Street Photography

Workshops Update

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As quite a few people know  I am changing the format of my workshops in 2018 so if anyone wants to take part in the present format, please choose one of my Street Photography Workshops from the list below.

This is the format for 2017.

The workshops will encourage debate about Street Photography and help the participants to be more critical about their work.

The workshops are suitable for professional and amateur photographers of all levels. We ask you to familiarise yourself with using your camera and learn how to change settings quickly before attending the day, this will enable you to enjoy the experience fully.

The day will start at 10.30am and conclude at 16.30pm with a break for lunch and plenty of comfort breaks throughout the day, most of the day will be out on the streets. There is a lot of walking during the day and the event may take place in inclement weather so come prepared.

You will spend the day with myself exploring the streets picking up tricks and tips on my style of Street Photography throughout the day. My Street photography workshops and courses are fun, informative and relaxed. They are both challenging and highly enjoyable and designed to stretch your imagination.

I uses the Fuji X100F and XPro2 with a 35mm or 16mm Prime lens.

You can bring any DSLR or mirrorless camera on this course; fixed lens compacts are also welcome. If you are wondering what lenses to bring 50mm is ideal for full frame and 35mm film uses. APSC size sensors 35mm is ideal or lenses around the normal focal length.

The day normally starts at 10.30am with a coffee introductions and a discussion about the day. We will touch on the ethics and law and how to deal with challenges in this area.

Next we will discuss camera set up for the day and the best set up for street photography with a practical demonstration of street camera technique.

Matt will cover what Street Photography is, and show you some of his favourite Street Photographers images. He will also show you the best way to approach his style of Street photography.

We normally spend around two hours covering these subjects then around 12.30am we head straight out on to the streets where you can watch the way Matt works and try out some of the tips and tricks that he shares with you.

We break for lunch around 1.30pm where we can find a quiet place for a snack to discuss the mornings work and share our experiences.

We then go back out on the streets to practice your new street techniques and try and find your street rhythm and look for some interesting characters or great light!

We stay out shooting until about 4pm, we then find a quiet place to sit as a group to discuss the day and this will include lessons learnt. Matt will share his processing techniques and preferred software. Matt will give you his views on Critique and show you how to review your own work.

 

I know the majority of you guys that read my blogs and attend my workshops are Fujifilm users but for all you that have other brands of camera please feel free to book on any of these workshops as all camera brands are more than welcome.

Here are the available dates left this year, please click on the dates for availability:

Edinburgh 3rd June

Manchester 9th June

Birmingham 1st July

London 7th July

London 8th July

Bristol 21st July

Liverpool 26th August

Liverpool 24th Sept

Liverpool 14th October

Manchester 25th Nov 

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These will be the last Street Photography Workshops in this format at this price.

I have some interesting ideas for Locations and Styles of Workshops for next year, these workshops will be a little more complex so require a lot more planning.

I will advertise the 2018 Workshops around about October time.

I will be leading the Fujiholics Photowalks in London, Edinburgh and Bristol this year so make sure you sign up before all the places are gone. We have over 350 people signed up for London already.

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Hope to see some of you on a Free Walk or Workshop and if you are a Fujifilm shooter then our new Facebook group might be for you here.

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2017 a Year of Colour

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Way back in 2013 my project was A Year of Black and White and this was to explore my digital black and white photography in many ways and to see what I could learn in a year. I mainly wanted to learn how to process black and white files and try to find a style that would suit me. It was a great success but as time goes by and we get older our tastes change.

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I did not think in 2017 I would be doing a year of colour !   I have been thinking about it for a while now and I have decided it’s time to give it a go. If I am asked to produce Black and White images for clients then I will do but the rest of my work will be shot in RAW and processed in Lightroom and possibly Viveza but we shall have to see how that progresses.

I would love to be able to just use Fujifilm Jpegs but I am not sure they can give me the starting point I need for a simple workflow.

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I could never have done this project with Nikon as the RAW files were such a pain for me to process and to find consistency with. I have noticed however the Fujifilm RAF files are almost where I need them to be be to create a colour style. I could be mistaken but this is what 2017 will all be about.

So on the 1st of January 2017 I will start the project and it will finish on the 31st of December 2017, I have not quite decided where I am going to start putting the images apart from social media as I hate mixing black and white and colour so I need to think about this over the next couple of weeks.

