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Foto 5 Live and Uncut

A blog of Photography experiences

Photo block!

imageWarning! This is not the normal 5 photo blog… (There’s more images!)

This last Sunday (30th April) I joined a London walkabout with Michael Rammell of ‘Ready Steady Pro’ on Facebook. We met  at the Department of Coffee and Social affairs, Carnaby Street  when the route was set, through China Town, Leicester Square and imageCovent Garden with the intention to finish on the Southbank. We started out shortly after 1.00pm moving along Carnaby Street where a number of Vespa and Lambretta riders had parked their scooters up. All the riders were great characters talking of the good old days in the sixties, when Carnaby Street was the place to be seen in London, especially if you were a Mod!

image  So we all set off with great expectations of capturing some good street images and at the same time have a good old chat about photography, cameras and lenses, all that sort of typical subject matter that we photographers talk about when we get together! I had hired from Hireacamera.com a Fujifilm XF16mm f1.4 for this occasion. It’s a lens that I have been interested in for some time and felt that this walkabout would be an ideal time to test it out. I’d like to add at this point that to hire a lens is a superb way to test one out in the field rather than waste money and decide later. You can’t fully test a lens in the shop, out in the field is really the best way. I cant praise Hireacamera.com highly enough their service is second to one. Not withstanding the lens arrived by courier in a well protect ‘Pelli case’ but a courier is scheduled to collect the item at the end of the hired period. They offer a great back-up service and are really great people to talk to. Make a note for yourselves Hireacamera.com for cameras and lenses and at really decent rates of hire as well!

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So on with the walk…. With so many characters  around it was an ideal time to ask to take some portraits of these classic riders a great bunch of guys who were all only to willing to pose with their pride and joy. My Fuji X-pro1 and the XF16mm f1.4 worked hand in hand and gave me a real chance to get in close but allowing me to include the decorated scooters imageimage. It was at this stage I was thinking, could I make 100 portraits in a day?  Further down the street – now on my own, and that always happens, I met a guy taking some shots of a window display he happily agreed to me making a portrait of him. Great start… So far so good! And then the wheel’s fell off – I got two flat “No’s” following that and I lost my confidence and so, the project was put to bed! Now I know a lot of you would say I should of kept on asking, after all in one of my earlier blogs I had said “enjoy the No the Yes will always follow!”… But I didn’t, mainly I suppose because I was concentrating on making sure I kept up with the group for the next stop over and of course chatting away with fellow walk-abouter’s! You know the usual subjects cameras, lenses the Arcanum, Facebook, Google+, You Tube shows, Social Media and all that!
It was at about this time I was also beginning to suffer from what I can only describe as a “photographers block” – What to shoot and what to take a photo of! I didn’t have a clue! It was really starting to get me down. I’ve heard of this before, especially writers who hit an unseen wall of no imagination or idea of what to write next. It was the same for me I just didn’t know what to take. I tried the old tested method, for me at any rate, by falling back onto my other projects (ie. Life at 1/15th sec), I also tried some zone focusing, standing in the middle of the street and just firing away looking for that ‘face in the crowd’! All of these ideas have generally worked and have got me back on the shooting trail. But ‘No’ it wasn’t going to work this time… I had really hit the wall!

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Through the windows of China Town

We went through China town and I made the usual shots of the street and the restaurant windows the place was buzzing, with so many tourists around but, I still couldn’t find anything of note, that would get – shall we say – ‘the photography juices flowing again’. I just couldn’t see anything – Was it the lens – surely not?

 

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Bumping into Jo!

Next stopover was Leicester Square, where I bumped into (not literally) my daughter Joanne; it was her first street walkabout and she was really enjoying the experience : She had taken some great shots as well and just with an iPhone! I could see she was getting the bug for street photography… Me, I was just lost!

