black and white
I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog. If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.
One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.
To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.
We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.
People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.
All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics! I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures. I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.
I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.
So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty. I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands. As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.
Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.
Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.
I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.
So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !
As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.
If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance. The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !
I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.
They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !
What can I say, I have owned or still own every X series camera that Fuji have made and so far the X-T10 is the star. I love my X-T1 and should prefer it to the X-T10, I actually do when I am shooting events in the rain and need a battery grip but the rest of the time the X-T10 is my go to camera.
I am never one for a technical review. I like to use a camera over a few months and see how it works for me in the real world.
I used to take the X100T everywhere I went but now its the X-T10. Its so small and with the 27mm pancake lens its just the best street camera in the range. I have also found myself using it for long exposure workshops instead of the X-T1.
I think the autofocus is just a little bit faster than the X-T1 and the images from RAW appear to be a little cleaner and sharper, so much so that I hardly spend any time processing them.
I have hardly picked up my X-T1 since the festival season finished and have had the X-T10 around my neck in all weathers (not that I recommend you do it) but I have found myself shooting in torrential rain and this little camera has not missed a beat. It’s no secret I use my cameras as a tool and not a prize possession. This little camera is just bullet proof.
It’s small enough to be invisible for Street but has a great viewfinder and perfect size rear screen for me to teach Landscape and Long Exposure classes.
I thought I would be running back to my X100T or my X-T1 in no time but I am still in love with this little thing.
It’s great with most of the smaller lenses but becomes unbalanced with the larger glass but this is to be expected.
I use this camera on Auto ISO for most of my Street work and shoot with the large green square on continuous focus for anything that is moving. It nails it 99% of the time, this is with me walking and my subject on the move. I hear lots of people talking about how the Fuji’s don’t compare to the DSLR they have and I find this strange as the people that come on my workshops with DSLRs can’t get a single in focus shot on the move. They can with the shutter speed cranked up to the max on a bright day but thats a different story.
I go out day after day with this little camera and come home very pleased with the keepers.
I have been using it with the 27mm as if it was bolted on but now I have the new 35mm f/2. I hope to give it a treat over the festive period with a change of glass.
I can’t fault this little camera and I love it so much I have two, one to shoot wide and one to shoot long!
So this is my go to Fuji X Series Camera until something more interesting comes along…
I am a candid Street photographer, there I said it and have been saying it for two years, but how did that happen? I am not even sure myself to be honest. It’s just how people started referring to my work, it’s not a name I gave to myself its just happened over night I can’t even remember how it started.
I have been shooting Street photography in one way or another for all of my life and started about 8 years old with a camera given to me by my parents. I was born Dyslexic and photography was my welcome release from life, school and my own head as I tried to grow up with learning difficulties.
I was not great at photography so had to teach myself and made lots of mistakes along the way. I did all the normal things you do as a kid, shoot long exposures and light trails from cars on roads as well as smoke and water drops, all the photography related things we shoot as we try to learn then people became more interesting.
I started shooting weddings and events at an early age and then glamour. In my spare time my hobby as such was always shooting people, due to the fact I shot people at weddings and people at events and spent my time posing them or talking to them I preferred to shoot my street in a candid way.
I did not read many books as reading was such a slow process for me in my early years so I just found out the more time I spent with a camera and the more time I spent in the dark room, the more I found out about photography. I did get a few photography books but they were all about the images and not the text.
I learnt very early on how to critique my own work, I am my worst critic. I shot the odd landscape and had wonky horizons for years until I started to look at my work in a more critical way. The funny thing is finding out for yourself, can’t even get an horizon straight, now that makes you look more deeply at your work. If you can’t notice something as simple as that what else was I missing.
I had a house fire many years ago and lost everything in my house from my vinyl collection to all my photos and negatives! Quite a few survived but mostly family images, it stopped me in my tracks for years and I also lost my cameras and the insurance was out of date by a few weeks. Shame we did not have email reminders in those days.
So I have only recently started to show my Street work again but to this day I still shoot film but keep that to myself and don’t post my film images on social media that often.