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I hope to come out of 2017 with a more consistent colour workflow and a more interesting colour style. I also want to explore Colour Street photography through my own eyes.

Black and White Street photography has always been an amazing storytelling medium and I have always found colour quite annoying, but as I get older its growing on me.

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My colour work has always been a bit abstract and a little loud and I have toned that down for people but that means I have fallen into the trap of pleasing the viewer and not myself. Its now time to change all that and work out what works for me.

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I am quite looking forward to it and in a way it’s quite exciting and as with my Year of Black and White I will have the RAW files in 2018 if I need to process any images into black and white.

One of my favorite Street Photographers is Saul Leiter and I know his style has inspired me so now I need to explore colour for myself and see where it takes me.

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Why Street?

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One of the most common questions I get asked is “How did you get into Street Photography ? ”

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I guess the simple answer is by accident, I didn’t  even know I was shooting Street until about eight years ago.

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I was given my first camera about the age of eight and living in a big city I guess I have always taken pictures of people on the street. I have also photographed just about every genre of Photography there is. At one time I was known as the photographer that could shoot anything. I guess this label was true and I could shoot just about anything. It’s part of being a professional photographer you soon learn to shoot what will pay the bills and you get better and better as a photographer the more strange situations you find yourself in.

I have always tried to separate my passion from my work and with some of the jobs I have had outside of photography industry this was easy. The trouble with being a professional photographer is how do you separate your passion from your day to day photography. This was a struggle at first especially as I am so busy with work but now I have found the simple answer. Only talk about and shoot what I am passionate about and turn the rest down !!

So why Street Photography ? I guess it’s all about people watching. I have always been a people watcher, every occupation I have ever had, I would spend my lunch breaks and spare time watching people in towns and cities.  This then turned into trying to capture those special little moments as with the right light. I shot a lot of people in the street and most of what the images were bland and boring and did not tell much of a story although I found it relaxing and great fun. I did get through a lot of rolls of film and did not have a lot to show for it, but it got me out in the fresh air.

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I have spent quite a bit of time shooting portraits and headshots and spent some time shooting glamour in a studio and found that type of work where you set up the shot with perfect light and perfect people to be too contrived. I wanted more excitement.  Instead of using the holy trinity of photography Light, Composition and Moment in the Studio I wanted to go out and look for it on the Streets. Quite mad you might think and yes at times I get very frustrated by the simple fact there is no light, I cant get the composition right and the moment never comes. This was compounded  by the fact I am a Candid Street Photographer so will never compromise and set up a shot. I can’t change the dynamic in the scene it just doesn’t sit right with me. I have thought about it many times when working on project for big companies but just can’t do it.

I have shot Candid Street for years without knowing that it was Street Photography, the image below was part of my early windows project back in 2009 in Tunbridge Wells. It was a couple of years before this image was taken that some of my friends started calling me a Street Tog and I did not take any notice. I just thought they were naming me for what I liked to shoot. But the name started to stick and make me wonder so I started looking in to Street a properly around 2012-2013 but after looking at some of the amazing work of the masters felt my work was just ordinary.

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However I decided to read up on Street Photography and check out the masters of Street and other modern Street Photographers. It’s about then I worked out I was probably a Candid Street Photographer. In 2013 I did a ‘Year of Black and White’ project and off the back of the project I was asked to do some talks about photography and from there the workshops came and I started teaching Street Photography and Black & White editing.

The funny thing is at the time I was still not sure what I was doing was right !! Then a friend of mine gave me a book by David Gibson The Street Photographer’s Manual   This was a breakthrough moment as I agreed with 95% of the book and then realised this was how I was teaching so thought to myself I must be doing something right ! Thanks David for writing a great book and Elaine for giving me the book.

I still don’t see myself as a Street Photographer yet, I feel I have a long way to go and one day hope to finish a project that I am really happy with and take one amazing Street image. I guess some of my work won’t be relevant for 50-100 years but I love what I do and can’t wait to get stuck in to my next project..

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Clifton Cameras #StreetLife

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When Clifton Cameras do a promotion, they certainly don’t do it by halves – The #StreetLife competition was no exception to the rule! Spanning many months and encompassing a variety of different events and competitions, the StreetLife promotion was HUGE! It’s also rather in-depth, so bare with me while I try to explain.

