John Hughes and I've been photographing since I was 12 years old (now in my 40's) and I have a real love for it. In the 1980's I started learning photography and I quickly found a real love for this. But it wasn't until my photography teacher, A Mr Littlewood introduced me to book called Subway by the American photographer Bruce Davidson.
Wow, where has that year gone, I can remember writing my first blog and thinking well nobody is going to read this, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how well the blog was received. I was honoured that my blog was awarded a spot in the top 75 street photography blogs on Feedspot and to have my blogs printed in Eye Photo Magazine, I feel honoured with both of these moments.
I started the blog so that I had a place to showcase my best of the best street photos, I don’t really enjoy social media that much and if I’m honest I don’t know how to use it properly (yes I’m old), so having my own website and blog just made it easier for me to post photos.
I like to think of my blog as a diary of my photographic journey on the streets of Cambridge and London. I’ve spent the past few days going back and reading my blog’s from the past year and seeing my photos, this I feel helps me progress and push myself as a street photographer.
I have to be honest and say that I really didn’t see this blog lasting more than a month. I was concerned that the blog would become a chore and get in the way of my photography. Instead, I have found it a real joy to write and far from being a bind, it enthuses me to hit the streets with my camera hunting for material for my next blog.
I have been really surprised by the number of people that visit it and I want to first thank everyone that takes the time to read my blog, it’s a real honour for me to know that so many of you take the time to visit my website and to comment on my blog posts.
I hope that my writing has improved through the year (not sure it has lol) I do enjoy writing the blogs and I will continue through this coming year, the blog has helped me focus on my photographic projects like London Cabbies and I find it a great place to showcase my photos as it helps to provide Context... rather than splashing images on social media. In this way, the viewer is privy to more detailed information, such as my motivation for the project, weather and lighting conditions and of course the all-important story behind the content. As with everything in life that's worthwhile, it involves a journey and a lot of hard work. This blog requires that I go out and shoot regularly and think about the content that I'm putting out there. It is still early days, but one year on I do not see my passion for either the blog or my photography waining.
I urge you to go and there and follow your passion, like with the blog you may stumble across it or you have been putting your passion on hold until the time is right, I would say don't wait and enjoy it.
Finding a nice spot to write my blog isn’t easy, for some strange reason I’ve never liked writing at home, I can’t really explain why this is. So for the past 12 months I’ve been going to my local Starbucks, a cup of coffee and good inspiring music all of which helps with my writing and I can get inspiration from just sitting there looking out the window and watching people go about their day to day life.
For the past 2 year’s as I’ve been walking into town I’ve been passing a coffee house called Guat’s up, the place looked like a cool spot for relaxing but for some reason I’ve never ventured in, was this was because I didn’t think I would feel welcome or maybe I had become so used to Starbucks that I felt out of control of my legs and they would just be on autopilot and follow my normal path to my usual destination, the staff in Starbucks have always made me feel welcome, but it’s becoming to busy.
This pasted Thursday on my way home I decided to pop into Guat’s Up for a coffee and wow I was not expecting what I got. The coffee house is nice, open and light, I was welcomed within minutes of walking through the door, the staff made me feel like I’d been coming in for years, it felt so comfortable and welcoming, I was sure I had just found my new home for relaxing and writing my blogs. I didn’t know what to order, there is a great choice of coffee’s, Tea’s, Beer etc (Beer I need beer sometimes) and the food wow the food. There is a great choice of freshly made Vegan, Gluten-free and of course normal food and it all looks lovely.
I chose the filter coffee (black), this was the best filter coffee I’ve ever had (Butterworth & son), the flavour’s exploded in my mouth, this was when I knew I had found the perfect place to relax and write my blogs. The music they play (not too loud, which is nice) is also cool, lot’s of music from the 1980’s.
The following Saturday me and the wife popped in for coffee and I was lucky enough to have met Carl (the Manager), he was taking a photo for the Instagram page they have and I offered my services. I asked if he would mind me taking a few photos of the staff going about their day, he was more than happy for me to do this. I spent the next few hours taking photos and editing them for him.
I really have found the perfect place and for the first time in the last 11 years, I’m happy to be living in Bury St Edmunds. If you visit the town you must, you must try the wonderful coffee and food at Guat’s Up.
What a bank holiday weekend I've just had, the hottest early May bank holiday on record. Street photography and great weather make the perfect couple, I just wish we had more of the latter here in the UK.
