Ah… I just love those orgasmic moments when those little pieces of existence collide in that brief fraction of a second that give life meaning, …blink and it’s gone. That is what the great Cartier Bresson termed a decisive moment and for me it’s what photography is all about and always shall be.
February is a poor month to be a street photographer in England, ..cold, wet, shitty light when there is any, so hence my neglected blog as a result of not being out and about much. I’ve been fortunate this winter though as I’ve had some decent workshop jobs which have kept me in the dry and warm with a few pennies rolling in to sustain the family and I in the life style we’ve become accustomed to. I’ve been busy though and I’ve worked out a format to exhibit ‘Life of Brighton’ but still undecided on what form a printed version should take. I still have plenty of time to make my mind up though.
This image involved hanging around for an hour or so on a rather deserted street corner waiting for a suitable subject to walk by while fending off questions from curious/suspicious residents as to what I was doing. Such a glam life I lead !
I do get a twang in my conscience when I take a photo like this, but the grim irony of street scenes such as theseI find very hard to pass by. Was “this moment” an opportunity for me with a camera or does it mean anyone can be someone if they really “want it” or “work hard “. The old lie “You can do anything”, the trouble is we only hear the success stories and nothing of those who fell over the edge. Luck or conversely bad luck has so much to do with our outcomes, to paraphrase Shakespeare in Twelfth night ( which was 2 days ago ) “some are born with bad luck, some achieve bad luck and some have bad luck thrust upon them”. I don’t know this young lady’s story , I normally stop for a natter, but she was well out of it, and by the time I went back an hour later but she’d upped and gone, hopefully somewhere better than this. Happy New Year.
AA lone soul fishing on a still winter’s day at the sewage outfall on Shoreham beach. There are many analogies between photography and fishing,… the hours spent hunting for a few seconds of joy, the despondency of the missed strike, the hope big fish is only just round that corner, the solitary nature of the chase etc etc. What I’ve realised over the years of walking the (same old) streets is that I never get bored, …maybe cold, tired , irritated, hungry and footsore, but the alertness to possibility of a chance that you need to take ‘street ‘ snaps is totally absorbing. I guess that is what they call the thrill of the chase. Talking of which I’m heading off to Lewes today to watch toffs with dogs and horses wishing they could chase foxes, they should just ride up and down our street in the early hours, there are loads of them !
I’m an ardent believer in the idea that a good photograph ( whatever that is ) should be ‘about ‘ something and not just ‘of’ something, which is probably why I ‘m a big fan of political cartoons. I don’t normally bother with scenes like the one above but it did seem vaguely allegorical of the current state our relationship with those chaps over the channel.. i.e. a mad dog, a wall and a distant horizon.
One of my pet hates when walking the streets is being obliged to move out the way for souls who are eyes down on their mobile phones…. in fact I dislike the world’s obsession with mobile phones in general. OK OK they are useful on occasion but why the need to check whatever it is they check every minute or two beats me, …and that is probably why I’ve adopted ‘Straggler’ as my nom de guerre.
My dear wife described this snap as “gross but good, just like all your others” which I take as a big compliment, usually she says’ oh my god’ or words to that effect. In my view photography is often used to beautify the ugly whereas I somehow manage to uglify everything. This is outside the labour party conference a few weeks back hence the river of Jeremy Corbyn badges on the ground,
Last week before the clocks change and we’re plunged into darkness for the winter months. For me now on that means it’s night time sorties with the flash gun, which doesn’t make for inconspicuous snapping, one hit is all you get ! Halloween and bonfire night generally produce a few results but after that it’s rather barren till spring returns.
Of course there is the ever changing street art scene which I’m constantly on the look out for. I don’t know what the image above was all about but it did make me smirk ( or maybe even snigger).