One of the most exciting parts of the #StreetLife promo was the competitions. There were three different street photography competitions, each with a different theme and the chance to win an awesome FujiFilm X100T! There was also a prize for the overall winner, which was an all expenses paid trip to a European city to shoot street photography with yours truly.

The first competition ran from March – May and the theme was shadows. This proved to be a really popular section and there were thousands of entries in total. After some debate, the panels of judges, myself included picked this fantastic shot taken by Jim Moody.

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“This was the strongest image for many reasons, being shot from above made this image stand out from the crowd, the strong angles of the buildings added to the great composition of the shot, the arrow shaped shadow pointing into the darkness makes you think, but at the same time you want to know more about the woman standing with her arms folded, making this a great Street image.”

 

Skip forward a few short weeks, and it’s time for section two competition which ran from early June through to mid August. This time, it’s the more difficult theme of Layers. Now, we don’t mean lengthy photoshop composition, instead we were looking for multiple things occurring in a single frame – David Goold delivered just that. A image titled “Hostage.Crisis” was picked as the winner of that round and won himself a Fujifilm X100T.
(Image by David Goold)

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End of August through to start of November was the third and final section of the competition. The theme – Red. A simple one, but we gave specific instructions that the images must be kept real and red was a crucial part of the overall composition. After much deliberation, us judges agreed on Vasile Buzdugan’s entry entitled “Nuns.”

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My Photowalks!

Alongside the Street Life competition, I ran a series of free photos walks open to anyone on the behalf of Clifton Cameras. To give everyone a chance to attend these were thrown up and down the country. The first one was on the 4th July in Bristol, the second was 5th September in my hometown of Liverpool and the third and final one was on the 1st November in London.

THE WINNER

This is where the story gets a bit complicated. The day comes to announce the winner, after much deliberation, us judges picked David Goold’s image titled “Hostage Situation” as the winner overall. We’d all had that image in our shortlist and came to the conclusion, this superb image deserved to take 1st place.

The winner was due to be announced mid-november across social media and on the Clifton Cameras website. However, just days before, the unthinkable happened – The Paris Terror attacks. It was a huge shock to everyone and due to the nature of the image and the timing, we thought we would delay the announcement out of respect for the tragic event. We had also decided upon the european city we were going to visit, which coincidentally was Paris.

One night in Paris.

Skip forward to September 2016 and it’s time for David Goold to get his prize – An all expenses paid 1 on 1 street photography weekend in Paris.

After leaving my home in Liverpool I headed for the Eurostar where I met David. We spent the journey chatting all things photography, the plan for the next two days and putting the world to rights. Interestingly, we both agreed upon the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 lens was our favourite for Street Photography. Oh, and we both wished for an even faster version to come from Fujifilm in the future. Running through our kit, I had opted to use my FujiFilm XPro2 armed with the Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 WR and a FujiFilm X-T1 coupled with the Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 lens. Meanwhile, David’s main set-up was the Fujifim X-T10 with the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS MKII.

It was about 1pm before the Taxi reached the hotel and we spent the journey with the windows open desperately thankful for the breeze. Once we were all checked in and sorted our first stop was that really tall building that looks a bit like the Blackpool Tower – I forget it’s name.

We set a route from the Eiffel Tower down to Champs-Elysees, then towards Arc de Triomphe followed by a walk The Louvre and we finished our 14 miles trek in a beautiful area around Folie-Mericourt. By that time sun had started to set, so we ended up going back towards The Louvre for a bit of grub and a well deserved sit down!

In those tourist areas it was really difficult to find quick pit stops to grab something small to eat and drink. Most of the places we stumbled across were subscribed to the laid back, French dining experience. We love that style on the right occasion but we had pictures to take and just needed some quick in and out sustenance. It was so hot and the streets were packed with tourists which meant most places had completely sold out of cold drinks. Thankfully though, we stumbled across a Starbucks along the way and was able to get some kind of delicious orange frappe creation.

After a day of shooting some fantastic street photography and seeing a bunch of Paris’s finest landmarks, it seemed like a natural progression to head to a local french place for dinner. However, where we were, we couldn’t find a little bistro in sight. We ended up settling for an Italian, well, at least it borders France right? It turns out, the reason we couldn’t find any French places was because we were in fact in the ChinaTown, which explains a lot really.

