The Shanghai Photography Exhibition

robert-capa-spectators-at-longchamp-racecourse-parisPhotograph by Robert Capa, Spectators at Longchamp Racecourse.

This photo was used for the promotional material for the exhibition. Robert Capa was one of the founding members of Magnum Photography.

Three Photographers I learnt from at the Shanghai Photography Exhibition

This weekend Shanghai hosted the World Photography Exhibition. This was a wonderful place for inspiration with lots of idea’s to borrow and steal. There were also a wonderful array of photos to purchase, if you happen to be extremely rich! Read More

The Arcanum and Minimisation!

What is the Arcanum and what is Minimisation?

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Good questions, I am glad you asked!

The Arcanum is a learning pathway created by Trey Ratcliff, go look at his website ‘Stuck in Customs‘. First off, you have to apply to join and be ‘selected’ by a master who will help you on your way to photographic nirvarna. For the first ‘sphere’ this is actually quite easy.

Spheres, yes, you get placed in a sphere (not literally). Once cocooned inside this photographic bubble you find yourself with likeminded photographers undertaking challenges and critiques. Challenges can be official and part of your journey, but also set by the ‘Master’ of your cohort. Don’t expect 100’s of +Likes, this ain’t that kind of game.

As you progress through the challenges you must get your photo’s critiqued by your ‘Master’, who will decide if you can progress. In reality this is not as tough as it sounds, as, the photos you submit will already have been grilled by other cohort members!

At the end of sphere 1, you go back to waiting for another master. Here it gets a little more specialised. I have now joined ‘sphere 2’, a cohort led by Wes Hardaker, check out his fabulous website ‘capturedonearth‘. In this cohort I will be  increasing my focus through ‘minimilisation techniques’.

Earlier this week I set out with minimilsation in mind. Here are a couple of ‘keepers’. It will be interesting to see where this new Arcanum Sphere takes me….

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Manilla Slums and Ethics. Ten things to think about…

In street photography there is a tradition of taking pictures of poverty, this stems from the very beginnings with the work of Henry Cartier-Bresson and Dorothea Lange. Recently I had a break in the Philippines. My first thoughts were to head for the slums of Manilla to take some shots. I did find myself wondering why I was there, after all, I was close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

This raised a the question, why do I go and photograph areas of poverty? Here are ten issues to think about…. click to read more! Read More

Street v’s Travel Photography

It has been a while since my last post as I have been fortunate enough to be taking a month out in sunny Thailand. When not relaxing by the pool and catching up on my reading (last book, A Decent Ride, Irvine Welsh) I have been out shooting using the fantastic Ricoh Grii.

Anyway, I started to wonder if what I was shooting was street photography or travel photography. Still not sure (or even wonder if it matters), but, it is harder! Here are some key points relating to the differences I have noticed:

  1. Location. Lots of the locations are obviously very touristy (I am a tourist, after all), therefore the shots don’t have the ‘grit’ of a street shot. What do I mean by ‘grit’? Here, I would refer to Bruce Gilden’s quote, ‘if you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph…’.    He knows what he is talking about, check out his website
  2. People. Shooting in Shanghai I have learnt to read people quite well. I know when to take a photo and when not to. In a new place the people are different, it takes time to work out how to go about taking a shot – particularly when taking street portraits. However, you can still spot the shots that are NOT safe to take. If you point a camera at someone and you get obvious aggression, put it away!
  3. Time. Good photography takes time, and this often mean time spent alone (I can’t spend time taking street photography when I am with my family, it gets in the way of the photography ‘flow’.) Do I want to spend my time chasing down alleyways and on the side of a street, or do I just want to chill by the pool?

Anyway – as always let me know your thoughts. Keep clicking and stay happy. Right – I’m off to the pool! (1 of 1)-4



Alleyways and Street Vendors

The Importance of a great shot list… (1 of 1)

Making a shot list is a good way to ensure you get more from a photo shoot. It helps give your work a theme and people begin to expect certain things from your photos.

