April Fools Day saw me out and about shooting some Street/Life Photography at my usual haunts in Bath. I know this might be difficult to believe, however, occasionally I think. What I think about mostly is Photography, okay, sometimes Game of Thrones or Brexit enters my brain, but for a large part my mind is on making images. Practice is the key to it all I decided, it’s so obvious, evidently I’m no “fool”!
Actually, and rather obviously, making images is really easy, we know this by the billions of photos posted online on a daily basis. Creating something that holds a viewers interest for more than a millisecond is the hard part. Making a photograph that you’re proud of, or in my case mildly pleased with, is even harder. I wish I could tell you how to achieve that. I can’t and if I knew I would be the first to tell everyone, share the secret to all who listened. What I do know is that it’s instinctive, something that can’t be taught in one simple lesson or video or read in a book. That instinct partly comes from lots and lots of practice. Your eye just picks up on light or shadows or gestures, little nuances. If I was ever asked to give a workshop and I never will be that much is certain, it would be a very short one indeed. I’m not qualified nor good enough frankly and I’d find it difficult to charge more than say £5. Essentially it would last around two minutes and I would pronounce:
Learn your camera controls until they become second nature
Shoot in manual mode
Always have your camera with you
Wait for the frame to evolve
Don’t rely on digital processing, get it right at the time of capture
Buy photography books that are about photographers
Practice, practice, practice…
I’d keep saying the word “practice” until the two minutes were up!
Here’s some practicing photos from April 1st:
Arguably, and it has to be said, they’re not that great, but practice is helping me become more instinctive when I’m on the street. When I began shooting portraits and weddings I thought some of my work was okay, not too bad, now I look back and cringe. Street Photography has been a similar journey and in another few years I’ll be able to review this blog and cringe all over again.
All this practicing creates a huge amount of images which in turn creates another problem all photographers have to grapple with and that is curating your own work. I post almost daily on Instagram and need to be much more selective because I want it to be representative of my work, not a jumbled mess. Of course some never get posted, no one is going to see the guys eyes in the first shot for example on Social Media and why should they. It’s not one of those high impact photos. You may not be able to see them unless you zoom in. On my 27 inch iMac I see them as I saw them when I walked past which is why instinctively I clicked. Here’s another that I considered posting, but decided it would be difficult to make out what I saw on a smartphone screen. It was a colour match and perhaps he’d found his love match using that crystal ball of his. A big argument for printing your photographs I suspect instead of posting online.
I know it’s a bit messy, but it is just quickly grabbed, I quite liked it. I had another opportunity for a little more layering. What I liked about this one was the guy with the cap looking at me and again would go unnoticed on a small screen. I’m coming to the conclusion that perhaps Social Media isn’t the best place to be displaying this type of photography;
Anyway, enough of all that thinking business, it never does me any good!
A busy month ahead during April. My Street Photography days are numbered this month as are any trips out on my motorcycle. Next week we go away on holiday with the children so I’ll try to document that and write it up in a blogpost. I’m looking forward to spending some time with the children and my wife, things have been really hectic here for the last six months. I have some weddings booked so I’ll be busy taking and developing the images from those after the holiday. I’ve considered writing a blogpost on shooting a wedding with my Leica, I may do that at some point. Finally at the end of the month I’m hopefully meeting up with my friend the excellent Aix-en-Provence based Street/Life Photographer Jeff Chane-Mouye and I’m almost certain to write something from that. In May I hope to return to some outings on my motorbike, normal service will be resumed.
Here’s my final shot from this outing into Bath, my last there for a while. In the meantime I’ll be practicing:
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.
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