I have to admit to not knowing anything about Street photography and not looking at any of the masters of Street or even reading up on Street until about eighteen months ago when I met Steve Coleman. Street Frame Steve and I became friends through our love of Photography and Street. I also had not read a book on Street until this year as I just don’t have time to read and very rarely buy books. A friend of mine Elaine was given some books for Christmas 2014 and two were the same. As a coincidence I was given two copies of Martin Parr’s book so we did a swap. Elaine said I would love the book by David Gibson (The Street Photographer Manual) as it’s exactly the way I teach and shoot street. As soon as she said that I was interested and decided to read it and managed to read it in a week, the speed I read that was fast!
I was so shocked to read that after all these years I was shooting Street almost exactly the way the manual says it should be done. Not that I am one for too many rules in photography but Street to me is my passion.
I have seen so many YouTube videos of people arguing with people in the street about their rights to shoot on public property after upsetting someone with their camera it was quite refreshing to read a book that was telling it how it is!
My philosophy on Street is so simple. I want to be able to go out and shoot Street in a candid way so as not interrupt any ones day. I want to keep it real and not ask for a portrait or change the dynamic of the scene. I want to capture life as it happens and not pose one single element. I have been shooting this way for over 40 years and no one has ever stopped me let alone had an argument with me. The people I have spoken to on the street have all been very nice and it’s amazing what a smile can do.
I always said I would not teach Photography and never Street but now find myself doing it. Part of that was an age thing, I reached 50 and decided to just go for it and teach, do talks and workshops. In all honesty I did not think I was that interesting.
Some of the main reasons for teaching were that people were asking me to teach them and show them not just Street but black and white editing and all other types of photography.
I was getting asked so many questions that were so hard to answer online; I can’t type that fast and being Dyslexic all my work has to be checked by my girlfriend Jane so writing is a nightmare for me. Workshops were the only answer and I quickly found that I loved the workshops and learnt so much from them myself. So many of the people that have been on my workshops have been Teachers and that has opened my eyes to some of my early failures. I used to say to everyone what is the point in a workshop, you won’t learn much and some of the teachers are not great. I was wrong and I admit it. I wish I had taken a few workshops in my younger years that way I would have not had wonky horizons for 8 years! I now say workshops are good, go find a workshop with a photographer at the top of his or her game or even someone whose work you admire that way your photography will progress so much more quickly.
Some of the guys that have been on my Street workshops have come more than once and come to different city’s all over the UK. There work is getting better and better. They ask me more and more questions gaining confidence all the time. Not only that but they can shoot around some of these cities in the safety of a group. Some single people who are into photography and whose friends are not, just love to be able to shoot Street with like minded people and its great fun.
One of the questions I have been asked most this year is, when is it Street and when is it a Portrait ? The answer is simple but there is a grey area. If you just shoot someone in the street without them knowing its Candid Street. If you ask for a portrait it’s a Street Portrait. If you look at them and point to your camera and gesture and they nod then because permission has been asked for and granted it is a portrait! So if you are shooting and waiting for eye contact it’s still Street as long as they don’t smile!! If they smile that is the grey area because the smile can be taken as an agreement to have a portrait taken! I try to capture all my Street subjects’ candid but if I push for eye contact I aim to press the shutter before they smile. I would never post a portrait or smile shot in a Street group, unless they allow Street portraits! So if you wonder why your images get removed from Street groups that could be a reason.
There is also a lot of debate about shooting the homeless or disadvantaged people. This is a taboo subject in most Street groups and I don’t encourage it on my workshops. A good street image is telling a story and should say something to you as well as the viewer if you view it in a group. ‘Homeless person in a doorway’ or ‘on a bench’ is an easy target for people starting out into Street and they always try to justify their images with a verbal reason. If the images can’t talk for themselves they fail, so give it a lot of thought before you fall into that trap. I also understand that if we don’t shoot homeless and disadvantaged people there will be a big gap in future images so a good story needs to be told.
I was on a photo walk when a friend of mine Dave K Piper said to me “ I get it now “ I said “get what” he said “ I create my work in a studio and you go out and find yours.” He was spot on and one of the lessons I try and teach is that you don’t always find it !
