Myself and another photographer Graeme, had arranged to meet up in London for some street photography around the city… within an hour, that plan had changed.
After shooting around Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square warming up and getting the bad shots out of the way. A small group of Yellow Vests began to gather. The call was made to wait & see what was going on, and it was worth the small wait.
Covent Garden & Trafalgar Square
Yellow Vest Protest
The Yellow Vests had a planned protest/march down Whitehall heading to Parliament. What a stroke of luck that was! When we met up in the morning we were talking about, how you never know what you are going to get in London and always a chance of some kind of protest somewhere…
So there it was… Our day changed, and we followed the protest/march all the way to Parliament.
I’ve got a couple of days off of work, and I’m sat here on my own after taking the kids to school… soon to pick them up, and I got thinking… Where do I want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years.
Raise your ambition
I’ve been content on furthering my career as a wedding photographer and working on my personal projects. Today I have been going through one of my Magnum photo books ‘Home’ and it hit me… I’m going to aim high to become a magnum photographer! Go ahead and laugh your trousers off, but i think you need to set a high ambition to work towards. I love documenting life, so it made complete sense to set this as one of my targets and to be featured in one of their books in the future!
I’m perfectly aware that there are going to be many steps on the road for me to take, and I’m willing and able to do this. As great as the destination will be, the journey is where we learn.
The book mentioned above I have most likely mentioned before, but it resonates with me dearly as, I have been working on my ‘Home’ project for going on 8 years. No one will have an interest in my family/home life but I think a lot of people will be able to relate in one way or another. I might make a small limited run of zines and see how people react?
Set Your Bar High
What are your ambitions? Where do you want to be and what do you want to achieve? Think about this and aim higher!
Leave a comment or send me an email, I’d love to hear from you!
The main reason that I deleted my Instagram account, was because I found it had become too much of a distraction.
I realised this when I checked my activity on the app, and I was shocked to see that I spent on average, 90 minutes per day! Let me tell you now that I sure as hell didn’t spend 90 minutes uploading images trying to market my business, so what was I doing?
I would say that 99% of those 90 minutes, was just scrolling through a lot of shit! And it sounds harsh to say but 99% of what is on there, is just that… Knowing the amount of time wasted, which equated to around 23 entire days a year! I knew I had to do something about it.
I thought to myself, that if I was to spend 90 minutes a day, focusing on my business, networking, marketing. Then that would be far more beneficial than looking at pictures that mean nothing what so ever to me.
So that is exactly what I did. I put a story up on Instagram for anyone who cares that is 24 hours I’ll be deleting my account for good… And out of my 1000 followers or so that I had, only 1 person reached out to find the reason why I was deleting it.
24 hours later and 5 days ago at the time of writing this post. It has gone!
How does it feel, now its gone?
I have not missed Instagram at all! It feels like a weight has been lifted, now that I don’t have to meet any expectations if there were any. I have since decided to write x2 blog posts per week, better use of the free time. Spend more time actually doing something rather than scrolling through my phone. My blog is my space to get my opinions out there on a platform where it will remain and be visible to those who follow my blog. Not get lost in the millions on pictures that get uploaded to Insta every minute.
I feel free again… I feel unrestricted!
How do you feel about Instagram?
If you have similar feelings about Instagram or any other social media platform, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or send me an email!
A home is not a brick and mortar structure with solid foundations. My home, is where my heart is. Where my family are. Be it on a beach in the beautiful Cornwall, or a country park in Berkshire.
A home should not be defined by a house. A home should be a place where you feel happy and at ease.
My Family and I, are at our happiest when we are by the coast. I’ve always said I feel most at home by the coast. Witnessing our children play in the sand, throw stones out to sea… Having all of the fun I had when I was growing up, on family trips to Hastings or Bournemouth.
It brings back fond memories, that I hope they will carry with them too as they grow older.
One day, we will be living on the beach pictured above in Cornwall.
Perranporth captured our hearts 2 years ago, and I can see us living a carefree life on the beach enjoying all it has to offer.
How do you find Instagram? Do you find it beneficial to your photography? Do you find new business through it?
I write this because I am about to delete my profile and leave it behind me. Since the ‘New Algorithm’ I Instagram is shit and I realize its not the place for me to show my work.
Photo’s that this time last year would have got a good 100+ likes, not only get 20 at a push! Now I don’t think it is all about the likes at all, but their algorithm is deciding weather your content is good enough to reach more people? Of course I understand that Instagram/Facebook is a business and they need to make money, but as a photographer who values real opinions on my work… Not a comment saying - “This is Great, maybe check my work and follow” after having not liked said picture that is great and haven’t followed me? This drives me crazy.
Instagram is a marketing platform at the end of the day. But I miss the days of everyone having a chance to see your work and not a computer algorithm deciding your worth…. Which moves me on to my main point.
Metrics and numbers on any ‘Social Media’ platform, do not and never will determine how good you are as a photographer or your self worth.
