Saturday, 23 February 2013

Photographing people in the street, is it easy?

I set myself a task to get better at photographing people in the street. 

That is an area I like and I want to get better at as I like observing what people do, how they dress, how they behave and interact. But of course as fascinating it can be it is also quite difficult. What I worry the most about is people's first reaction, whether they want their picture taken and whether they will interact with me to say 'please delete' or whether they will turn away. What happens most times is people turn away to avoid being photographed. So the type of images I kept shooting were 'stolen' images which were not very well framed, or were taken in a hurry or didn't have any expressions in them. 

So I decided to change that and started asking people if I could take their picture. Here are some of these photos. 

I was looking at this man as he was laying asphalt on one of the back streets near St Pancreas. After I asked to take his picture he said yes. He asked what was it for and I said for my blog, which he seemed ok with.  

Another similar occasion and the man was happy to pose, and as you can see he is really posing while the ladies are busy chatting. 

This young chap was happy to pose as long as I could help him find a girlfriend - anyone interested let me know?? 

Here it was the youngster on the left that asked 'miss can you take our picture' as he saw me walking around with my camera. I was happy - for once it was someone else asking me to do it!

And a few images in the tube. 

These photos work with my son as well as he is obsessed with trains and when he sees these he goes 'tchu tchu coming'. 

Practicing photography (4) - People I see everyday

This is a short post about a picture, the picture of a regular person I see everyday on my way to work. This picture will be part of  'project 52' which is about publishing a photo every week with a story. Photomonthly magazine are inviting people to take part in this project and they will be reviewing photos from April for a year until April next year and will select winners.

So here is my first entry for project52. 

Living in a big metropolis is often synonymous with busy and hectic lives where people don't have the time to stop. Although that is true it is also true that despite the fast-paced lives people like to connect and perform what is a basic human need. 

Almost everyday on my way to work I walk by a fruit stand by the tube entrance where a nice man chats to people - 'morning love', 'hello princess', 'hi mate' - and sells fruits and some veg. He is not the farmer that grows them in his garden, of course he is the seller who buys the products in a bigger wholesale market and sells them to us, little people populating the trains, streets and office buildings. And we know these fruits come from other countries as far as Spain, Israel or Ecuador. But he is nice and chatty and I like him. He is a regular on my way to work and I appreciate that I can see a few familiar faces everyday as opposed to the constant flow of people I have never seen before.

So I decided to take his picture one day, break the ice and ask him if he wanted to pose for me. And he said yes.

He was pleased and a bit shy which made the experience of taking his photo quite amusing.

More photos will follow for this project. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Practicing photography (3) - Brixton Market

Brixton has always been attractive for many reasons, the market, musical venues (Brixton Academy), its history, the blend of different cultures and the way it has changed. For me it is a place with a lot of interest but also somewhere I walk to every day after dropping the little one off in the morning. I catch the tube in Brixton station and I have to say it is much better than the Northern Line, more space and more trains. 

A website with info and old photos from Brixton tells me more about the market, the lifeblood of Brixton. The main bit of the market is on Electric Avenue which was the first shopping street to be lit by electricity. It used to be a high end shopping street for I would guess wealthy Edwardians and Victorians. It is quite different these days, being a fresh-produce market with music and clothes, displaying bright colours and a range of varied foods reflecting Brixton's multiethnic population. You can find fresh as well as dried fish (which I need to learn how to cook), thai pastes such as tom yum, jerk seasoning, jamaican patties, argentinian empanadas and all types of fruits and vegetables.  
One of the alleyways on Reliance Arcade. You can buy freshly made popcorn at the top of the arcade, a temptation every time I walk past in the evening.

The main part of the market on Electric Avenue.

This is the same avenue c.1912 - courtesy of urban75 (Lambeth archives).
I love this colourful, thick leggins! 
Fresh and nicely displayed fish. 
Yam, plantane bananas,  squash and other vegetables. 
Fresh meat and a man that accepted to pose for me.  I should have been closer and not include the fridge bar that cuts through the image (next time...) 
Another arcade on Market Row. Many new bars and restaurants open here as this is becoming a trendy place. At the end of the Arcade at Franco Manca pizzeria, you can eat delicious pizzas with a very fine crust. 
The same arcade in the 1960s - love the pram and tricycles. 
Another new and trendy place to eat with a very 'literary' name - Bukowski. 
A special focus on peppers for their colours and taste. We have been using them quite a bit recently for an Albanian dish - stuffed peppers. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Practicing photography (2) - Summertime at Southbank

Summer  2012 is long gone but  I haven't made use of some of the pictures I took back then (apart from looking at them from time to time). So this is to revisit and share some of them. They were taken during the photography course I did from March to July when I was practicing some of the learning. In particular I was playing with depth of field and the effects you can get when focusing on different points. I like taking pictures of people but I am quite intimidated and worry they might react to me taking pictures, so I don't go very near. 

Ah and if you don't remember that there was a summer last summer (?) there were a few days with high temperatures here and there, and this is one of them. 

This is opposite the London Eye, some of it can be seen in the background, a section of the wheel. I wanted to focus on the grass floating moved by a summary breeze.  The people in the background go along their lives or enjoy their visit in London.  

This is outside the Royal Festival Hall in Southbank. People making the most of the sun and relaxing in this 'artificial' garden, while overlooking the thames and streams of tourists. 

This is on the terrace of the Festival Hall, buzzing with people This is around 4.30 pm in the afternoon and people are enjoying an after work drink. I like the yellow background behind these two girls, it gives the picture a Mediterranean look. Although photographers say a bright day with lots of sun is not great for pictures because of the shades.  

Everyone has got their own agendas even in a hot day. There was a poetry festival during that week in the Festival Hall and this group was manifesting for freedom of speech as part of that. 

I like this picture as it shows the different elements of people lives going on at the same time. A girl singing, a man having a rest and enjoying the music, and a couple posing with the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben in the background (yes they are behind). I also like the look of the singer. 

Thirsty people quenching their thirst and producing a lot of noise. This place sounds like a giant bee hive when it is full of people. 

This is the photography group on the day we did 'shoot on location'. I like this expression, it sounds like something professional photographers do. 

If you have any comments/views on the pictures please let me know, that will help me improve.