Too many people are going out and shooting Street like I did with Landscapes as a kid and not looking at their work. There are still wonky horizons in Street but so much Street now has no thought put in to it. I am in some great Street groups and even some of the groups are not helping. People have short attention spans on social media and click ‘like’ far too easily and that gives a Street photographer the wrong idea.
Some of my images have quite a lot of thought put into them and there is a story there or emotion, but its missed by so many. Someone said the other week that window shots have been done to death and they are easy ! Far from it but so many window shots are just window shots !
Martin Parr and Bruce Guilden ( Thanks Steve ) have some great YouTube videos on Critique and they are well worth watching. I have only just started to look into the masters of Street and to be honest I don’t get some Street but fully get the style I find myself shooting.
One very important thing for me is that everyone needs to treat people on the street as they would like to be treated themselves so that we can carry on shooting Street in the future and not have the general public turn on photographers for being rude and pushy!
I am a member of the f50 collective an international collective of Street photographers and we have some amazing debates on Street over a coffee in Liverpool but the one thing that is always apparent is our passion for Street.
I teach Street workshops and I spend all day out on the street with my groups and only have groups of 6 people as that is just about the right amount to take around any city. Shooting candid is an art in its self so group size is very important to me. I also have FREE photowalks in the UK that are planned with Fujifilm UK or Fujiholics to get Photographers together for a great social event not just for Street but for networking or any other style of photography.
My workshops are designed for any level of photography, and I carry out one to one courses anywhere in the UK. I was not sure about starting the workshops as trying to teach people how to shoot Candid street in a group I thought was going to be an issue but its turning out to be a lot of fun.
People come on my courses and have that light bulb moment and realize it’s not as hard as they thought. Once they have that light bulb moment and start shooting the way I teach, they go from strength to strength. One guy came on one of my very first workshops and said Street is not for him and he was not going to do it again. I was shooting in Liverpool a few weeks back and he was out on his own shooting Street and his work is getting better and better as he gets closer and closer. Not only that but he had confidence issues as well. He now finds a great release and calmness in shooting Street the same as I did when I was a young lad.
I have taken my workshops on the road now and with the help of Fujifilm UK can also offer loan cameras and lenses for my workshops if notice is given. I have some exciting places for 2015 and they all give a different aspect to Street photography: Brighton for example has its relaxing vibrant culture, London for the fast paced action and chaotic city life, Edinburgh for the most relaxed people in the UK and just up the road Glasgow for some of the best characters, Liverpool and Manchester for the amazing styles of the men and women, Hull for the amazing people, Cardiff for the Christmas markets. and Chester for historic backgrounds and so many more that I have not had time to plan yet.
So, why not join me in a city near you or have a weekend break in a city far away ? With my new early bird prices and advanced train fairs at an all time low it’s a great way to spend a weekend in an interesting city exploring it by day with like minded people and some candid Street.
Don’t confuse my Workshops with the Free photowalks I have this year as they are completely different. I can’t teach 200 people on a walk I can only talk to people on the route and hand out hints and tips. If you don’t make it to my workshops follow my facebook page or twitter feed to find the Free walks and competitions. Who knows, you might win a Fuji X100T or a trip to Paris to shoot Street with me !
I still shoot film and in a way love film more every year. I have just picked up a Nikon F100 Film Camera for £150 second hand from Cambrian Photography combined with a 50mm 1.8G lens also second hand for £99. I now have the perfect fast action Street film camera. This camera is stunning its also in fantastic condition and cheap as chips, as I remember this camera was around £1200 new.
Everyone knows I only shoot Fuji Camera’s for Digital, but I shoot all different makes of film camera from Nikon Fm2, Olympus OM10, Fujica St750,Nikon F100, and quite a few others. I also love the old 120 roll film cameras without names that I find on my travels.