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“Happy Streeter” My daughter Joanne Griffiths
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Michael, Joseph and crew join me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to Covent Garden where it was packed and no change there either, I was still searching for something to shoot, I was now beginning to think, was it a case of ‘over familiarity’ of the places and the route that we had taken? Carnaby Street through, Soho, China Town onto Leicester Square then to Covent Garden is probably one of my most often ‘trod’ routes, that I take in London for street shooting.image It was at this stage that I came to the conclusion that that was probably the reason! An over familiarity thing! I wasn’t seeing anything new that caught my eye or attention. The weather had been a little overcast as well… So light and shadow? Nada nothing! And it was now threatening to rain well it did but for only about 5 minutes and enough for everyone to change the plan and retire to a nearby restaurant for a well earned ‘Burger’!

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Attempts to revitalise myself with face in the crowd, motion blur, looking down and buskers’s

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Images from Convent Garden.

At this stage of the blog I think it would be a good idea to talk about the Fuji XF16mm 1.4 lens. The quality of the build is first rate. It has a confusing focus ring which you pull in to allow manual focus and pull out for Auto focus. When I first got the lens I was a bit confused with that at first but this really is a minor point and as soon as you know its there, it is a simple practice to use if need be. Auto-focus even with an X-Pro1 was sufficiently quick (Yes I know the X-Pro2 is quicker still – but I don’t need that!). The aperture ring has sufficient tightness to not feel too loose that it could be easily moved with out knowing. Sharpness of the lens is superb : All the images in this blog are SOOC .jpgs using the ‘Velvia’ filter simulation (that’s the reason for the slightly rich and warmer tones in earlier images). So that leaves me with the 16mm angle – do I need that? Well this is where I’m not so sure. You see what Fujifilm did when they created the X system was to produce a superb (2nd to none) ‘kit’ lens – the Fujinon XF18-55 f2.8-4. It’s because of this lens, its quality and its aperture range, which many of the wide angle Fuji prime lenses (I find) have to compete with. If I were solely a prime lens user then the 16mm f1.4 would be a must have. But I’m not just yet. I still cling to that belief of lighter gear means a smaller bag – if at all – and fewer lenses! For me, can I sit on the fence and suggest ‘maybe’? One thing is for sure though I mustn’t let this walkabout be the decider on whether this quality lens is for me in the future. There are huge advantages having it; Obviously the slightly wider view, over the 18-55mm (by the way its almost the same size – a little wider in diameter), but it focuses closer and you can get some really good perspective on your shots. I’ll definitely hire again – I think the lenses deserves that at least.

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The final surviving crew at Covent Garden.

So my over-riding thoughts of this walkabout? Let me set the record straight this was a fantastic well supported photo walk through London. It was well organised by Michael Rammell and I met some great people. We had some superb conversations and put the world to rights – well about photography anyway.

For me photographically well I have to be honest I’ve hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’! To criticise my photos ‘harshly’ and they need to be at this stage; They lacked inventiveness, imagination and most of all lacked observation. The route was not to blame, certainly not the company and it wasn’t the equipment either. No it was me…

So what to do? Crawl under a stone and hide?

Well I wont be that harsh on myself but what I will be doing over the next few walk-about’s either on my own or with friends, is to take a different direction… Shoot some architecture, some urban graffiti, definitely look for some new areas and routes, plus I’ll change the time that I go out to shoot -perhaps an evening shoot might get the photography juices flowing!

 

#photography #walkabout, #fuji, #16mm, #London, #CoventGarden, #leicestersquare, #chinatown

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Reciprocity – what’s that then?

A social media lesson for group and community Hosts…

Reciprocity ˌrɛsɪˈprɒsɪti / noun…. The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. “the Community intends to start discussions on reciprocity with others…”pb_walkabout_st_DSCF8328 

When I first came across social media, many guys in the ‘know’ were saying to get yourself noticed and followed was not only to share, but to follow, like others work and if you are really serious to comment on a post or blog. Also, join groups and communities to gain knowledge of your chosen genre and reciprocate!

So that’s what I set out to do… I searched round the social networks; 500px, Flickr, Ello, Google+, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr and Instagram for my favourite photographers and bloggers. I clicked on the link to either join, follow, like, plussed and added them to circles (as in the case of Google+). I set up an account even on Twitter and did the same; I followed, I commented, I replied and I reTweeted. I joined other Facebook and Google+ groups, followed photographers pages and posted into their communities, (when I was allowed to) of my interest and photographs. Alas, much to my surprise, with VERY limited success. To be fair the only sites I have found to be close to some form of ‘regular’ response and reciprocity, has been on Ello and 500px.com.