Lighting

A lot of street photographers have strong preferences for certain conditions in order to give them that perfect light. For me though, I don’t feel that strongly about it – I like to work with whatever I have. Of course, harsh sunlight can be quite awkward to work with but I think that it sets the scene and allows us photographer to create a different ambience with the light we use in our pictures. Paris has something about it, although the sunshine was constantly bright, it was much more forgiving than I once though. I was expecting a lot of areas of blown out highlight detail and deep dark shadows, but the light on the street as a lot kinder than I anticipated. Perhaps it was the buildings, the positioning of the sun or just having a bit more dynamic range from the X-PRO2 sensor, it just worked out quite nicely.

With all this said, the real recipe for a great street shots is decent light, a decent composition and a moment. Even in a great city like Paris, the moment is the hardest bit. There are colourful characters, interesting objects but it’s all down to that split second where everything comes good.

DAY TWO

HOT HOT HOT! Day two was yet another scorcher hitting highs of 38ºC at mid-day. We hatched a plan over breakfast and decided to take a Taxi to the Moulin Rouge followed by an exploration of the area. Climbing the stairs to Montmartre and wandering around the square along the beautiful cobbled streets was rather pleasant. I can imagine if there was a bit of rain the day before the reflections and the texture you would get from those cobbles would have been incredible, but of course, there was no chance of rain on this particular day. We searched the streets for a nearby Starbucks but came away unsuccessful as they didn’t do any icy frappe things. With that terrible news, we headed back towards the hotel to get our bags and also grabbed a light lunch in a local french place followed by a cold beer. For some reason, cold beer was all we could find. Judging by the general lack of cold beverages available, anyone would think that summer had come out of nowhere and suddenly surprised the shopkeepers of Paris.

Our train back to the UK was our next stop and was leaving at 6:30pm, so we opted to head towards the train station after lunch picking a great location to concentrate your efforts before heading home. The area is known for it’s colourful characters and it the location is easy on the eye – or should what be sensor?

Well, there’s not much else to say here other than to express my thanks to everyone involved with this exciting project.

We reached out to David Goold for his take on the trip – Here’s what he had to say.

Audrey Hepburn said that “Paris is always a good idea” – but in thirty-eight degrees Celsius?! It had been forecast for a week but the reality of a high summer heatwave in France’s capital was suddenly with us. “Welcome to Hell!” was the greeting from the African taxi driver at Paris Gare du Nord as we began our Big Adventure. Fortunately, I had decided to travel light from Scotland; I brought with me just the X-T10 and the 18-55mm zoom for my photo workshop with Fujifilm Ambassador and pro street photographer (and now good friend), Matt Hart.

Two full days shooting ‘street’ in that city – in that heat – needed serious and careful attention to health and safety. Drenched in Factor 50, we paced ourselves from the start and must have each consumed a litre of water every two hours whilst pounding the pavements during our two-day stay.

But that city rewarded us with golden sunlight and inky black shadows, such elegant architecture and characterful citizens and visitors. In that special light, haute couture red dresses and heels had us, if not running, then staggering briskly to capture the decisive moment at those distinctive, striped street crossings in Le Marais.

I suppose we each develop our own technique, learning from our mistakes, but I had never experienced the technique of a professional street ‘tog. It was a revelation to watch Matt in action… to watch his pace change as he spotted an opportunity and to keep out of his way while he ruthlessly sought the decisive moment. And I hope I caught a few of those myself whilst learning to sharpen my eye. I suspect Matt features in many of them and I’m very happy about that – some wonderful memories of our journey to Hell and back.

For making it all happen, big thanks to Clifton Cameras, Fujifilm UK but most of all to Matt. We had such a blast. Let’s do it again soon! But perhaps in December this time, please?

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Fujifilm XF 27mm f/2.8

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I have been shooting with the Fuji X System now for since June 2012 and as many people know have fallen head over heels in love with the brand.

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Over this time I have used most of the cameras and lenses but a few have slipped through my fingers.

Back in the summer a friend of mine posted his 27mm lens on facebook in the Fujiholics group for sale and it was such a great price I thought I would just buy it even if I used it now and then it looked so small I could just pop it in my pocket !

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So the deal was done and the lens was mine, I bolted it on to my X-T10 and its been on there ever since!

I love shooting with both my X-T10’s when out and about and normally the 35mm f/1.4 and the 90mm f/2 are my walk about kit this little lens has taken over from the 35mm lens, I still carry the 35mm f/1.4 with me for when the light drops off in the evening or for adding the little bit of length back in the shot but as lenses go this 27mm lens is just perfect for the X-T10.

