Monday, 24 January 2011

Some Further Street Practice 2

On 20th Jan, I went to Huddersfield again.  I had actually wanted to fit in a trip to one of the bigger cities e.g. Manchester, where there might be more opportunities to find interesting images, but a combination of work and family commitments meant that I would not be able to contemplate that for at least another week, maybe longer, and I’m keen to keep some progress going.
One thing that prompted me to go on that particular afternoon was that the sun was shining, and I could see some possibilities for use of better light; plus Thursday is one of the days when the covered market is in operation, so I could plan a visit there as well.  Another step that I wanted to take was to use my DSLR to take the pictures, which I realised would make me more obvious and reduce the chance for ‘discretion’.
The market day proved disappointing.  It wasn’t very busy, which not only reduced the chances that there would be anything happening but also made my presence as a photographer more obvious.  I include the image below, only by way of illustration that I was there!!
Actually, there is a little bit of a story behind it.  The stallholder in the cap on the right was calling out to his customers, as they do – “2 pound of carrots, certainly love; how are you today?” and so on but added “Is that bloke taking my picture?”, as I was holding the camera to my eye.  I joined in the banter, briefly, and then went back later to have a brief chat with him.  He has obviously had some bad experiences with ‘photographers’ in the past, but he did also tell me that there is someone who regularly takes pictures at another market he attends.  Possibly someone to work on/with in the future?
Frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the covered market, I went back to Market Place, where I had spent some time on the 12th, mainly to see how the sunlight was working on that location.  As it happens, the low sun was just creating an interesting shadow towards the edge of the square, which seemed to present a possible opportunity.  I didn’t have long, because the shadow was moving, but I had a wide angle lens on the camera, and took the following.
Taking up my desire to be more creative, the first is just a ‘different take’ on ‘People Unaware’; the second has some reference to other street images – Lee Friedlander’s use of shadows, for example; Joel Meyerowitz’ New York shot 1975, where a couple in camel coats are disappearing into a cloud of steam, just as another, similarly dressed couple appear on the right of frame, each with a shadow of a head on their back.  I was also reminded of something I had seen more recently in a magazine, which turned out to be the British Journal of Photography, September 2010 – ‘Silence of the Bees’, by Ed Swinden, which won the magazine’s ‘Shoot the Street’ competition.
But this is the one I liked best from the short set of images that I was able to capture whilst the light was right. 

I’m not saying that it’s a great photograph, but the combination of the light with the fortunate juxtaposition of his foot with the shadow of the bollard does at least make it a little more interesting than some of the previous ones.
I’ve also used a little bit of creative processing in Lightroom – using a ‘Direct Positive’ preset that increases the colour and the contrast.
I’m not sure how well I am sticking to the principles of this section of the course at the moment, and I do have to get back to the specific projects at some stage, but I do feel that it’s a good thing for me to explore the creative possibilities in photographing people.
Time is going to be difficult again this week, with major work commitments, but I feel a little happier with what I was able to do at the end of last week.  I think I need to go on ‘pushing my boundaries’ a bit, but also that I need to find some time soon to get into a city where there are more possibilities.

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