Platforms like Instagram can really have a profound effect on one’s mental health. I don’t think it has mine, but I don’t want to let it get to that point. I need clarity in my life and not an app determine who see’s my work.
Anyway, rant over!
If Instagram works for you, that’s great and wish you all the best on it.
If not….. Then maybe consider if its worth the time invested in it.
I wanted to write this post on why I think travelling for street photography is a good thing to do. Last weekend I headed up to Henley-On-Thames to shoot some street photography with a friend.
It was my first time visiting and Henley, and a great visit it was! By chance the sun came out and made the day all the better. Henley is a beautiful little town, has a great deal of History and was a lovely place to shoot.
When I go to a new place to shoot, I always find a huge amount of inspiration from the new surroundings… I shoot in Windsor frequently and after a while, it gets boring and I more often or not feel uninspired to raise my camera. That’s not to say there aren’t interesting things to shoot, but having the inspiration and want to shoot really plays a part.
New places open your eyes to new pictures, scenes and people…. Mind goes in to overdrive and the camera is clicking the whole time there.
If you have the chance to travel to a new City, Town or village… Do it! You might see how a new location inspires you to shoot more!
This is a topic/conversation that has been discussed for decades. And in the age of the internet everyone can give their view on it.
I want to share a few ways to shoot street photography for those who are interested in it but never really gone out with the intention to shoot street.
How do you define street photography?
A photograph of people on a street? A photograph taken in a public space? A photograph of a person without permission asked? A photograph of a building? The possibilities are endless and I think the term Street Photography has a very broad meaning.
To me it means candid photography taken in public/private places of people/environment. Me saying this could really cause a debate with purists but how can it really be definitively defined?
Photographers like Garry Winogrand really paved the way to what we know street photography to be today. To document the Human condition.
Above are three images I have taken this year. They aren’t special or amazing but they are three pictures I would say fall into ‘My’ definition of street photography.
- The 1st image is in public, with people, and taken without the permission of anyone.
- The 2nd image is a field, man made object, my shadow. Most will say its a landscape picture but for me its showing the effects of humans on the landscape.
- 3rd image is an apron. Its in public, no people… Given what is on the apron and how the store owner decided to put the wedding photographs of a royal wedding shows how the times have changed. If it were 60 years ago, maybe even less. An apron like this would never be put side by side with pictures of royals. So for me its a documentation on the change in humans and what is socially acceptable.
Regardless of the lack of people in x2 of the above pictures, they all show proof of humanity in one form or another.
Some street photographers often didn’t like the term “Street Photographer” and would have preferred to just be a photographer.
I wouldn’t call myself a street photographer, I rather say I’m a documentary photographer. I consider every picture I’ve made to be a documentation of my life and of the world I live. Weather its on the street or not!
Don’t pay too much attention to the definitions to be honest. Shoot what you want to shoot and be happy with what you are doing.
Are you just starting out with street/documentary photography?
Here are some personal pointers to get you started..
Shoot what interests you
Shoot with focal lengths from 28mm - 50mm. There are no rules to say you can’t shoot with an 85mm or more but the best pictures are shot closer and therefore make you viewer feel more connected. My preferred focal length is 35mm (and 50mm from time to time)
No ‘BOKEH’ as they say. Shoot at apertures of F8 up. The more in focus, the better the composition/story.
Don’t worry about being all Bruce Gilden, his style is very unique and challenging to accomplish.
Don’t be too concerned about the gear/camera, if it does the job and makes your photography enjoyable, crack on!
Find inspiration and learn from the masters
Work on personal projects, they really help define your style of shooting
Take a look at Eric Kim’s blog, some really great information on the whole topic of street photography.
Have fun with it!
There are a lot of resources on line regarding street photography. It is a real hard discipline to master but it is well worth taking the time to learn and practice!
Almost 2 years ago I wrote a blog post about photography project ideas (Post here). In this post I went over a few projects that I am working on.
2 of the 3 I am still dedicated to, and 1 of those 2 happens every day. My ‘Home’ project
The project has been going for at least 7 years and I’ve spoken to friends regarding this and what I want to achieve with it. For me this is a very personal project that is not likely to see the light of day in form of a book or zine. I’m not going to say it won’t happen, but I can’t see other people taking an interest in my family. One thing it has taught me over the years, is the style I shoot. It has taken a long time to realize, but I think I can finally see it coming through.
Off of the back of my Home project, it has started a mini project of its own, documenting my wife Kim. I would say it is a more personal/intimate documentation of her in our Home. This side project I could see one day running a limited print of zines, but I may have to beg for her permission on that one…
As always, my projects will continue and I think I’ll be working more on the project of my Wife. She isn’t too keen on it but what do you do? Keep shooting!
I’d love to hear about your projects you’re working on! Let me know in the comments!
Another week has gone and another set of photo’s to share with you all. I’ve been shooting a lot more street photography of late, still don’t see a style as such but I’m shooting a lot more freely. Not worried about impressing others, I’m just shooting what I like and I’m good with that!