I spent the weekend outside making the most of the sunlight, I can't being to tell you how awesome it made me feel. Having great weather with good light really does help with my street photography. I spent Saturday in London walking along the canal with Christian Cross, man that was so relaxing. This has been the first time in months that I and Christian had been out shooting together. I then spent Sunday resting with the family, with a short walk into town. Bank holiday Monday was spent in Cambridge with my wife, son and two friends Joe and her son Storm, we had lunch by the river and spent the day relaxing on the streets of this wonderful city, Cambridge never disappoints.
Amazing 3 days, the best I've had in months, it’s great how 3 great days can get me excited for street photography again.
I would like to talk about how my passion for street photography keeps me going through the good and bad times and how having a passion can help relax you when everything around us is falling apart. So please grab a coffee and follow me while I chat about this.
In the past 2 years I’ve had some serious health problems and with those problems I’ve had the added worry that comes with them, people have very different ways of dealing with the everyday problems they have and for me its street photography. It doesn’t matter how busy the streets are I find being out on them with my camera relaxing, I can slow down and breath easy I don’t even have to walk far, I might just find a nice spot of light where I can lean against a wall and stay there for hours watching and waiting for that decisive moment that us street photographers hunt for. I know it sounds crazy but having my camera in my hand its like there's a brick wall between me and the world.
I feel separated from whats going on around me and this really helps me relax and forget about all my problems. I would be truly lost without street photography and more than likely I would be dead by now, so I’m very thankful I have this wonderful passion in my life. My passion has helped me connect with some truly wonderful people that I’m able to give my support to and in return, I get support from them. I’m a very different person if I don’t have my camera with me, I can end up getting angry and frustrated with inanimate objects and the people around me.
The trouble is I can get so relaxed and focused on my street photography that I forget to eat or drink and in some cases, I’ve ended up collapsing, which of course isn’t good, I hate hospitals and that's where I end up, I just don’t notice the chest pains, headaches etc before it's too late. I love being on the streets of London and Cambridge, but as I live in Suffolk the travel can end up causing me more problems, it can take a week (or more) to recover from a trip out, (well at least I have time to go through the photos). When traveling on the train or coach to Cambridge or London I need to time to recover once I’ve arrived, as the travel can make feel sick or be sick, so I’ll head to a coffee house grab a drink put my headphones on and close my eyes for half hour, sounds mad as I’ve been sitting down on the train etc, but nothing is moving in the coffee house so I don’t get dizzy or sick.
I’m sure the reason I find street photography relaxing is there's no pressure, I’m taking photos for me and it doesn’t matter if I have a good or bad day. Plus with street photography I can head out anytime day or night, it's not like landscape or wildlife photography, it can be sunny, raining, snowing etc and I can still have a great experience shooting, of course, the better the weather the better I end up feeling.
I’m a very different street photographer from just a few years ago, back then I would walk for miles and at high speed, I wouldn’t stop until I got home, so having health problems has helped me with my street photography.
There's a misconception about street photographers, people think we only look for the bad on the streets and that for me this isn’t true, I’m always looking for the tender moments between people in love or the kindness of strangers, I feel these moments make for better street photo and in turn this can help me feel better not only in myself, but it can give me faith in the world.
The only thing that would make my day even more relaxing would be if I lived in London or Cambridge, just taking the travel out of the day would make it perfect for me and better for my health, still, I can’t have everything. I have started to do a bit of street photography in my hometown, but if you’ve read my blog called “my hometown” you’ll know how much I hate that. But sometimes my health just won’t allow me to travel which sucks.
The other thing with street photography is the gear I have to carry, it’s now just a camera and lens I don’t need anything more. I have a small bag which has some spare batteries, SD cards my phone and iPad Pro (I only take this if I’m going to London). I really don’t need or want anything more. I’ve even changed my camera to something lighter (Fujifilm’s X-E3), anything that can help me I try to do, there's not much difference in the weight between my new camera and my X-T2, but it all helps.
My change in health has made me change my style of street photography, with all these problems you might have thought I would just give up, however, the opposite is true. I have found a new lease of life with my passion and this more than anything else is keeping focused and in control. On days when I can’t get out with my camera, I spend my time going through photos and of course writing my blogs, my photos will also give me ideas for my blogs and future projects.
Keep focused on your passion and don’t let life get in the way, until next time.
A few days ago I started looking through some of my old photos and I've been finding photos that I had dismissed or forgotten about, of course I’m also finding photos that I really liked, but now I just don’t see why. I know this comes down to me growing as a photographer and going back through my old photos helps me focus on moving forward.
However one of the biggest problems I’m finding with the photos is the edits I was using, I hated the way I was editing my photos, for my monochrome I would wash out the blacks and with my color photos, I would try to make them look cinematic.
