I love the age old tradition of street performers. There is something magical about a person making a living entering you whilst you shop.
I went to Chester to pick up a few items. (If you are unfamiliar with the city. It dates back to Roman times and still has the outer walls standing. It was developed in the Tudor times and the city has been almost untouched since. It is a fantastic historical wonderland and well worth a visit).
I have recently been shooting street only on film with my Yashica 635 TLR. It’s an amazing camera that seems to attract a lot of attention. It’s been fun working out how to shoot quickly and silently.
Getting back to the image. As I walked through the busy streets there was the sound of 1920’s Jazz floating through the crowds that drew me in. A women in her 20’s, dressed in period fashion was delighting the passers by with her Charleston.
She captured the moment brilliantly and keep me in gaze for two or three songs.
I took the opportunity to kneel down and wait for her to pass my viewfinder before passing her hand with silver coin and exchanging our love for all thing vintage.
Her performance made my day and I know (because she told me) being photographed by my camera made hers.
Turn any street in old England and town and you will find interesting people eager to entertain.
I stupidly went down the escalator that was turned off (Leicester Square tube station).
It’s easy to get giddy half way. Though I braved it till the end. Only to turn around and find I was being chased but a very confident 10 year old that cleared the task in a matter of seconds.
Turn a corner in old London Town and you are reminded of the past and present.
Down a dusty old London side street, leading into a busy open market stands a grand image of working life of yesteryear. It took me by surprise at the time. This wonderful moment on a massive board and no-one had noticed it.
I was drawn to it straight away (I love anything to do with how we used to live), when I noticed this guy on the phone just sitting there.
It struck me just how powerful the moment was. Here was a guy, sitting on a chair, using a mobile phone. A classic scene of 21st Century lifestyle with the back drop of 1930’s living perfectly in line with each other.
I had to get in close to take the picture and for the guy to notice me. I hoped he would become a little annoyed. I wanted him to look at me in the same way the gentlemen where in the picture. After standing there for a few minutes just looking at him he gave the look you see.
For me this is a perfect example of old and new and how technology, fashion and attitude may have changed over time, our personal living has stayed the same.
This was my favourite photo from a day shooting in London and probably one of the small handful of images I am really proud of.
Taken with FijiFilm X20 in Green Market London.
Dodging walking shopping bags, using stealth to win gaps between fleeting meets all anew.
A sudden parting opens thicken smog.
Stood slouched into sensible comfort and with confidence in the third aid gripped by plastic hands, a transparent statue blind to the vultures squawking by.
Only single serving friends, obliged to such limp existence, humbled to accept silver coin, but an obvious dislike in twisted half arsed smiles.
Turn any corner in old London Town and you meet interesting people.
Walking along the Thames Bank, past the Art Deco Tate gallery (a rich part of town) and you come across a little bar on a corner high up and out of eyes reach. A perfect spot to have a quiet drink, sit with old friends and watch the world go by.
I came across these two gentlemen doing just that. They seemed to be in a very important conversation as no happy smiles were being exchanged.
I could not help but stop, raise my camera to my eye and compose the shot.
Immediately they both turned and glared directly at me. An intimidating moment for most. From their looks, even I felt like bolting.
Knowing My intrusion had annoyed them. I simply looked back, gave a giant wave and smiled like a Cheshire Cat.
Immediately this calmed things down and both gentlemen replied with a wave and a smile. This image was captured between that.
After, I said thank you and they were most happy. Hoping it made their day.
It goes to show that a little courage and a lot of cheekiness is heart warming and what you think to be an awkward moment can actually be a happy one.
(FujiFilm X20. App Priority. Shot in RAW. London)
The tour was long. It was hot and everyone was getting a bit cranky.
Though just as we had all had enough and was day to retire to our coach, out of nowhere a wedding couple stood and posed as their photographer took a picture.
I had seen this coming and sneaked around the side to stay out of the way and shot what was a magical moment to a long day.
(Shot using FujiFilm X20. App Priority, RAW in Granada, Spain)
So shooting candid shots of people generally ends up as a frustrated mess of useless pixels. But here is a lesson I learnt a long time ago.
When you take a shot, never delete it. Even if you think it is rubbish at first, take a second look. Not the next day, not even in a week. Leave it a month or two. Even longer. I have edited photos I have taken over ten years ago that only now when I look back, appeal to me and I can see my creative eye.
This image is a month old, taken in London. One of the last images I took before heading home. At the time I thought it was pretty crap. That was until today when I was bored and edited it.
Shot in RAW (Colour) I adjusted it to b/w and all of a sudden noticed the pout of such a fellow look directly at me.
At the time I did intend to capture this guy, yet was not happy with the outcome until now. It’s funny, our opinion changes based on time.
The issue with instant photography is we chuck it away. The beauty of film (and time with digital) is we appreciate and are wowed by the surprises.
Love this image, read this post or disregard it. It matters not.
But it does prove one thing. Andy Warhol is still chilling out in London Town.