London

Best of March 2019

Sixteen from London’s streets from March. Let me know your thoughts below.

Click on the image to go LARGE.

Best of February 2019

Sixteen from February out and about on the streets of London and Cambridge.

I would love to hear your comments below.

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London Light - Feb 2018

My blog thus far has tended to be philosophical ramblings about photography; musings on settings and gear; or the occasional “how to.” That probably begins to explain why blogging tends to happen fortnightly - fitting around the day job and collecting my thoughts gets in the way.

 

I have decided that perhaps the blog space is the place to try posting photos that I have been taking recently with a view to seeing how they look published, out there in the world, for all to see. Be prepared for more photos and and more posts - though just as many words.

 

Last Saturday I was in London with the camera, though not specially to take photos - this was a family outing. The trusty Fuji x100f is never far from my hands. The light was fantastic, even if the clear blue skies meant the air was shockingly cold, making holding a camera a challenge at times. I can’t do gloves. Gloves seem to introduce some kind of layer between camera and brain - as well as between hand and camera. I just can’t seem to function properly as a photographer in them.     

 

Here is a mix of colour and black and white images from the day - all shot around South Kensington and Brompton Road.

Kissing for Posterity

A couple of years ago when I was really just starting out in street photography I took a late night picture of a couple kissing on Hungerford Bridge, London against the backdrop of the Royal Festival Hall. Possibly a good-night kiss. Maybe the promise of something more. We are left to make our own stories. They didn’t know me. I didn’t know them. They didn’t know I was there. I suspect they didn’t know anyone was there, though the bridge was bustling. 

I still like the picture. I like the light. Of course, what is missing is any sense of historic occasion.

Night Then...

Night Then...

Last week we learned of the death of Greta Friedman. Despite her name being almost unknown, Greta's image has become one of the defining photographs of the Second World War for she was the woman in white being kissed by a sailor in Times Square as the end of the war in Japan was announced. Eisenstaedt's photo became one of the half dozen or so pictures that will always be associated with the conflict - Capa's Omaha Beach shots; Joe Rosenthal’s GI's hoisting the Stars and Stripes over Iwo Jima; St Paul's cathedral standing proud amidst the smoke and flame of the Blitz in December 1940... 

I had always believed that the white uniform was that of a nurse who would soon be free to pursue her normal peacetime calling rather than tending the wounded of the war. However, it turns out Greta was a dental nurse on her break when she came across the sailor in Time Square. The sailor, called Mendoza, had apparently been kissing random women in Times Square as he celebrated the end of hostilities. Try doing that these days.

The presence of a great photographer to capture the moment the sailor met the woman in a white dress sealed both Mendosa and Friedman in time for posterity. 

Fifteen years on from 9/11 many of the major photography players have been using their Instagram feeds to bring us images of the day. The images bring us the immediacy and horror in a way that only a photograph can - a moment captured and frozen, pored over and analysed at will by whoever wants to see it. 

Part of the power in these images is the technical beauty of the photograph, shot by a master photographer; a beauty which is in sharp contrast to the horror of the unfolding disaster. It's that juxtaposition that creates such impact. Of course, the impact is heightened when it is somewhere that we associate with high tech, comfortable, first world living - like New York. Would the impact be the same with an image of smoke and debris in Aleppo, or anywhere else without a Starbucks, MacDonalds or Nike outlet, I wonder.

It strikes me that it is the very ordinariness of the people in the images that brings the whole story to life. Alex Webb's shot of the woman and her baby on their rooftop against the backdrop of the burning towers and Eisenstaedt's image of Friedman in Mendosa's embrace both bring the disaster down to a personal level involving people with whom we can readily empathise. It is this capacity to hint at our own individual narratives that makes street photography so compelling.

Great Friedman was 92 when she passed away. Beyond that moment, 71 years ago, the world knows little of her life.

 

Starting out - why now?

When I do things I do them with a passion. Pretty much an obsession. And this is where photography is with me right now. A camera has never been far from my hand over the past three years and it has taught me to see things very differently; definitely to appreciate things more. I even notice what's around me these days.

 

In April, I took a photograph of a man, wrapped warmly against the cold spring morning, standing on the south bank of the River Thames, looking across the water towards St Paul's Cathedral. I went on to take many other photos that morning, wandering the streets of the city as they began to fill, before heading home for lunch. A great way to spend a Sunday. I was already pleased with this one, along with half a dozen others that day.

In time, I posted a black and white version of the picture on a couple of social media sites and it seemed to get a good reaction, claiming photo of the day awards with a few  Instagram  sites. Then I submitted it to  One Million Photographers  - no real expectation of anything but hey... And it got Editor's Choice (thanks editor). That was a big boost. But nobody would know how to find more of my stuff - I needed a website. And if I needed a website, people told me, I needed a blog. So here it is.  I've always enjoyed words - heck, I almost had a children's book published once (almost) - but is anyone actually going to want to read the ramblings of an obsessive camera pointer who is sharpening his skills?     We shall see. 

In time, I posted a black and white version of the picture on a couple of social media sites and it seemed to get a good reaction, claiming photo of the day awards with a few Instagram sites. Then I submitted it to One Million Photographers - no real expectation of anything but hey... And it got Editor's Choice (thanks editor). That was a big boost. But nobody would know how to find more of my stuff - I needed a website. And if I needed a website, people told me, I needed a blog. So here it is.

I've always enjoyed words - heck, I almost had a children's book published once (almost) - but is anyone actually going to want to read the ramblings of an obsessive camera pointer who is sharpening his skills?

 

We shall see.