Over the last few months this has got me really thinking… Why at the initial stages was it suggested to me and to the millions out there to checkout work, share and like (+), to get a reciprocation? pb_walkabout_st_DSCF8413 Why is this? You’re encourage to do it but you get nothing back in return.

Until recently – it suddenly occurred to me!

I read an article that it was probably best to save your time on social networking and NOT join groups associated with a camera! ie. Nikon or Fuji Users… It would be better to share your work on like minded groups ie Street or Travel Photography. But as my photo shows here (right) what comes down (in) doesn’t always mean you’ll get something out of it. An appreciation of your work? A suitable comment… or Maybe a helpful comment! (critique) – that would be nice wouldn’t it? Come to think of it – it is quite noticeable how so many photographs are uploaded to the Facebook and Google+ groups/communities and Business pages that don’t get a comment even from the hosts!

So why is there this lack of interaction by the hosts of these groups, are they too busy? … Well not from what I see of the amount of posts they make – sometimes 3, 4 or ‘god forbid’ 5 or 10 a day! No I know the reason why!

You see Social Networking is all about getting noticed… We all have that inner ‘want’ to be noticed and credited… That us (menials / amateur photographers) that have the need to post our work onto sites or groups in the hope that we’ll get some kind of feed back or recognition, from a member or even a HOST, to help us improve. After all you’re posting your work into a site / group / page / community for just that reason aren’t you? So naturally, your social network expands as you post, like or follow in the various groups you have chosen.. People will follow you as you join in, yet no real commitment from them, your just another one of the group. So, the HOST/photographer is he/she a great photographer if they have over 4k, 10k, 1m or 8m followers. NO… It’s just that people want to keep a check on what they are posting (and probably to try and copy the work!) and will like a post (making no comment) of a photo, even if that pb_walkabout_st_DSCF8411post is referring to a question!

So why? Why do we not get any feed back from the HOST after they suggested that we should like share and comment on others work and reciprocate. After all wasn’t that the reason to set the community up in the fist place? NO…

Life is all about SHARING they told us, share your work, share your comments share the ‘love’, make friends all over the world. And what happened. NOTHING ZILCHO… Just the odd like (+) from a member.

The reason?… I’ll tell you the reason. and this might hurt just a little…

Its because you are being fed a line. A line that reads ‘here’s the water come and drink’… Feed my community! and I’ll advertise to you, My show; My book; My magazine entry; My workshop/seminar; and of course My work! You join the group and your data/email has been recorded, and will be used in the future, you’re just another number on the list for the ‘Host’ to ADVERTISE their services to you – NOTHING MORE! You’re hooked ‘coz you don’t want to miss anything from these guys, well, you like their work – Don’t You? But, still you try posting your photo’s to get some recognition and some kind of feed back. Trust me, IT WONT WORK guys. The host has no interest in ‘your’ work only in his/her own activity to show what they can do, they can sell and what can be achieved if you join them on a workshop or some kind of You Tube ‘costly’ interactivity… It’s going on all over the networks now… Snap Chat, Facebook live, You Tube, all the blogs, and of course podcasts… etc etc.

Now all you hosts out there Im not going to name names but you know who you are! You know exactly where I’m coming from – it’s just that until now no one has ever thought of posting such content to tell you…pb_walkabout_st_DSCF8341

Page, Group and community ‘Hosts’ call it what you wish, are you still reading this? Well, if you are so intent on offering your services to others and you suggest to them to share, follow and comment, to build social networks how about YOU (as a host) doing the same. So many photographers I see posting their work on your pages and you don’t spare the time to even like the image; Don’t be so aloof of what you have created… Think of what you suggested at the beginning and after all probably the only reason you’re  successful in social media networks is that you were one of the first to capitalise on it. It’s all for the production or selling of your work… Isn’t it? But one day it will come back and bite you when your fans drop away. Because you have shown no real interest in your followers/members work. So come on ‘Share’ – yes ‘Share’ your comment!

