Street Photography and Confidence

Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as (parklife).

Blur, Parklife

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Back of an AutoRickshaw/ Bangalore

Confidence is high when I am taking photos. There are technical aspects still being messed up, but practice helps. Street Portraits are something I am increasingly confident taking, although it is not a genre I wish to overly dominate my photography. Study time has been allocated to minimising clutter within the frame and this has really helped when out taking photographs (although you would not think it from the picture below!). Efforts definatelly pay off in terms of confidence! Layering my photos is a current focus for my photography  – my confidence is not high with this, but I know practice will lead to better work.

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A recent example of a layered photo, a technique I am working on. There are some technical flaws. However, I do like the overall ‘look’ of the photo, which was processed to simulate Kodachrome Film.

The next stage is processing. Here I am coming to accept I will always develop some photos in colour and some in black and white. Different images lend themselves to different techniques. Secondly, many great photographers claim they hardly use Lightroom or Photoshop, it sounds cool to state the shot looks great, ‘straight out the camera’. However, I shoot RAW and play with my photos A LOT, believing that processing is an important stage in creating art (and yes, Street Photography is art). My confidence behind a computer is less than when I have my camera in-hand. Again, I can see how engaging with regular practice post-processing will lead to better photographs.

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I love colour, but sometimes B+W just looks fantastic. It can also be a much more of a commercial look.

The final stage is publishing. Here my confidence drops. Photos get posted and sometimes they fly, and sometimes they sink like a stone. This does affect my confidence, although I know it should not. Many photographers claim not to care how many ‘likes’ their photos get, but I wonder how many of these claims are false?

I believe that confidence and insecurities are important traits in driving us to create better work. My current goal is to print out more photos, and who knows, maybe sell a few. Seeing your photos in print is a great way to boost confidence. I also have a new home with large blank whitewashed walls to hang pictures on. Now, black and white would look great on my walls. However, I do like colour…. I am confident that either choice will look great!

Have fun and Keep Clicking,  Chris

 

 

 

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Street Photography in a new Location.

Street Photography in India.

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Street Portraiture is going to be an ongoing focus for my photography. 

Sorry blog – you have been neglected and it is hard to write after being away so long. However, I now find myself in India. India is a country that has been captured by some of the greatest photographers ever and held the cover of numerous National Geographic publications. While struggling to get back into the swing of blogging, the idea of capturing photos from this diverse country is even more of a challenge. Maybe this will resonate with others who find themselves jolted out of their comfort zone and finding themselves somewhere new.

In China I had found my niche, as Shanghai rollercoastered towards modernisation I focused on covering the disappearing alleyways and streets of Shanghai. Here I am a little lost, and find myself wondering how to capture a country that has been photographed by the likes of Steve McCurry and Ian Berry. It was with this in mind that I started writing this post, concerned I would be just another White guy sharing his POV on this wonderful country (which to be honest, I will be!). However, if you google ‘India’ and ‘photography’ it becomes clear that searching the past for inspiration is far from necessary. India has some extremely talented photographers who I can learn from and today I have been looking at the work of Sohrab Hura, a talented artist nominated for Magnum photography – go google his work and be inspired.

India is a country full of opportunity. Not just for taking photos, but also for learning. At the moment I am a little lost and unsure of my focus. Should it be poverty, the Muslim population, festivals, inner city dwellings or slums on the outskirts of town? Read on…

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With strong black and white themes, Islam can be a focus for photos, but is there something deeper to be explored here?

Sometimes the answer when seeking inspiration is to learn more. For now my focus is to meet up, hook up and explore the diverse and talented local photography scene. It is most defiantly a time to purchase new shoes and to get out there and explore. Who knows, if you are struggling to find a niche, maybe it is time to take a step back, look at what others are doing and take some time to learn?

Keep clicking,

Chris

The Photo Essay…

Ho hum, the long summer holiday is over. It was fantastic and involved beaches, pools and cocktails. It also featured photography (of course) and during the holiday I undertook an Arcanum Challenge, set by Glenn Guy, the travel photography Guru. This challenge required:

  • An establishing Shot
  • A people shot
  • An environmental portrait
  • Movement
  • A close up.
  • A closing shot.

My photo essay us now complete. It focused on the grungier side of Thailand, in Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok. As always, hit us up and let me know what you think…

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An establishing shot.

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A People Shot

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The Environmental Portrait

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Movement

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The Closing Shot.

There you have it, a photo essay. I have now left China and am in India, a land of wonderful photographic opportunities (and new challenges). Recently I have been working on my portraiture. Watch this space!

Keep Clicking, Chris

 

 

Street Photography: Getting Busted…

If you are the person in this picture, then this blog post is for you. For anyone else here is a short story of what happens when you are busted taking candid photos!

pagespics (3 of 3)Fortunately before this photo was taken I did manage to grab a couple of candid shots! This one is my favourite.

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Candid photos are at the heart of Street Photography and people who look interesting are always worth a photo. When you are caught taking candid photos most people do not mind, although in the past, I have been asked to delete a photo I have taken. These particular photos I could not instantly share as I was shooting film. If this photo is you, I passed you my web address. Thank you!

Photographing Children

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Kids, apples, contrasting colours. What’s not too like?

