5pm Friday in the business district of London is always busy. Thousands of people rushing away from the big smoke and heading towards the weekend so they can forget their rat life ways.
It’s a stressful time trying to get the tube and fighting your way through frustrated behaviours.
And through all this congestion a simple moment of calm she sits in full view whilst staying hidden.
Maybe she had time to kill.
Maybe she had nowhere to go.
Maybe waiting for the next bus, just to get a seat.
No-one cared to ask.
Or maybe, 2 Down, 8 Across was just too much of a challenge to give up now.
Yashica 635. Kodak Portra 400 ASA. 125/sec F8.
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.
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.
So today was a “me” day. I had planned in my intentions and was jolly well out to achieve them.
Having a day off work and I wanted to take the time and stealth my way through the crowds of Nantwich happily snapping interesting people going about their business.
The weather was some what predictable. Warm and golden, bright at 6am only to be presented by rain and wind three hours later, which was the time I made it to town.
The weather in mind gave me ideas of wonderous reflection shots of grumpy shoppers dodging high street puddles and with market day ahead I was expecting a fairly top shoot.
To my dismay town was dead……. I was rather pipped at the lack of people. In fact it was easy to count the crowd. I hoped that every corner of our little Tudor town I strolled would present me with a flush of hurried strangers with bags in hand. Sadly I was in dissolution.
This made my planned day somewhat bland. With no one around and the few that were seeing me a mile off, I did my best with what I had.
After two hours of standing around in a ghost town I sort refuse in a coffee shop. Being British I ordered a pot of tea and made my way with tray and china to find a seat.
It was in my seated position that most of my photography for the day was caught. Sneaking my camera into position and carefully taking a photo without being scene.
The UK has laws about street photography. It is okay to shoot in a public place but to shoot inside is frowned upon. In many cases it is just not very English.
A lovely couple having brunch amused me with their converse. Reading from rag mag newspapers to the sophisticated financials they carefully updated each other on events whilst not listening to the latter.
I had already been caught out twice in the coffee shop and decided to head home when I spotted this man. He was looking at the Tudor architecture when I walked by. I liked his hat. The classic straw style that you might use when potting in the garden or drunk at a festival. It looked cool sitting proudly on his head.
Taking a terrible shot before I decided to brave the moment and get in very close to him. No more than two arms lengths between us I waited until he caught my lens and took the shot.
With his white beard and spy like glasses he held an air of mystery with hands in pockets.
Of course I looked back after and smiled. I like to think he was wondering what I was taking picture of and the courage in me after felt good. I had succeeded on what was a very bad day of shooting.
(Shot using a Fujifilm X20 in Aperture Priority around F5 -F10 at ISO 1600 & in RAW, edited in Photoshop)