It doesn’t take much to do that or even a ‘like (+)’ on someones photograph… In actual fact I’d go a stage further, if you did make that effort, it might even expand your social network as people recognise you do care and there might not be the need for you to make 5 -10 posts a day to keep (what you think) your followers satisfied… Oh and one other thing show different work! Not the same type of image all the time. In street photography – a genre that has come under fire quite a lot recently for lack of style and imagination – I put it to you, yes you, the HOST could be the one spoiling it for many followers of social documenting photography. Too much of the same, be different experiment – and show it….

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Above all if you (the host) are going to commit to tutoring, be it for social networking or for photography, ‘Practice what you Preach’ please. You want people to share and comment in your group? Then why don’t you do the same?

Finally my comment to the ‘FOLLOWER’ or rather ‘group member’… Don’t be a ‘lemmings’ just following for following sake, there are very few group leaders/hosts out there that really care about your work. Don’t follow so many groups – stick to a select few and if the host doesn’t show any response to members work and just continues to post his/her own and advertise the next event they’re involved with –  Then Leave it – Search for another until you find a great group with interactivity, not only by members but by the HOST as well…

 

I’ve Gone full circle!

It all started like a good idea at the time. I was a Nikon nut.  I had so much Nikon gear that when it was time to go out shooting whether at home, on business or holiday, I didn’t know what to choose – So I took literally everything! Nikon D50, D200, Nikon1 V1, 4 maybe 5 lenses Oh and an old F65 with film – well you do, don’t you(?) just in case! It was getting ridiculous – The bag weighed a ton or so it felt like and I never knew what camera or lens to use (should I use the 35, the 50, the 18-135 or the 70-300mm) as I said it was ‘Totally ridiculous’…

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In the light X100s

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London X-Pro1

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Selfie Time X-Pro1
Then I had a eureka moment… Watching TWIP one day with Frederick van Johnson, they were talking about this new Fuji camera the x100! It was a game changer they were saying. Then TWiT Photo talked about the same camera with guest Zack Arias – ‘The DSLR is dead’ he was saying. This cannot be I thought. Surely this camera with a fixed lens cannot replace the DSLR… At about this time Fuji released two new cameras; the X-Pro1 and and the X-E1 both interchangeable lens cameras. This sounded really interesting and they looked so retro! (Something which I have a week spot for)… Aperture ring, shutter speed dial all to hand and a thread to take your cable – on the shutter release, Wow!

So it had to be checked out. Well the Pro1 was out of budget and the E1 with the 18-55mm was just a joy to handle. Focussing? Well I didn’t see a problem! – Fast enough for me… and that was it simply… All the Nikon gear went on eBay, all sold within 5 days, delivered, confirmed payments and the order was placed for the Fuji X-E1 with the Fujinon XF18-55 (f2.8-4).

One Camera One Lens was born! That’s all I need. The X-E1 suited me to a tee and Zack was right the DSLR was dead! Photography came back to me. Gone were the indecisions on equipment issues, not only what to take, but what to use! I didn’t even have to worry about a bag – I left that at home. Plain sailing from now on… I can now concentrate on my photography, composition, timing and looking for the story… Absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t put the camera down; Everywhere I went it was with me. No not quite as pocketable as the X100 but even so, light enough to carry rather than a Lowepro bag with all that ‘just in case” gear. The images were fantastic – Fuji had really found something special.. They were film like when printed. The performance of the camera was ‘tidy’ – No it wasn’t a super fast focusing camera, but it was enough for me, especially for my interest in photography for Street and Architectural work.

Then Fuji went and did it! They had to I suppose… Not only were they thinking of looking after their existing customers with their Kaizan approach offering regular firmware updates for all their cameras, but yes they went out and introduced newer versions – The X100s! Then The X-E2, with the X-T1 and X-T10 following very soon after that. I was like a rabbit in headlights confused is not the word… Should I upgrade? I checked the specs The X-E2 looked possible but wait a minute that X100s looks pretty interesting; Oh and that X-T10 does everything that the larger X-T1 does.