I just love to get out and shoot Street with film. I love the discipline of shooting 12, 24, 36 exposures and love the imperfections that can happen with the use of film. When I picked up my F100 from Cambrian I picked up a couple of rolls of out of date Ilford Xp2 Super, cheap to process in C41 and great for some nice grain. I could not wait to get out and shoot some Street.
I hardly ever show my film images, it’s a long story why, but to cut it short many years ago I lost all my printed images and negatives in a flat fire. Years and years of work all gone in a few hours. I lost a lot more than that in that fire, I lost a vinyl collection that included the first record I had ever brought and lots of other items of sentimental value.
I learnt a lot that day about possessions and it changed the way I see my photography and life to this day.
My love of photography is the act of going out and creating images and being out there on the streets teaching and connecting with people. The images that I have shot a week ago or a year ago don’t have much meaning to me unless I have an emotional connection with them so after a while if I lost the lot again I would not be as upset as I was the first time it happened. The images that do mean a lot to me however are backed up off site so they are always available !
The reason I don’t show my film images on social media or to anyone else is the simple fact I want them all to remain pure ! Sounds crazy, but I don’t want them to be judged by others or commented on. I want these images just for me. I am only showing these few today due to the fact this was the first roll of film I put through the F100 so it was just a test roll.
I love to go out and shoot film with a variety of cameras it makes me re think my work and also slows me down and makes me look. I get into a very fast Street rhythm and at times its to fast so changing cameras makes me see so much more. Every time I get used to shooting with one film body I will take a different one out, even though I know them all inside out just the change is refreshing.
I also find its so refreshing after a day out shooting film there is no rush to edit, you can go home sit down and have a nice cup of tea, you don’t have that urge to get the images off the memory card to see what you shot ! You have to wait.
I don’t develop or print my own any more, I leave that to Cambrian Photography and only take the film over to Cambrian when I visit for Workshops etc, this way its quite exciting to see what I have on the contact sheet when I get my film back.
I normally just get a contact sheet with the images scanned to disk and then from that point, if I like what I see I will progress to larger hi res scans or prints. Its not as expensive as some people think and this roll of 24 exposures film was £4 and it was £6.99 for developing and scanning.
I went out with my F100 and my X100T with Jim Moody the guy in the image above to have a wonder around Liverpool and shoot some Street. The images from my X100T were off the memory card and on to Facebook within and hour of getting home ! I even said to myself I am sure I shot more than that ! It was then I released I was shooting film as well.
I also changed rolls part way through the day, so I still have a few images I will forget about over the next few weeks. So it will be a nice surprise next time I take a trip to Cambrian.
If you have not shot film for a while or your have never used a film camera its worth the time and effort to get a second had camera and a roll of film and get out and have a go.
If you have a young family film is great for the children and it teaches them vital skills for the day they pick up a digital camera. I have a few friends that have introduced their kids to film and they are loving it, one lad has just gone of to UNI to study photography and has not shot digital yet ! I will never stop shooting film and the best bit of shooting film is the simple fact that when I am dead and gone all the images on my hard drive will be lost forever but the prints and negatives will be there for my boys and their family’s to look though and enjoy !
The colour images that follow are just a few that I managed to save from a snapped off roll of film from my FujicaSt750.
I just love the imperfection on this roll, it was also the first roll of colour film I put through this camera. There is something about the imperfections in photography that make me want to shoot Street more than any other subject, so combining my love of Street with my use of film just has to be done..
I often get asked what would my desert Island camera be! This used to be a hard question in the days of the DSLRs but not anymore it’s very simple it’s the Fujifilm X100. It does not really matter what version of X100 you have, they are all great. The X100 was a stunning camera and I am sure will go on to be a classic, the X100s was a big improvement and the X100T might not be a massive jump from the S but it’s worth every penny, after all the other two are so last year !
One of the main reasons for my desert island camera choice is the fixed lens, no dust or sand on the sensor is a big plus for me for a take anywhere camera. This camera fits in my pocket and can go anywhere I want all over the world and takes up no room. If you don’t add any of the great lenses and bolt on accessories this little camera even fits in your trouser pocket. I am not going to go in to the technical side of the X100T you can find this information all over the internet. I am not going to tell you about all the great accessories or the two stunning add on lenses because I don’t use them, for one reason and one reason alone they make it bigger for my street work. However the Fujifilm Tele Conversion Lens TCL-X100 and the WCL-X100 Wide Angle Conversion Lens are on my must have list for my Travel Photography.
