I've been reflecting on my photography, this past week or so. One of the reasons I'm finding time to reflect is that we've been experiencing a heatwave in the UK, I don't want to be one of those that whine about the weather, but I have to say it's been bloody hot. Too hot in fact for a country ill-equipped to handle 30c and to be sat astride a motorbike or for that matter walking around. Time then to have a little think. A few of my conclusions later in this post, firstly a very quick piece about last weeks failed trip and thus lack of decent photographs to show here;
The forecast (I don't know why I believe them) announced that on Thursday it would be slightly cooler, so around 23c. I decided that I would chance it and head for the city and port of Southampton which is around 60 miles from home, an hour and 40 minutes away. I wanted to have ride out and thought Southampton with it's docks and a city of 250,000 souls might offer up some great photo opportunities. How wrong could I and the Weatherman be? Very wrong is the answer. I arrived in Southampton and parked up where I believed would be the hub of the city, The Guildhall which is surrounded by shops and galleries. The shade temperature was nudging 28c; on a motorcycle with added heat coming from the engine, sat in traffic, bike gear and helmet, in the sun...unbearable. I briefly cooled as I stored my gear in the panniers, but not only were we 5 degrees over the forecasted temperature the skies above were looking ominous. Besides all that, where were the people? A lone skateboarder, a jogger were just about all I could see and some seriously deteriorating light -
There's an exhibition I briefly considered entering, which houses some history concerning the Titanic which set sail from Southampton on its fateful voyage. The thing is, and the same applies to how I was the last person on the planet to watch the film, I know the ending therefore not prepared to pay for entry. I liked the building though.
Instead I went into the Art Gallery, which was Free to enter as they so often are. Once inside it was practically void of any human life, for some reason their heating system wouldn't turn off and therefore it was akin to walking around in a giant oven, I made a couple of shots before I quickly exited -
Okay, the place I needed then would be the docks or waterfront. I don't know Southampton at all, but imagined that I would perhaps make some photos of the docks or people boarding ferries to the nearby Isle of Wight. At one point I thought about boarding a ferry myself as I've never been to the Isle of Wight. That's by the way because I Googled the waterfront to get some directions and the first entry I viewed said this; "by far the biggest asset of Southampton is the waterfront, unfortunately it's practically impossible to gain access to it". There was a rumble of thunder and I took the decision to write the day off and head home, by the way the temp reading on my bike was now 31c. I stopped for a coffee in Devizes took this shot, looked at the LCD and quite rightly called it a day -
I've been reading a lot of photography books recently, it was my birthday a few weeks ago and I received the perfect gifts. You can't have enough books in my opinion, especially if their subject matter is photography, therefore I have a lot. I've also been watching a few photography related documentaries on the BBC. I think it is really good for any photographer to study others work, it rejuvenates the passion and helps one to decide in which direction to take ones own photography. It also causes reflection about what photos you wish to present and perhaps where you are showing your images. The last time I had a really big think it started this blog and caused the deletion my 500px account which I believe were good moves for me. By the way, I found out that I can still login at 500px, I tried it the other week and discovered that I'd lost 15,000 followers, but surprisingly still retained 82,000, there aren't any photos displayed!
I post here on my own website, on the Leica site including their Magazine (LFI). Apart from that it's Facebook and just one of its photography Groups. I'm unsure about "Groups" as a whole (Although I'm very comfortable with the one I am a member of) and any competitions for that matter. Of course we're in the hands of subjectivity and I'm not convinced that's a good place to be. What curators think isn't necessarily going to help anyone progress their photography. Strictly speaking only the photographer should decide whether something is good or not, and perhaps to some extent a very few fellow photographers whom they both know and respect. In some less confident individuals it could cause despondency and dissatisfaction with their own work, thus quelling the "passion" which as we know is essential to anyone wishing to improve their photography. I'm gradually concluding that by posting to all these various groups, competitions and photography platforms we are simply feeding the machine. They're receiving free images, but what do we get as photographers in return? Talk about selling your soul and there's no control over output. They offer exposure for your exposures, but I suspect a minuscule percentage get anything meaningful from it at all. Actually Alex Coghe offers far more eloquence in his article concerning "Groups" - click to read his blogpost.
So, studying and reading I once again reached a kind of conclusion. The world definitely doesn't need any more Wedding Photographers, so I think I'll pack that in and make our planet a better place! Seriously, I'll still shoot some occasionally, but I haven't been proactive at looking for any business in years. I enjoy shooting them, although portraiture is more my thing if I was being true to myself, but unfortunately people often aren't prepared to pay the price. I may offer some kind of 10 minute portrait session deal. I've always thought that 10 minutes or so of actual photographing was enough for any portrait. Doesn't mean that chatting for a while to the client before the shoot begins is excluded. It might generate some business. I'm going to concentrate mostly on Street or as I prefer Life Photography. The degree of difficulty in capturing a good "Street" Photograph is exceedingly high, so high as to be out of my reach currently. I like a challenge and it's a huge one. It must be candid, not staged and reflect a story, a moment; it is so much harder than I imagined when this genre of photography captured my imagination 5 or 6 years ago. Ultimately I want to produce a book, hopefully not another one of those vanity projects people so often release, so far I have the cover shot, it's a long way off!
Of course I'll still be photographing my children, it's good practice apart from anything else.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Summicron 35mm lens fitted.