Sunday, October 16

Dialogues with student photographers, part I

Over the past year, I've had a steadily increasingly number of independent questionnaires from students interested in street photography. Last week I had five of these emails, which was a record.

It's great to get these, and most of the question sets are well thought out and intelligent - occasionally I answer them straight away if they seem easy to do. But usually they fall into the file marked "will do, when I get time (i.e never)".

Of course, many of the questions are repeated, so I would save myself a load of time by creating a FAQ document to put on my web site. While I do this, I thought it might be "fun" to create a dialogue here, with the permission of the questioners, just see where it will lead... Maybe nowhere.

I hope that the questioners (and others) will respond, and I will use the question-and-answer format to create a more interesting FAQ than I would come up with myself. And maybe force myself to give more than the rushed responses that I have given below.

So here we go. The email below is reproduced with permission:

"I hope that it is okay that I am emailing you, as I am in my final year of a BA Hons in Fine Art and have been producing work very similar to what you explore in your photographs."

---- Hi there, I get quite a few emails from photography students (a couple a week usually), but never from anyone studying Fine Art before.

"I am very interested to know how you achieve such great images, and whether they are snap-shots or carefully considered, because as a young person with a camera in a public place, I often get frowned at!"

---- Both! They are carefully considered snapshots. I just spend hours walking around looking for good compositions.

I take them very quickly and move on. As a (I guess) young female, you probably should arouse less suspicion than me, a middle-aged man. Maybe try to look less like you are a serious pro and more like an amateur having fun.

"Is this something you have had to deal with [I often get frowned at], and if so.....please can you tell me how you do it."

---- I only occasionally get asked what I'm doing. I look for situations where I can get close to people without them feeling threatened - where people are lost in thought, busy or in a crowd.

There are videos online of serious photographers shooting - Joel Meyerowitz, Matt Stuart.

e.g. Joel Meyerowitz:

Or look at

"Street Photography resources" on the right-hand side of this blog, some way down.

"I'm hoping to do a shoot in a bingo hall next, but legalities keep blocking me out!"

---- Good luck.

"Hope you can get back to me, even if you really cant reveal your secrets of success!"

---- unfortunately "success" only in terms of producing results that some people like, and coverage in newspapers, etc. Which is great but it is very hard to make money directly from this sort of photography.

*** BTW, is it OK if I stick this on my blog? Verbatim, as above? ***

Tuesday, October 4

Brighton meandering via GPS

On Saturday, I went to Brighton for the day. I recorded my wanderings with a little GPS gizmo. The results are, to me, strangely fascinating.

If you're a fellow map addict, click here, chose "Map View" (i.e. the left-hand circle of the three on display), then zoom in to taste.

I guess this is not a novelty to people with new-fangled mobile phones with GPS capability but I'm about 10 years behind with technology. Like a human version of Comet.

I covered an impressive 181.21 km due to accidentally turning on the device at the beginning of my train journey from Weymouth to Brighton.