Change of direction?

Today I am reduced to posting the kind of image that inspires within me self loathing; a hipsteresque image of coffee and my camera (the only thing I despise more is the horrible ice cream glass some chains insist on for lattes).

I lost my bottle. I tried to take an image of a guy on a BMX, lost confidence so asked, and was told to beat it (in more colourful language).

I should have carried on shooting elsewhere, but instead gave up for a while. The reality is there is very little conflict in street photography. Yet, when it happens, it makes me want to give up. I listen to John Free tell me that street photography is a noble endeavour. But sometimes it seems to be perceived as less than honourable.

It is a fairly mainstream activity. Today I listened to part of the fascinating story of Vanley Burke documenting the experience of the African-Caribbean community in England. This was a Radio 4 programme. Hardly an underground or especially edgy source. The story told the response of some of his subjects discovering his candid shots. In the main they sounded ok with it and some sounded pleased.

However, with some of the present anxiety over GDPR (which will hopefully turn out to be unwarranted) and the potential for conflict, I wonder if it’s time for a change of direction.  Or at least until I get my bottle back.

In these circumstances I enjoy doing something different. For example, occassionally I get the opportunity to photograph events. It gives me the chance to plug in the flash and take some non-candid shots and portraits. I find that mft cameras can generally deal well enough with the light conditions and my little Nissin i40 flash does a brilliant job with the problem situations.

Photography & Mental Health

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There’s an interesting article in the most recent Amatuer Photographer magazine on photography and mental health (‘Photography saved my life‘ Saturday 24th Feb 2018). It discusses the benefits of photography for those with anxiety and depression.

It has certainly been my experience that photography often helps to create calm and peace when anxious thoughts are spiralling.  As the article mentions, there are also opportunities for photographers to put too much pressure on themselves and I have occasionally found this with unfruitful attempts at street photography.

But normally, time spent walking and observing; looking for interesting shots, people or places, is therapeutic. The requisite focus, singlemindedness and awareness of your surroundings, can be a great remedy to anxiety or excessive introspection.