Best of 2018. Part 1

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

As the year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on what I have achieved with my photography in 2018.  Today I scoured by hard drive for my favourite photos of the year. I will try and explain a little of what is behind each image. There will be six images in this post, and six in the next.

Varanasi

To get a good angle you sometimes need to fight for a spot. For this image I had to wade through the edges of the Ganges River to get around the crowd. A fast prime lens meant I was able to capture an image of good quality. While not ‘Street’ as many other images, it stands as a favourite.

Boy

This image falls short of being completely candid as this young boy was clearly posing for the camera. His mum was behind him in the shadow, and yanked him in after I captured this frame. While I often go out on photo walks, this image was taken while I was waiting for my Royal Enfield motorbike to be serviced.

Stone Mason, Bangalore

I love portraits, and this image has a back story. I was working on a project as part of the StepOutPhotography collective. The subject of my photo essay was the cemeteries in Bangalore. This stone mason was carving headstones outside the Muslim section of the burial ground.

Hindu Cemetery

This image was taken outside a Hindu burial ground. I like how the 3 men are passing the entrance. This was one of the final images of a days shooting.

Pattaya Ladyboy

Many of the ‘workers’ involved in Pattaya’s booming sex industry are reticent of being photographed. However, often the ladyboys were quite happy to pull a pose. I chose B+W for this image. There is a darker side to paradise!

Taxi Driver, Kolkata

Kolkata was my favourite location for photography this year. I woke up at 5am, shot like mad till 10am, and then crashed for the day. Candid photos can be a challenge in India, everyone likes to pose. Fortunately, this guy was to engrossed in the paper to notice me.

Keep an eye out for part 2!

Take Care and Keep Clicking, Chris

Ten Tips to Ignore

Bit of a fun article here. Don’t take these ideas too seriously. Hopefully the points made will make you think a little differently from everyone else. This post is inspired by my current thinking, which is that we have to do something different to stand out. If we all follow the same ‘rules’ then everything will look the same…

#9 Asking permission would have ruined this image.
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Still Life Tells a Story..

It has been a busy week. G+ is being killed off and members of the SPC group are spreading like butter on a bonfire. Alternative sites are Flickr, 500px, Mewe, Facebook and Instagram. Well, I started on Flickr (again), and continue to post to Instagram, but really have not got into 500px at all. My current champion is MeWe, it is small and most certainly the underdog of social media. You can join the SPC group using the link below.

https://mewe.com/join/street_photographers

Still Life

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Shoes

While I generally look for interesting people to photograph, there are still other oddities that catch my eye. These shoes were halfway down a stairwell of a subway running under a major road (just after the Hebel flyover, for you Bangalore dwellers). They were in great condition, and look quite posh for the location. Whose were they and why were they there? The owner was long gone.

In the photography world there are rules, questions and guidelines sprouting from every corner of the internet. Sometimes we just have to keep it simple and find a frame that poses a question.

Here is my second favourite photo from the morning, taken in the same subway. It is obviously not a still life. I like how one person is in in colour and the second is silhouetted. I may re-visit this area and try to get a more colourful composition as a bright red Sari would look fantastic.

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On a final note, my photo editing is changing. In the past, I have always muted my colours, but lately I am heading in the opposite direction and increasing the vibrance. Maybe I felt a embarrassed posting colour images in a genre that follows a strong tradition on Black and White. Maybe it is just because India is just fantastically colourful!

My next set of photos will be from Goa as I take a break to celebrate Diwali, the festival of light. Now that sounds like a celebration designed for photographers!

Thats all folks. Keep clicking, and happy Diwali.

Chris

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Three Photos to Capture.

“F8 and be there.”

‘F8 and be there,’ is the explanation ‘Weegee’ gave when asked how his photos were so consistent, and it has become something of a mantra for Street and Documentary photographers. When using a Full Frame camera, shooting at F8 ensures everything is in focus. If you are not using full frame, the F number becomes lower. Explore google if you want to know why. This is not a technical article.

Weegee followed a rule, and everybody followed Weeggee. As a result, there is now a heap of Street Photography that all looks the same. It reminds me of a joke I read this morning, ‘How do you milk sheep?’. Answer – ‘release a new iphone.’ Here are three photos you can take if you want to capture something a little different. Don’t worry, there are no more jokes.

Long Exposure Photography

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Long Exposure

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Leading Lines and Cubism. Part 2.

Cubism

A week has passed since I wrote about Cubism and leading lines. I’ve thought long and hard about this, and come to the conclusion that this idea has something going for it. However, we can read more into this than there needs to be. For that matter, maybe there is too much of a focus on composition, full-stop.

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Balloon Seller, Hydrabad

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Leading Lines, Cubism and Street Photography

Disclaimer

There are somethings I know quite a lot about. When I speak and write about something, I try to make sure I know what I am talking about. This is an idea in progress…. I’m thinking out loud. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Lines lead down an alley…

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Instax Cameras and Street Photography

Using The Fujifilm Instax 90 Neo Classic

This is not a review, more of a discussion. This camera is NOT going to create award winning photos, does not have great dynamic range and, believe me – you would not want to be paying for this thing to spit out 12 shots a second. However, it is fun and a great conversation piece at parties. It also enables the the act of giving. Instantly.

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Giving a Photo!

While far from a ‘specs’ list, here are some points you may like to know.

  • It shoots at a high f/number – generally, everything is in focus.
  • It looks cool and rugged, but is made entirely of plastic.
  • The Instax 90 has a few more manual controls than other models – but not that many.
  • The film is quite expensive.
  • The quality of the photos is either poor, or hip and grungy. Depends on your viewpoint.

I suspect that these comments would be the same for any model of instant camera. In general, they really are not that good for high quality prints. But they are instant, and that is pretty handy.

Opening Doors

Street photographers take. We take a lot. We take tiny snippets of people’s time and lives. Sometimes these moments are never noticed, other times they are appreciated, and unfortunately, there are times when photographers are just damn intrusive. It should come as no surprise that sometimes we are not wanted!

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Sharing

Every day I take a shortcut from work and pass by a group of families that live in a small squatter camp. They herd goats and appear to have a couple of cows. The camp looks ragged and is created from waste construction site materials, tarpaulin and scraps of plastic. I have been invited into a hut once, and the interiors are clean and tidy. Children play, women cook, and men head out looking for manual labor jobs.  Although I always get a friendly wave, the people living there become shy when my camera is out, and are reticent about allowing photography.

Equipped with my Instax, I have been able to give the families photos they can keep. The act of giving opens hearts, particularly when you are providing mothers with pictures of their children. Using this technique I have started to make inroads in the community. This is not the only location where I have used this method to build bridges. The Instax camera is now a tool I keep in my bag.

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Final Image

Tips and Tricks

  • If you try this method, make sure you only take as much film as your budget allows. I give myself one roll a day (10 pics).
  • Warning. Once you have handed out photos, any subsequent images you take with your ‘proper’ gear will be of people looking at their prints!
  • Clear some wall space at home. These photos are quite addictive.
  • Wonder at how you are managing without memory cards, Lightroom and Photoshop!

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

 

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PS – you may notice the site has been re-designed. Feel free to explore and follow!

 

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