You see what camera firms do to you! Always bringing out something new that confuses you, tempts you to spend your money. They’re faster, more filter options, its got wi-fi, its got a flip screen, it’s got… Well what hasn’t it got was more to the point? And yes I fell into the trap the value of the X-T10 body only was too good to be true – and so I bought one. About 3 months before I had bought another lens the beautiful XF 35mm f1.4! (no that’s never going to be sold or traded in). So take a laugh on me two camera two lenses! and now of course a camera bag… Oh dear – just like the old days I’m getting a lot of gear now. But there was one thing that began to bug me now. The X-E1 is a rangefinder style the X-T10 is well SLR like and the amount of times I was bashing my eye as I switched from right to left eye to view through the viewfinder was becoming a pain – to say the least! For some reason (habit I suppose) using the X-T10 I switched to my left, thus banging my eye on the thumb grip! I had made an impulse purchase and had got it wrong. By the way I’d like to add the X-T10 is/was a great little camera, but I had taught my self to work with my right eye using the X-E1 and it had to go…

I really like that X100s and the new X100T had just been released – You see Fuji did it again! The ‘T’ version was better still than the ‘S’. It was raved about, the pros couldn’t say enough about it and how good it was! Fixed lens 23mm retro-style rangefinder.. Oh dear decision time again! But wait a minute, I was thinking I’ve still got my X-E1 it takes superb images, shouldn’t I be looking to upgrade that one instead. No that’s too obvious and they’re are some great used ‘S” versions out there and that would be an ideal camera to take to parties or outings where I could just put in my pocket! The X-T10 was sold and I found an X100s on Amazon and bought it! Impulse purchase again I hear you saying, yes true but the X100s is a classic in the Fuji stable.

The X100s is an absolute joy to use. Just like the X-E1 everything to hand; no need to use menus to find the aperture or shutter speed. It is just great for street photography as it so inconspicuous and no I’m not a ‘sneaky’ street photographer. The X100s in my opinion allows me to use the camera on the street without looking, dare I use the term, threatening!

I was beginning to feel sorry for my X-E1 (silly really – cameras don’t have feelings do they?) but about this time I came across some work by Simon Weir. I’d known Simon for some time we used to meet when I was regularly involved with London Nikon users group. He, I found out had also bought into Fuji (although still using his Nikon’s as well) and with one of his older Fuji’s (as it happened an X-E1) he had had it converted to Infrared with a 720Nm filter fitted by ACS. Now this really ‘peeked’ my interest as I have been a long time fan of Sir Simon Marsden. Sadly no longer with us Sir Simon is well know for his use of infrared film for his fantastic photographs of relics, cemeteries, haunted castles and houses. So I had the X-E1 converted too, with the same filter a 720Nm. Oh I had it covered now! A pure mono camera (my X-E1) that gave me the chance to replicate some infrared styled images and my X100s for the street. In passing I added the converters WCL and TCL to the X100s kit. So that was that… All sorted… A complete set no need for any other cameras or lenses all my bases covered. <Fuji X-E1 (with Ir720Nm), xf35mm f/1.4 and xf18-55 f/2.8-4 lens plus my X100s and the 23mm fixed lens with the WCL and TCL converters>.

San Remo X-E1 (720Nm)
San Remo X-E1 (720Nm)
But, Fuji weren’t satisfied were they and I think maybe some users weren’t either, even though I was. Yes Fuji announced an improved X-Pro and X-T version. The X-Pro2 and the X-T2 came to market with yet still more improvements (more filters including an Acros simulation!) to the cameras with that little bit extra – MORE pixels! – 24 inactual fact. The X-E2s and X-T20 were to follow shortly. But here was a real conundrum being thrown to would be Fuji buyers – More pixels and what was more the new X100F was being heavily rumoured. When will it all stop, I was asking myself. Well I know the answer to that one – it wont! But the pixel count was beginning to bother me. I checked this out and many reviewers were making comments. The X-Pro2 and X-T2 had lost something! Was it the increased number of pixels? Could be! One said and then another and another followed up with the same comment in their reviews. Too many pixels.

