Last Sunday, I took a walk down to Tower Bridge, specifically on the north east side of the bridge to shoot the wonderful sculpture by David Wynn. This piece of art was unveiled around 1973 when I was 9 years old.
This image has a serene quality to it. Dophins are very mystical and it has been well documented how these wonderful creatures have a special affinity with us humans. David Wynn has capture the spirit of our relationship with Dolphins beautifully in his work here.
One of the things I am learning and embracing is how to work a scene. It is easy to take an obvious shot of a famous landmark, however, it is how the photographer interprets the image in his mind before taking the shot that can make or break the composition.
Knowing what to leave out is an important aspect to creating a compelling composition. Leaving out some detail can invite curiosity from the viewer - this can hopefully draw you into the scene looking for something hidden element.
The creation in your mind can be stronger than the final image or a perfect match. If the image is beautiful to begin with, it becomes a mental chess game between the mind of the photographer, the image and the mind of the viewer. In the final analysis, whatever decision you the viewer comes to about the image will be your creation, my job as the photographer is to present you with an opportunity to slow down, speculate, ponder, feel and then express yourself authentically, as the image has done.
Studying Photography is slowly altering my point of view about life, people and myself.
What does it all mean in the long run?
Why do this?
Why perform magic for a living which is my full time career?
Is it possible that there is no "WHY"?
I am beginning to see that taking photographs or performing magic is just the access to a much larger conversation - "My Personal Evolution" as a human being and how my liberation can in fact have a positive impact on others.
Recently, I have enjoyed initiating conversations with total strangers which has led to some wonderful photographs being taken. What I learnt from these interactions is that everyone is hungry for acknowledgement.
The photographer in me feels compelled to say to some, "you have lovely eyes". I said this to a lady yesterday and her face lit up like a Christmas tree. I was in a Coffee shop yesterday and noticed how positive the two ladies were in their being. They appeared to enjoy serving customers, making chit-chat and just being generally happy. When I ordered my coffee, I mentioned to them that I like their "vibe and energy". One of the girls was from Italy, her name is Sara. I told her I am a professional photographer and doing a project on community life in Camden. I asked if she and her colleague would grant me the privilege of taking their photo for my project - they both were happy at the suggestions and granted me a great shot which I hope to post very soon as this was shot using my 35mm Film Camera.
My conversations have impacted my awareness to people from all walks of life. This photo was taken at Camden Market and features a lovely lady from Armenia who sold me the hat I am wearing.
This lady told me she has been at her stall for about 15 years, she seemed very happy with her achievement and I told her just as much. I want to thank her for her generosity in allowing me this photographic opportunity.
In the final analysis, people are open to "friendliness and warm giving generosity". This is how I approach everyone, it doesn't mean I will receive a warm interaction, it just means that my chances are much more in my favour - these are odds I am willing to take a stand for.
The benefit for me is that I no longer feel intimidated by strangers or engaging in Street Photograph, which I love.
I want to thank Eric Kim, a Professional Street Photographer from Los Angeles. I discovered Eric's website and have learnt a lot from his blog and followed some of teachings regarding shooting film and the overall philosophy of the is genre.
The street is a vibrant stage for story telling.
The characters that come out to play are so varied, on a given day, the story they tell will not inspire me to shoot, on the other hand, it might. I have noticed that when I am “empty” with no fixed agenda, the right shot will present itself to me. Being ready for that magic moment is all that is required on my part - I am still learning how I want to approach this.
There are some shots that I feel uncomfortable with, like the homeless and children. A part of me feels they have a right to their privacy, children must be safe at all times and yet they are a perfect subject because they are free and uninhibited in front of the camera.
My style so far is to interact, share myself and my story and ask for the privilege of taking their portrait. This to me is kind and respectful and by giving first, I am more likely to receive.
On the flip side is the notion of stealth mode shooting in the manner of Henri Cartier Bresson - there is an element of this that I like. This is where the benefit of a telephoto lenses come into play. I hate to say this but it smacks of the paparazzi and yet it isn’t because I am not chasing anyone down to get a photograph to sell, this has no class.
For me, I can see the beauty of how the telephoto lens can actually support the beauty of candid shots and reaching parts of a scene that would be broken by my physical intrusion.
In watching Jay Maisel on Kelby 1, he uses a zoom lens and still interacts with people as and when required - this I like. It allows the photographer the freedom to respond in the moment to the situation, people and his internal conversation about what the shot could mean after pressing the shutter.
The creation of the shot as the scene unfolds real time, sometimes a scene may need a cast of characters to make an entrance. All of this is part of the discipline of becoming an artful street photographer, "commitment without attachment" to the outcome.
Recently, I experienced an interesting emotion, indifference with my shooting.
It was an atypical day; the stage was Covent Garden and it was heaving with energy, people. The stage was set and yet, while I took some good shots, I felt no connection to the experience. I couldn't understand my lack of motivation or desire. Some of the shots were fine and yet lacked inspiration. After much thought, I am present to the gift of experiencing the moment before I take my camera in hand. The feeling or desire to shoot a particular subject that I have engaged with is paramount to my success as a photographer .
"I would rather go out empty and not return with a single shot than shoot just for the sake of it".