Photographing the streets or specifically the people of the streets is a way of life, a way of seeing life, in essence it’s almost a philosophical approach to life. However fleeting those moments might be, we as photographers are constantly looking for them. It doesn’t need to be melodramatic, just a small gesture, a look, a subtle nuance, that ephemeral glimpse of light. In the end I suppose I see what I see, something catches my eye and I release the shutter, it’s my ‘view of the street’. Many, I know, only see or appreciate the melodramatic and that’s fine. Incidentally, that photo above was named in my mind as “Chivalry is dead, long live the smartphone”. He wasn’t interested, but any photographer worth their salt is going to pick up that dropped handkerchief and return it to the lady, especially as she’s dressed for monochrome!
Okay, let’s leave that and concentrate on the job in hand. When I began this blog my intention was to visit some interesting places on my motorbike, write about them, slip in a few facts and document the post with photographs. My current situation prohibits that and so I find myself constantly re-visiting my nearest city, namely Bath. Believe it or not that’s a good thing. I used to say that photographing my children endlessly made me more creative, because it caused me to be more alert to changes in expression or circumstance, otherwise I’d be presenting the exact same images over and over again. Well, similar applies to these regular visits to Bath. As I wrote sometime ago in my blogpost ‘Everything Else Is Just Background’, it’s the people that really count. These short trips are making me acutely aware of the people, the surroundings are partly irrelevant, although by now anyone reading this blog will be able to walk around Bath blindfolded. I’m not saying that the photography is improving particularly, but I’m fairly certain it will given enough time, I’m beginning to think a little more carefully.
I wander about the usual haunts, walk through the city centre, have a look around the Abbey and for some reason gravitate to the Bus Station at the bottom of town. Here’s a few taken along the route;
A little bit of colour never hurt anyone and I’m certainly not against it. The low Winter sun lends itself well to colour, but equally Black and White has it’s part to play;
I used to be that guy, the one laying on the pavement, desperate to get the shot with his Canon 70-200 L. Now, I take a different approach. I like scenes, natural or candid scenes. If it is to be a portrait or wedding shoot then as candid or natural as possible is my goal and of course I shoot primarily with a 35mm lens. Anyhow, the Bus Station is a good place, there are usually people about, in the Winter most of Bath can becomes a little deserted once the tourists stop visiting. I realised recently why it is I feel comfortable in a town or city and what attracts me to Street Photography. It’s the hustle and bustle that remind me of my childhood. Between the ages of 5 and 16 I lived in town centres, three different towns, all on the High Street. The noises, the sights of people going about their business, especially in the mornings, even the sound of a bus engine as it’s going past I find comforting. I walked to school through all of this buzz and activity every day.
Opposite the Bus Station is the back of a new shopping centre, of standard design to be fair, but there is some geometry to play with. Before I finish here are some shots made in that area;
Some photographs are personable, that first shot of the bus windows appeals to me, I don’t expect anyone to appreciate it, again the sun shining through those dirty windows takes me to another time and place. There’s always a certain feel around any travel terminal. People arriving and departing, anxiously or excitedly awaiting the bus/train/aeroplane/ferry or relieved at finally arriving to their destination. Oddly during this hour I’d allowed myself for some Street Photography even the Bus Station seemed quiet. I definitely need two hours, I came to that conclusion sometime ago. it allows me to settle myself and play the waiting game when necessary. I think for my next blog and my hour in Bath I’m going to stay in one place and just see what transpires. One hour in one place, I’ve often said that I’ll do just that on my next trip to New York. We’ll see, back to reality and this morning it’s -2c, I’m considering driving in, but the prospect of standing still for one hour gives me the shivers! I headed back to meet my wife, a quick snap as I walked up and that was it for as far as Street Photography is concerned for another week. Some were watching me, I was watching all of them and the old guy on the bench was watching something else…. I enjoyed that hour so much I can’t wait for the next one.
As always my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read this blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with Summicron 35mm Lens fitted.
I suggest that if you’re reading this blogpost via an email a better experience can be obtained if you open it in your browser.