So, now do I upgrade? Sell the… Wait a minute I can’t. The X-E1 is well not worthless but converted for infrared and there wont be many takers. The X100s? I could upgrade to the ‘F’ but again do I need that new version? Probably not… (for the Acros filter? I could make a good attempt in editing in Lightroom). So I came to the conclusion no need to upgrade, those two. But taking a look on various You Tube and blogs all these guys were talking about the X-Pro1 and what great value they are… This made me think… I’d always liked the Pro1 16mp against 24mp… Mmmm and some guys are saying the 16mp is the better version.. Focusing issues again the Pro1 is not as fast as the Pro2, ( I now Ive tested that), but on the street have you heard of zone focusing! How much are the Pro1’s? Refurbished through Fuji UK £300!!! That’s a steal. I have some spare cash still from some other sold gear and I placed the order. Fuji Gear Complete! Except where am I? Back where I was before with the Nikon gear, less a few lenses..

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The Gherkin X-Pro1
Well time went by and I still have the decisions to make when going out what camera to take out and that beautiful compact perfect X100s, was staying at home more and more. My go to camera for the street walkabouts was the X-Pro1! My X100s? It had to go – I cant hang on to it for a ‘just in case’ moment. So, I went online to MPB.com and requested a quote for it. Two days later I got the quote back at a reasonable price, I don’t have to worry about watching eBay bids and delivery costs plus the awful commission rates. Deal done and I signed it off. What I get for the X100s goes toward the Epson P600 printer! No more, cameras and lenses, I can’t see the point to upgrade – well for now anyways! The printer? Well I’ve always enjoyed printing my work and there is nothing better than to have the physical print in your hand, not lost on your hard drive – somewhere!

The lesson I’ve learnt, as many photographers have done so as well, it truly isn’t the camera that improves your photography – it’s your eye and practice.  More equipment doesn’t improve your photography either, it just improves your back and shoulder pain! Yes have equipment for specific jobs but not to the extent that you haven’t got a clue what to take out with you. Don’t buy the big bag for the ‘just in case’ moment – by the way that moment, it never arrives.

When I originally sold all my Nikon gear and bought onto Fuji, I was so delighted with the resulting images that I started a blog “One Camera One Lens“. That blog has gone a little quiet recently as I have ‘veered’ away from that ‘thesis’. Whilst I’m not back to that in terms of equipment I am at a point now that ‘I Know’ what I’m going to take out when I do go image hunting and what’s more – I leave my camera bag at home!

 

Until next time…

 

Shooting the Streets

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The best style of street photography is to get into the action. Get right into the subject matter don’t sit on the other side of the street with your tele-photo or zoom lenses and play ‘sneakey’ street. Many street photographers choose either 28, 35 or 50mm lens, some even user wider like a 14 and 18mm, for exactly that reason to get in ‘close’. For me my preference is the Fuji Xf35mm 1.4.

On a recent walkabout I chose to do something different (for me at least). The idea was to take faces in the crowd. I opened the lens up to f2 (for a shallow depth of field) set the shutter speed to around 1/250th with the

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ISO set to auto… I stood in the middle of the walkway and took photos of the walkers as they passed by me.

As you can see from the images here many show that a few of them spotted me and made eye contact. That’s what I was looking for. Blurred faces in the fore and background with the one face in sharp focus.

Not one questioned what I was doing – some smiled, some acknowledged me, but not one complained.

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It’s a really rewarding way to make street photographs, especially when you catch the face in the crowd, that reaction that quizzical look wondering what you are doing! It’s a process of street photography, that I will be returning to at a later date. Why not try it for yourself next time you’re out and about with your camera.

 

Until next time… All the best..

 

 

 

 

 

A Fashion and Lifestyle Photography Workshop.

 

29th April 2017 – A Workshop opportunity not to be missed!

Sign up Here!

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I’ve teamed up with Professional Photographer Roberto Aguilar to offer you this fantastic workshop where you will learn about lifestyle fashion shooting in the studio and liza_0149vf-2Urban surroundings.