This is of a group of kids, playing in a park as their parents looked on. I am guessing school was out for the day. I had wondered into the park as I was initially interested in a couple of old people sitting in the bench. In China, parks are great for getting pictures of people practicing their Tai Chi, dancing, or even sword play (try doing that on Hyde Park corner without being shot). Naturally parks are also a place where children play.

Being able to take photographs of children has been a special part of my time in Shanghai. Can you imagine doing this in London or anywhere else in Europe? You would quickly be chased away, and in some cases, I suspect arrested. After taking this photo I noticed the parent (or grandparent) watching me, I nodded, smiled and showed the photo. There was no suspicion, or animosity.  On my walks around Shanghai, photographing children has been a way that will open up a family to the possibility of being photographed. The child is the centre of the family and most parents are happy, or even encourage you to take photos.

In the West, we read about curtailed freedoms in China (some of which are fair points!). However, as a photographer I have had the freedom to photograph children in parks, I can set my tripod up in the middle of major cities and I can wonder around dark back alleys, seeking grungy scenes to capture and rarely feel concerned for my safety. I wonder how many other countries will allow that freedom?

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Girl in Park.

10 Things Eric Kim has Taught Me About Street Photography.

Furry Hood Girl

Taken on the Ricoh Grii. Eric Kim is one of many fans of this excellent small camera.

Blogging is important – so here it is. I use WordPress and also use Smugmug (although my Smugmug is in dire need of being updated, I’m too embarrassed to even leave the link here!).

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Include a famous person’s name in your blog post. Hopefully when someone searches for ‘Eric Kim’ and ‘Street Photography’, up will come ‘Pagespics’. If you find me when searching for Eric Kim, please tell me. Cheeky, I know.

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Give stuff away for free. OK, I’m going to start a free Ebook section – which you can view here. Have a look and download my first published book.

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Be expensive. This is where it starts making sense as I don’t even have an option to purchase prints on my site. This is another area to work on.

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OK, I know my f-stop from my aperture and can focus in 110 different ways. Maybe it is time to start tours? Also, I know some cool spots in Shanghai. Hit me up if you want a tour, or come for a day’s photography workshop. Prices start at 500RMB for a tour and a talk! If you are coming from abroad, also hit me up. I can help. Be quick – I’m not here much longer.

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The Ricoh Gr is very cool. Eric Kim is so right about this. It has a great big sensor in a small camera that fits in your pocket. It is also built like a mini brick.

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Vlogging. This was a new year’s resolution that I have still not made. So much to do, so little time. My new Olympus has a flippy screen, so now I have no excuse.

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Content matters. I MUST BLOG MORE….

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I learned a lot on simplifying my photography with the help of Wes Hardaker. Now simplification must further enter my world, I really believe photography can be a metaphor for life. A few simple elements in a frame makes a great shot, while too much clutter spoils a photo.

Man on Building

Keep it simple. Include a few elements and uncluttered background.

 

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We can succeed and make money from Street Photography, and need to promote ourselves. This is something I struggle with. Would I leave my day job for photography? Not for a while as I have just signed a 2-year contract for a school in Bangalore, India. Moving to India is going to be a dream come true, and I have long been inspired by the photography of Steve McCurry. I also love being a teacher. No-one succeeds alone, so… I guess of you enjoyed this post, please share and subscribe!

Thats all folks, don’t forget to check out my Free Stuff section, an area I would like to grow in the future.

Keep Clicking, Chris

Critical Theory & Photography

Beware – I’m about to get heavy (there are also some fairly graphic photographs). This is a bit of a personal exploration, feel free to come along for the ride. While photography is my passion, my career is teaching, and I am currently engaged with my Master’s in Education, undertaking research based on Critical Theory. Sometimes my passion and study ideas start to combine.

My studies are leading me towards a desire to affect change. Specifically, I would like to develop my photography to a stage where my photos may lead to a better society. This photographic goal leads on from my research undertaken relating to Critical Theory. Critical Theory is (very basically), the idea that we live in a world that is not equitable, or fair, and it seeks to redress the balance of power. Power is important as we live in a world geared towards the wealthy. Information is a controlled commodity, and as photographers, we have an opportunity to explore and reveal the truth.

Affecting change through images is hard to do in a world where it is widely claimed that, ‘no one gives a shit about your photography’. Perhaps this is what drives photographers to the more extremes of what can be shot, graphic and sexual violence, gun use and gangs. Extreme images can shock, and it is this shock that drives people to change society.

Struggling Girl, Photograph by Kevin Cartertime-100-influential-photos-kevin-carter-starving-child-vulture-87.jpg

Kevin Carter claimed that this was his most successful photo, and one he hated. This photograph may have been one of the drivers behind his suicide. He was criticised for not helping the girl afterwards. However, I think people are quick to blame others. This style of photograph does affect change, in this case bringing the attention of famine in Sudan to the world.

Napalm girl, Photographer Nick Ut
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There are claims that it was through photography that pressure was placed on the US Government to halt the Vietnamese war. Perhaps no photograph did it as well as this image captured by Nick Ut, a picture of a naked, young girl hit by American forces.

Now I am NOT saying I want to head off to a war zone, or an area ravaged by disease and famine, but feel there is a need to make a difference, I’m just not sure how. Yet.

Of late documentary photography has got a lot of grief, and even the integrity of Magnum founder Robert Capa has been questioned. In my next article, I am going to discuss photo manipulation – and am wondering if it matters as much as people think it does…

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