscopy this week and I was tickled by the question afterwards on the Survey Form; How likely are you to recommend our Department to your friends and family ? ………… What ?? I found the process quite interesting actually. I got to see a part of my body that would otherwise be impossible. Photography’s come a long way since Fox-Talbot and Daguerre !
These shoes were on the corner of the street when I ventured into town. Notice the laces were tied. They were still there when I came back to the car an hour later and as I photographed them a bloke passing remarked it looked like a murder scene. Well yes.
In the autumn of 1933 J.B. Priestley in his ‘English Journey’ passed through Chesterfield. This is what he wrote
‘ The fancy that we might be rushing on into some strange mad England, inspired by the sight of those staring people, returned to me a little later when we reached Chesterfield’
……… ‘The people who live in its shadow [Crooked Spire] ought to be folks out of the common. They ought to be careering about like elvish burghers and peasants in old Breughel’s enchanting pictures. They ought to be humourists. Every time the morning papers arrive in Chesterfield roars of laughter ought to ascend to that black barley-sugar stick of a spire. For a moment I thought there was an air of cheerful madness about the whole place, welcomed it, and said to myself that England ought to be filled with such fantastic pieces of architecture, to match its fantastic characters and books.’
….. ‘with that mad spire to live under, Chesterfield ought never to be allowed to enter industry; it should never have passed dividened, never come within sight of double entry book-keeping; but ought to have been kept as a Derbyshire stronghold of cheerful English eccentricity’ – J.B. Priestley – English Journey – Penguin Books