He was the main photographer for a major worldwide hair company for eleven years, responsible for photographing all of their major world-wide campaigns for brands including Bed Head, Catwalk, S-Factor and Hair Reborn.

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Roberto considers himself a photography geek always thinking of subjects and different lighting. His world revolves around photography and is equally at home on location or in a studio.  He is known for his romantic and sexy imagery with a touch of class and strong composition. It will be held at Roberto’s Studio, Raspberry-Jam Studio in Battersea, London, Unit 3S (Second Floor) Hewlett House, Havelock Terrace Business Centre
London, SW8 4AS, London (map)

Fee – £165.00 per person

Check out The Roberto Aguilar web site that shows his stunning work.

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Don’t miss this opportunity.

To sign up for this exciting workshop click here

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Always with you!

imageThe smart phone, since the
introduction of a camera has given everyone the opportunity to make photographs. Just take a look when walking out in the city, the towns and countryside and see how many people are using the mobile phone to record an image of a scene or family photo!

Photography has never been so popular. The advantage of taking a photograph and then posting it to your website, Flickr, Instagram or Facebook is so compelling and easy to do it becomes almost addictive. Who would of thought the advent of a mobile phone would lead to not only the expansion of photography and photography apps but also the demiseimage of the small compact camera. The camera that’s installed into all the smartphones now produce excellent image quality. Yes it could be argued those images are only fit for screen either on a computer, iPad or just the phone. But have you tried to print them off. You’d be amazed what can be achieved at the printing stage. Check out Jack Hollingsworth, an avid Camera+ user, The Tiny Collective, especially Elif Gulen and Ben Lowy (documentarist and photo-war correspondent) also See here his article on Hipstamatic app from these guys you will see the amazing results that can be achieved.image

Having a camera with you all the time gives you endless opportunities in essence you shouldn’t really miss any opportunity of capturing a moment of interest, fun or intrigue. The camera can capably handle low light situations, OK its a little difficult to control depth of field, but to be honest that’s not what you re looking for from a mobile phone camera. These cameras are light, unobtrusive and so popular on the streets no one really takes notice of you using the camera. For this reason street photography has boomed! But there are so many other opportunities that present themselves when using such a camera. Not onlyimage image creation but also the ‘Apps’ that can be added to the phone to use instead of the standard default camera on the phone.

Hipstamatic is my choice but there are others such as Camera+, Tin Type, Pinhole, 100cameras in 1 and many, many more. The advantage I find with Hipstamatic is that you have countless options to change the film and lens giving you simply loads of creative opportunities in colour and mono. My favourites are using the JohnS lens + AO DLX film, Foxy + Robusta and Salvador84 + Dream Canvas for that reflective mood.

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Photography is a skill to be learnt, practiced to improve, on a regular basis and smart phone photography gives you just that. If you haven’t thought of using your camera phone on a regular basis, then it might be worth thinking again. Not only will you capture those previously missed chances, but at the same time you will be improving your photography.

If nothing more that’s worth thinking about, wouldn’t you say?

Click here to view my iPhone collection on Google+

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Street photography! A re-think.

street_12-04dscf0147Street photography has never been so popular. Everyone has a camera with them these days, even if it is only a smart phone. Going to work or simply out for a stroll there are great photo’ opportunities of sights, especially in the major cities; fellow commuters going to work; a sunrise; a sunset; an incident, architecture or even yes a homeless person or a busker!

But recently on my show (and this one in particular Photography ‘Live and Uncut’ with Scott Kelby), I have discussed the art of street photography, and comments have been raised, such as… Is there a need? Will it survive? What’s it for? Does it tell a story(?) oh! and ‘God’ for bid… It’s a sneaky practice really – come on Paul! In addition, I have noticed on the many social sites, especially Facebook, Flickr and Instagram, the consistent posts of what can only be described as ‘boring’ street photos (of which I have to be honest, I’m guilty of posting as well) – You know the type? The passer by; The old lady with shopping bags; The pretty girl etc. etc. These photographs and discussions have made me think.