I am just going to share with you a few of my images I have shot with the X100 versions over the last couple of years. Besides I have to be 100% honest with you and say the last ever camera review I read was on the very first X100 and it sold it down the river! Yes I was late to the X100 because the reviews were not great. Some people still pick this camera up and don’t understand it. But to really appreciate this little camera you need to be stuck on a desert island with it. You will be calling it Wilson by the end of your stay ( for those that watched Cast Away )
I made a big mistake a couple of years back and sold my X100 ! I don’t even know why I did it but I missed it so much. Sounds crazy, when I first got my X100 it drove me nuts at times with its quirks and every time I looked at the image on the back of the screen I was convinced I had not nailed the focus, but I had. Once I had the images open in Lightroom I was happy and excited and wanted to get back out and shoot. It has its quirks but they are very easy to live with but the benefits outweigh any quirks tenfold. This little camera is a carry anywhere camera that packs a massive punch with its stunning sensor.
I have a few friends now that own the X100 the X100s and the X100T to be honest I know a large amount of people that are buying the X100 and they are shooting Fashion,Landscape,Street,Long Exposre and so much more.
For me the X100T is the go anywhere shoot anything camera and even better the X100T is so good looking you never put it away. Mine sits on my desk waiting to go out and shoot. I have a black one and this is my preferred colour for street photography, it suites my candid style.
Lets face it, with the X100T, you can have your cake and eat it…
I have been Shooting Street for a very long time now, right from as far back as I can remember so well over 40 years, it’s always been a part of me to shoot people as a subject, but when I shoot it has to be candid. True Street as I have always understood it, will not interfere with the dynamic in the street, and this is the Street Photography I love. I know the point where you press the shutter to being spotted and getting a reaction or creating a reaction, is a very fine line involving fractions of a seconded, and find this point very well discussed in the street world.
Street portraits are on the rise but I stopped asking a for portraits years back, I do ask for the odd one or two if the subject is very exciting but hardly every post the images.
I have shot Street with film for years and as many people know I had a fire in my Flat many years ago and lost my camera gear all my prints and negatives. I stopped shooting for long time and only used a camera to record my family growing up. I just took family snaps in colour and black and white,before the calling of the photography world grabbed me again.
I always preferred black and white film and when I first moved over to digital, I hated the way digital cameras would process black and white and colour.
I stuck to black and white for all the reasons people used black and white in digital, but have been shooting film for my unseen personal work, I will continue shooting film and hope in the future have even more time shoot more and more film and less digital.
I have always struggled with colour in digital and I know in Photoshop you can almost make the colours how you want them and almost do the same in Lightroom but I don’t want to spend hours and hours trying to make colours look how I want them to look. The days of transparency film were so simple, shoot get developed and view! Print your work! Job done…
Up to last weekend I have shot 95% black and white but the more I get in to Street the more the colour medium is calling me and thanks to Fujifilm this is so easy, my XPro1 and X-T1 produce such amazing colours, I hardly have to touch them in Lightroom. So it looks like I will be shooting more and more colour over the coming months. I will start off with just street images that feel right in colour and put them mainly in my Tumblr account to see how I feel, and a few on Instagram and possibly a few on Google + Its very hard to mix colour and black and white so I am going to struggle with this in 2015. But I am starting to fall back in love with colour again thanks to Fujifilm.
I shoot in RAW and the cameras are all set to standard for colour and Lightroom imports the RAW file and I hardly touch the RAW file it’s just a little levels and curves and dodging and burning but I am at last after all this time starting to find my Colour feet.
I very much doubt I will go over to shooting more colour than black and white as I find colour distracting and not a great story telling medium, I also struggle in separating my subject at times in colour but I can’t ignore it any more! I guess it’s just part of the journey. Who knows I might even shoot colour film again! But I doubt it.
