I’ve now processed my second film. Again it was Ilford fp4. The camera this time was a Trip 35. It worked well for street photography although I found the zone focussing a challenge. I got 38 images on a 36 spool which seems good value too.
Here are a few favourites from the resulting images. They are not the sharpest – that’s probably my fault.
Today I was trying to grab a few shots between giving friends a lift home, working and dinner. Such is the life of a middle aged hobbyist. I look back on my wasted youth with envy. Why didn’t I buy a Leica in my 20s when I could have afforded one (maybe). Why didn’t I take street up phototgraphy when I actually still visited some of the world’s vibrant cities. Not that I’d change anything in the present, I’m glad with where I’ve ended up.
Anyway, I was messing around with Lightroom Presets. I used one that Eric Kim gave away years ago – it mimics fuji velvia 400. Now, I’d normally never crank up the contrast or reduce some of the saturation like this, but I was delighted with the results. This is pretty much the image in my head when I took the photo; the raw file looked nothing like it.
Hats off to Eric Kim for the preset and for giving it away for free. I suppose this shows one of the challenges and opportunies with digital. The raw sensor data gives pretty flat images, so you can shape it in thousands of ways. But you are limited by your imagination and willingness to spend time experimenting. With analogue much more was decided at the start by your film choice.
We recently had a holiday in the north of Scotland. There was not a great deal of street opportunities. But there was plenty of time and space to rediscover the joy of landscape photography.
I sometimes read about street photographers who don’t want to be restricted by the genre. And they’ve got a point. Any photography is good for developing your eye and technique.
Yesterday I saw a horrible scene shared on Facebook. It appeared to show a man in a supermarket bending over with a mobile phone and shooting up the skirt of a woman who was unaware of his actions. The whole disgusting thing was captured on the shop’s cctv. It is right that such behaviour is criminalised.
However, Amateur Photographer magazine are concerned about how a new police approach to combatting the harassment of women will affect genuine street photographers’ freedom to take images of strangers in public.
For more information see the AP article here.
We were in the Western Isles recently on holiday. It’s clearly not the street photography centre of the universe but there are some great opportunities for capturing people on holiday. The image above is of people watching planes land on the Beach at Barra airport. It was amazing to see planes landing on the sand and the sight attracts a crowd.
The cattle shows and Highland games across the Outer Hebrides also provide great chances for photographing people. However having missed these events, most of the photos I took were landscapes. Eg the image below of Castlebay, Barra.
It was actually a nice change to shoot scenery. I suppose ultimately it doesn’t really matter what label you put on an image. The principles are all pretty much the same; lighting, composition and timing. Here’s another couple of favourites.
I’ve heard a couple of street photographers speak about relaxing and enjoying shooting. One was John Free and I think the other was F D Walker in the Shooter Files.
I realised that I’d been putting too much pressure on myself to improve and to try and get great shots. I had stopped enjoying myself on the street. Instead I was walking around grumpy and stressed.
So, I decided to enjoy myself again and to interact with people. I decided to ask or at least engage people before taking their photograph; risking less edgy images but removing tension and potential antagonism.
The result has been interesting. I’ve been much happier and people have seemed to enjoy getting their photograph taken.
These images may be classified as street portraits and may not meet classical street photography criteria. But it has made me happier and perhaps theses subjects.
At a time where there is a lot of gloom and despair around, it has been nice to experience and share some joy.
On a regular basis, I start to doubt the value of street photography. I question whether the effort and anxiety is worth the outcome.
For those moments, here’s a great video (here) of John Free speaking about the discomfort we may feel in street photography and recognising that the goal is a noble thing.