Here is a list I keep in my head when I go out shooting. Read More

10 Tips for Candid Street Photography

Yes it sounds like photography dipped in sugar, and it does produce sweet results. A candid photo is when you take a photograph without the subject being aware. The results are an unposed picture where you catch someone going about their everyday business. (1 of 1)-4

Here are my 10 tips… Read More

Hongzhen Lu

This weekend I went back to my favourite haunting ground for shooting documentary/ street photography. Another block is being knocked down and there will soon be nothing left of this, once vibrant community. Out of all my photos taken in China, these are my favourite. The people are (generally) warm kind and generous in revealing glimpses of their lives to the camera, and ultimately to me. Here are three recent photos.

If you would like to join me in a photoshoot around this area, hit me up soon!  Enjoy the pics and keep clicking!

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Using Film

Finally received my film back from the new (old) camera. This was using a roll of Fujifilm stock (and yes I chose colour). Would I recommend trying film? Hell yes. It slows you down and really makes you think about pressing the button, knowing it is going to cost you 20p to develop it.

What is ultra cool is that you get them back on a disk, which allows you to play with them in Photoshop.

There is, quite frankly, nothing in life as exciting as getting your prints back from the lab… Here are some of my favourites.

Now if you are in Shanghai, why not head down to Luban Lu and get yourself a film camera! There is a great little lab on the third floor that will develop the film for you.

Nikon F80, first impressions review.

P0020570 An ongoing review….

I have just bought a Full-Frame camera for $60. This is a stark contrast to models like the Sony A7rii, at over $3000 without a lens (and yes I want one). The catch, it’s a film camera.

Why shoot film? You get consistency if you use the same stock, at the moment I am trying Fujicolor Print, 400ISO colour. Lets see if Fujifilm’s reputation for great colour rings true. Secondly, my shots will not be stored in Data land. I will have them on a CD and in a book of negatives.

The downsides of shooting film, you have to wait for it to be processed, and this means you can’t see if you are shooting with your settings all correct until the film is processed. I made a huge mistake with this camera yesterday and spent an hour shooting with the camera set in a mode that did not wind on the film. The result? 20-30 shots all recorded on top of one another. Film v’s digital – maybe there needs to be a full on post about this soon.

Anyway – the camera.

The F80 (N80 if you are in the states) is lightweight in the hands. As always, this is a good and a bad thing. The weight is great, but sacrifices weather sealing and robustness. Saying that, it did still feels pretty good in the hands and is working fine, despite being over 20 years old.

It takes my 50mm lens from my D7100, in fact I can use all my Nikon lenses with this camera, and it still autofocuses! This is awesome, and if you have a Nikon, then the 50mm 1.8 should be up there on your list of things to get, it retails at around $150.

I can shoot with it in the same way I do with my Nikon D7100. Yes I looked at the classic cameras that don’t need batteries and are all manual but I came away thinking that this would just slow me down. The F80 focuses fast, and powers up quickly. On top of this is has aperture priority mode, a method of shooting I live by. I can control my depth of field in the same way I do with all my other cameras. On top of this it has bracketing (useful for HDR), different focus modes and a flash.

This camera has everything you would expect to find in a modern digital camera (minus a confusing menu system and a screen). It even has a cool little joystick to help select a focus point. This really made it an easy film camera to come to after living with digital cameras for so long.

Picture quality, wait and see. This is an ongoing review so I will add pictures and thought as they come and when the film is developed.

Stay happy, keep clicking,


Colour v B&W

Sometimes colour works well and sometimes pics look great in B&W. Check out the picture below. Which version do you prefer, and, can you explain why? Personally I like the colour version. In the shot the colours compliment each other. The red spirals around from the table to the door, on the way it passes the ladies contrasting blue apron.

Let me know your thoughts and keep clicking!

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