My 2014 Portrait Project became what I can only describe as complicated, this was for many reasons. One reason was arranging times when it was a convenient time for both my subject and I to be available for a shoot, it became quite apparent very quickly this was going to be a big issue. The weather also had a big part to play in the timing of shoots and it was too nice or two wet for some of the planned shoots. I also quickly decided shooting planed portraits was not for me. I love to shoot people but in a more candied reportage style, so the whole project started to go downhill from day one. But I decided to continue with the project and just see how it progressed.
If I ended up with just a hand full of images but learnt a lot from my project the whole year’s project would have been worth it. But hardly any progress was made over the first few months, I said to myself over and over again, never again….
Every project I start is for a reason and this project was designed to not only take me out of my comfort zone shooting people I had first met on the Internet, but also shooting people I had not met at all and only ever spoken to via social media. There were a couple of exceptions, an old friend Sam and her husband Chris who approached me at the start of the year. Sam does not like having her photo taken but wanted to step out of her comfort zone and have her portrait taken by me this year. How could I refuse, Chris ended up having his portrait taken as he waited for me to finish shooting Sam, the best part of this story is, Chris has now brought a camera and taken up photography. Looks like Sam will have to get used to having her portrait taken!
One thing I found out very quickly was trying to pin someone down to shoot them at a date and time was almost impossible, this alone made me want to throw the towel in from the start. I love street photography and event photography it’s the spontaneity that gets me excited, I just love it when all the elements of a great shot fall in to place. Trying to get a subject to be in the place they wanted to be, to be shot how they wanted to be shot on the right day at the right time in the right dress, with the right light was almost impossible !
On one occasion I was due to meet my subject at 9am, but after a few Facebook messages and phone calls they did not arrive until 1pm, by this time the light was useless and the planned location was in the wrong direction to the sun and it was pouring with rain. We had to wait for the rain to stop then shoot a new location. By the time we got the shot it was nearly dark. This was a big learning curve for me. Did I want to spend a whole day shooting one subject for my project! The simple answer was NO!
One Lady came all the way from Australia and was very much out of her comfort zone when I shot her image so thank you Linda.
I love all my projects, making each project last a year was a good move, it gives me time to completely hate the whole project and to want to throw in the towel, but when the mojo comes back to then pull yourself out of that hole using the towel as a rope !
I now know I hate shooting planned portraits, I can’t think of anything worse than trying to organise and plan a shoot with people you have not met and may not meet again. I found out the British weather is just as unpredictable as I thought it was. I found out getting people to relax for their portrait was very complicated and required a lot of work, most of the shoot in fact was taken up with getting the subject to relax. I have noticed even with some of the best portraits I have ever seen there is sometimes a look in the eyes of boredom or mind wondering! I have always hated that look, in street I always look for those few seconds before eye contact to try and make the shot.
I was lucky to be able to shoot a couple of my subjects as they worked; this made the whole process much easier. On the whole people are quite hard to work with as subjects, the more creative they are the more difficult this becomes.
Don’t get me wrong some people are great and I would like to say thank you to all the people who have allowed me to shoot them and use their portraits in this project. It was a pleasure to shoot you all and in some cases quite a laugh. Some people I could not shoot and this was more down to both my work commitments and theirs, as well as the distances we would have to travel.
I have learnt quite a lot from my project I can now use in my street and event work, I also have far more confidence in asking random people for a portrait than ever before! I have always been able to ask people for portraits but, not always had the confidence with some types of people at the important times. I won’t let these given moments pass me buy any more. I probably won’t shoot this type of portraits again but if do, I will plan at least a day or half a day for each shoot.
I have also found the Fuji X cameras are just perfect for Portraits, the XPro1 is my favorite, it slows me down and makes me think and also relaxes my subjects a lot more than a huge great DSLR in between my face and theirs. The Fuji X-T1 is also great when you want to speed things up when you can see the subjects mind wondering.
So in the end I managed 14 images, not as many as I thought but more than one a month so not to bad.
So that’s the 2014 project out of the way now for my very exciting 2015 street project…