A while ago in one of my blogposts I mentioned my astonishing discovery that Bath, my regular Street shooting haunt, is twinned with Aix-en-Provence. “So what?” I hear you say. “Well, it’s an amazing coincidence” is my reply. You will have noticed that over the years I regularly mention my friend Jeff Chane-Mouye , a Street Photographer whose images I admire hugely and he makes those photographs in, wait for it… Aix-en-Provence. That’s him, in the middle of the shot above with his camera. We’re always banging on about finding ‘gestures’ on the Street and so I though it was a fitting shot as an opener. Here’s another I took of him whilst we were discussing camera gear and manual focus. Apologies to Jeff for this photo, but of course there has to be some pay back for the video on his blog where at the end I discuss my need for a Pee and how as we get older we plan our route by nearest toilets! I had no idea he was filming and I’ll give a link to that later;
He doesn’t look overly happy or approachable there, but believe me nothing could be further from the truth. He is very happy and extremely approachable, not only that he’s intelligent, his English is far better than mine and above all else an exceptional photographer. In fact if I weren’t already married… Okay, enough of the “Love-In”. Jeff was in England for a week due to his daytime job and from a choice of many cities he chose Bristol to stay because it’s close to Bath. Now if that’s not an honour i don’t know what is. This meant we could meet up a couple of times, once in Bath and the other in Bristol. I haven’t looked at my Bristol shots yet, it was difficult enough to rake together enough for this blog for the Bath meeting. There may be a Part II, we’ll see.
So apart from shooting in very similar cities, they’re both a magnet for tourists, we also agree on a lot concerning Street Photography. We tire of photos with lone people walking into the light or emerging from graffiti ridden underpasses or over bridges. Each to their own I suppose and it’s not a criticism, just a point of view. They’re very popular I know, but they get boring really quickly and I can’t help but think the photographers who constantly post this type of shot in the name of Street Photography must get really bored taking them. They’re not challenging themselves with all that dark and light play, we all know that they’re really simple to make and sometimes I click some, they’re hard to resist, but too easy. More of a challenge is to capture some gestures or expressions or better still some layering. Well, at least try to;
Keep with it, if you can, the phots do improve.
Jeff and I walked quite some distance as I showed him my favourite spots in Bath to shoot some Street. We didn’t have any magical light to play with so it was a case of trying a lot harder. I’m very much a ‘lone wolf’ as far as photography is concerned. I get myself into the zone and think of nothing else, my eye is constantly looking out for a fleeting gesture or look. I’ve tried before to shoot with others and it just doesn’t work, however in this case it was an absolute pleasure to chat and walk with Jeff. I listened to his methods and watched him in action. Of course, as he will of noticed, I often get into conversations with complete strangers which is another aspect I enjoy with Street Photography. So, we have a guy all the way from Provence and I end up showing him, well, whilst chatting nonsense, to these great examples of Bath. A guy dressed in Georgian attire and a “Red Dwarf’ fan with a bottle of milk;
A very amiable couple of guys they were. Our splendid Georgian friend asked if we were in a Camera Club, the Aix-Bath Street Collective perhaps! Jeff’s style is to get in close, he uses a small Ricoh pocket camera with a fixed 28mm focal length. I can’t get as close, mostly because my Leica won’t or isn’t designed to focus at very close distances. Still, I’m shooting with a 35mm and I need to get as close as possible if I’m to capture those expressions and gestures. Here’s a few of those and I included one (Number 4), for no other reason than you’ll see Jeff’s arm and green t-shirt behind someone to demonstrate how close he gets.
We stopped for a coffee, we had a beer, we ate lunch and we walked and we walked. We walked through the city centre and up to the Royal Crescent which is a big attraction for visitors to Bath, neither of us took a shot, instead we sat on a bench and chatted about all things photography related. I took him down to Pultney Bridge where the opening shot was taken. Tourists love it there, they hang over and click away at the river far below, and of the weir and buildings. We of course were only interested in the people. I took that opening shot of Jeff and this one of some expressions and gestures;
Usually in Bath I try to keep to one place and in the end we settled down around Bath Abbey. We had a little more time to focus and I wandered off to find a shot whilst Jeff did his own thing. He was filming with an attachment he adds to his camera (GoPro type) and taking shots simultaneously…show off ;-)
In the end I managed to find my feet, slow down and also find a few shots. Unusually for me some I quite like;
It sincerely was a most enjoyable five or so hours in Bath. We walked back to bottom of Bath to the Train Station where Jeff could get back to Bristol and I headed back to the top to collect my car and return home. I got to meet an internet friend and it turned out that I’d made a real life friend. My aim is to get down to Aix-en-Provence before Jeff and his family move to Reunion Island which is a long way away. Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. Here’s a link to Jeff’s blogpost and in there you’ll find a video he made of me talking about toilets! Evidently he posted it online pretty quickly because I spotted this lady looking unimpressed as I headed back for the carpark;
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. Except for that portrait of Jeff where I blew off the dust from the 50mm Noctilux.
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.
As a side note Jeff suggested I add a ‘Search Bar’ so it’s easier to look for archive articles which I have and can be found just above ‘Older Posts’ as you scroll down.