With the 27mm f/2.8 on the X-T10 it about the same size as the X100T making it perfect size for my go everywhere Street camera for when I was to shoot using the super fast AF system on the X-T10.   I always used to shoot my X100T on manual and zone focus but the X-T10 changed all that for me, I now shoot AF all the time and the focus tracking is spot on.

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I set the focus area to large square and focus mode selector  to C (continuous AF) I can just about nail anyone walking about in the street, with a quick flick of the switch back to S ( single AF) for anything static.

This little lenses with is 40mm full frame equivalent view is something I have been missing for a while, the X100T was just a little to wide for me with is 23mm lens and even though I still love that camera the X-T10 has taken over.

It’s one of those lenses that you wished you had purchased from the start and a stunning take anywhere everyday lens take up no room, I don’t even bother with a lens hood as I don’t want to change the size of the set up.

I just can’t wait to get out and shoot with this lens, its like a little pancake addiction !

All I need now is the coffee..

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York Street Workshop

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I have had another great weekend teaching Street Photography in the amazing City of York.

York is a great place for Street photography due to the amazing characters and the great atmosphere within the City Walls.

The group got talking at the weekend about attention span these days and the above image is a good example, not a single mobile device in sight ! Nice to see people just taking the world in for a change and not just looking at not so Social Media !

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Social Media has also become a ‘like’ culture on posts and images as well as with Street Photography. So many images getting lots of ‘likes’ but I wonder if you asked someone that had just ‘liked’ an image to give you four sentences on the image whether they could ! The same for the over posting of millions of images without any thought, if you cant think of four sentences about your work then why post it ? If it means something to you and you love it then that’s a great start, but look at it again and really ask yourself what do I love about this image ? With Social Media you want your work to stand out from the crowd so post your best work.

I very rarely post more than a few images, I cant stand some of them after a few weeks, but the ones that mean something to me personally and the ones I connect with the most, grow on me more and more as time goes by.

Street Photographers put a lot of time and thought in to some of their images as do lots of other photographers. I wonder how many people take time to have a good look at the image.

We are all guilty of too many ‘likes’, the worst part about friends ‘likes’ and random ‘likes’ is just like a really bad singer on X Factor !  People think they are taking great images when they are not !

I guess that’s why I  love the social side of my workshops. The conversations about Street Photography and all other aspects of photography are so much better in real life than a 50/50 debate on Social Media. Its great to just stop and debate an image or subject in the real world with like minded people who give a real subjective view on the world. The trouble with Social Media is friends of friends joining in discussions they know very little about !

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I was listening to a chef talking about having a great palate and how his palate had served him well in his career, he was talking about how so many people have tried his food and did not have a clue what they were eating and did not know if it was good or bad as most did not have a palate like his !   I guess  that’s a little like photography, so many people on Social Media claim to know what a good image is but so many don’t have a clue and just click ‘like’ ! Millions of people cook every day on this planet but how many great chefs are there or how many great photographers ? Makes you think…

I think its a good idea to buy books and invest in some really good coffee table books and have a real good look at some of the amazing images from the Masters, not just a quick peek and then back on Facebook but a real good look. There is so much to learn its unbelievable.

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I think the art of studying and learning is a dying art and people should buy more books and do lots more workshops and courses to help them understand their journey.

I am lucky, I run the workshops so every week get to meet more and more people on my courses who share all their thoughts and feelings with me about Photography and ask me lots and lots of questions. This gives me the opportunity to think more deeply about my own images and the images my workshop attendees produce on my workshops.

I look forward to every workshop session because it really does put the social back in to photography.

I always reinforce the point that on a workshop the chance of getting one great image is very slim, the chance of getting three images is also a very tall ask. The day is more about teaching people to hold and use their camera equipment in a more intuitive way and to learn to see the streets around through different eyes. The so called decisive moment might only happen once a month once a year or if you don’t go out every week it might never happen. The more time you spend out there shooting the more chance the magic will happen, as long as you are looking in the right direction and know what to look for.

How many people have wonky horizons for years and then when they get told about it they start to straighten the image ? Lots and lots, but the point is what else cant they see ?

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If you want to join me on one of my many workshops in 2015/2016 here is a full list.

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/matthew-hart-photography-ltd-6442621859

Candid Street Photography

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !

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