Both of these edits just don't work for me anymore and I have no idea what I was thinking at the time.
Now I just use The Fujifilm presets (Acros R and Classic Chrome) with maybe a bit of play with highlights and contrast, but most of the time I use the JPG's straight out of camera.
Over the past few weeks, while the weather has been awful, I’ve been editing my old photos. Yes, I know this is time-consuming, but it helps me move forward.
I have a question, do you ever revisit your old photos and do you ever rethink your edits?
Below is a small selection of photos that I’ve edited again, most of the photos I’ve never posted before, Enjoy
My street photography is starting to change and this I feel is because of Fujifilm’s 23mm F2 lens, I’ve never been a fan of any focal length apart from 50mm or around the 75mm. I feel the 35mm focal length (35mm is the true focal length of the 23mm lens) is allowing me to use the light to create the best photos, it is also allowing me to get the whole scene into the photo, which in turn helps me tell a story. Don’t get me wrong I still love using my 56mm lens and that will never change, however, I now know how to best use both the 23 and 56 lenses. I will use the 23mm when the sun or even the artificial light is perfect and I’ll mostly use the 56mm at night or when there is very little light.
Having the 23mm lens on the camera is also allowing to work a scene easier than the 56mm would. So I find myself looking for the light and good framing and I will then spend an hour waiting in this one spot for the perfect photo (which never happens, well ok sometimes it does). This, in turn, has also helped me slow down and it’s also helping me get better framing in my photos, like the one below:
When I travel to Cambridge and London and there's no light, I find myself walking around looking for good spots which I come back to when the light is perfect. This way I’m not running around looking for somewhere and wasting good light. Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t need good to light to work a scene, the photo below shows this:
Both I and Christian spent over an hour in this one spot just waiting for the right person to come into the frame and that's what working a scene is for me. Find somewhere frame up and wait, most of the time nothing happens, but when everything comes together, you know it was time well spent.
I thought it might be interesting for people to see what it takes to capture that one great photo, so below I’ve added a digital contact sheet if you will and you can see all the photos taken before capturing that one great photo.
The following photos are from when I've been working a scene
This day was the day that started my passion for Fujifilm’s X-E3 and the 23mm focal length. I wrote the blog just after going to Cambridge with the camera and I’ve been sitting on it. The reason why, I was still thinking about buying the X-E3 which I have now done. Enjoy the blog and photos……
A few weeks ago I was in Cambridge trying out Fujifilm’s new X-E3 with the 23mm lens, the sun was shining and I was photographing everyone, trying to capture every moment, not easy to do, but I was having fun with this amazing camera.
Not really sure of what I was trying to capture or what wanted to capture, this happens to me sometimes and I end up getting lots of up close and personal photos of people going about their day. This time round I was able to get more of the surrounds into the photos, this is why the 23mm is a great lens to work with.
Looking though these photos and l’m seeing lots of what I would call traditional street photography, I love the look of the photos I captured on this day with this very different focal length and camera.
This is Just a quick blog to showcase the photos from my day in Cambridge with the X-E3.
Fujifilm UK sent me an X-E3 to try a while back and I fell in love with the camera within minutes of getting it. Now at the time I had the camera from Fuji, I thought about trading in my X-T2 for one, I even sent it to MPB to sell, but I just couldn’t do it.
The thing is I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the X-E3, I only had the camera for just over 2 weeks but I bonded with it more than any other camera I’ve owned or used. I’ve been thinking about buying to two of them, putting the 23mm on one and 56mm on the second one, this would be perfect for me.
So today I was chatting with a friend of mine who works for my local Jessops and he was telling me that I could get a good trade-in price for my X-T2. I should point out that I bought my X-T2 last year from LCE for the bargain price of £999, the camera was mint and I don’t think it had ever been used, Jessops was offering me £986 for it, which let's be honest is a damn good price for trading in the camera.
The thought was I could get the X-E3 and 23mm F2 lens for that price, but would I miss my
X-T2, this was the big question. I went and sat in Starbucks having a good hard think about all the things I liked about my X-T2 and then all the things I liked about the X-E3. I even phoned my friend Tom (you know using one of my lifelines) for advice and he said go for it.
I know I’m going to miss the tilt screen (god how I wish the X-E3 had that) but I do believe this is something I could get used to, after all the film cameras I’ve used didn’t have tilt screens.
I also loved the size and light weight of the camera, there were more pros than cons for getting the X-E3.
Anyway, after thinking about it I decided to make the jump and to get a black X-E3 and I guess only time will tell if I’ve done the right thing which I’m 99% sure I have.