My argument against it being a sneaky practice and its necessity, is that ‘street’ or should we say ‘documentary/social’ photography is not only a worthwhile practice but an essential one, as it documents life as it is today. You’re seeing fashion, style and behaviour of today… Imagine in the future when people are looking back on our society say 30 -40 years from now and there are no photographs to be seen! There maybe the videos yes, but looking at a photograph to me is that little bit more special. (I can’t put it any other way). To think, from where we are now in 2017, not being able to see life in the early 1900’s through the war years or 1914-18 and 1939-45 not to mention later wars and atrocities as well as the study of social activities and fashion, would be a huge lost gap in our lives and history, if those photographs were not available. So to put it that way the street/documentary image making is an essential genre.

img10But, what is happening today in this digital and social networking age we live in, is the insatiable appetite to record(photographically) anything and everything we see and post it out there, simply to get a like or a plus of the foodie, the pet, or some behaviour photo, which to me has no meaning an no Art creativity. What is more, we are seeing images posted by ‘the’ street professional photographers of today, which many are not looking to expand and improve their own work but rather to throw out to the networks the same old style of image making; I suppose it could be said of their reasons not to change, is that these images have got them noticed in the first place and they use social media to demonstrate their ‘skill’ to enhance their career for presentations, workshops and/or tutorials!

So how can we go about making street photographs in a different and more meaningful way? How can we create Art? Firstly look for photographers that are consistently looking to improve their work each time they venture out! Then sit down and look at your images and consider long and hard about the images ‘you’ are producing! How many of you (photographers) actually take the time to look at your work critically? How many of you look to yourself to improve on your previous work? How many of you set an assignment or mr_street-1204project? I bet nearly 99% of you reading this ‘blog’ probably don’t attempt any of the above! Photography is like riding a bike once you have done it, you know how to do it in the future. But you should be looking to compare the art of photography with say golf or playing a guitar; to get better you have to practice (nearly every day) and if you want to compete you have to be aware of your faults and look to correct them. Basically it means picking out the bad parts throwing them away and starting again! There are many sportsman that have done just that… Dedication got them to the top of their chosen profession. Why should it be any different for you and your photography. Because as photographers if we don’t look to improve on our previous work we will post the same old boring ‘stuff’ to the social sites. Which is why I think many onlookers of street photographs get bored with it and start to look on the negative side of our genre. Onlookers will start to say and ask those questions I mentioned earlier, its sneaky, and what’s the purpose of it, does it tell a “story”? By the way, I don’t think a photograph has to tell a story all the time, but at the least, be great and enjoyable to look at. There are many photographs of street scenes that I would love to hang on my walls at home, I might add more by others than by me!

Maybe we should start to look at taking photo’s in a different way. Should we look to be more open and not be timid or embarrassed about what we are photographing; show people what we have or are taking. Photographing by candid means of buildings and then appear to ‘chimp’ the image when actual factlonwalk_1215-8497 taking the ‘real’ photograph of someone or something right in front of us or another way pretending to text on the mobile phone as we take images with a camera IS the ‘sneaky’ side of street photography, which I feel is letting the genre down.

How about checking first if its OK to take a shot rather than after. Make conversation, ask the person to carry on naturally, talk about what they are doing as well as what you are doing, tell them what assignment and project you are working on. All these things I’m sure would improve your photographs and make you feel a little more easier with your self making street photogarphs.

We can’t be a Bruce Gilden, a Saul Leiter, an Henri Cartier-Bresson or even a Martin Parr. Study their work of course and use it as a reference but, if you attempt to be like them and ‘copy’ their style, then believe me you will fail! Dramatically…

Only be satisfied with your work for that last given event or time. Never be satisfied with your work! Continue to strive to improve on your last shoot. Otherwise your images will be become stagnant, boring, and you will lose followers of your social sites and eventually you will lose interest in the wonderful Art of Street Photography.

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#streetphotography, #art,

The Launch of The Fall (A new Magazine)

I was delighted to receive an invitation to attend the recent launch party of The Fall magazine.

fullsizeoutput_bd8In this day and age its surprising that some entrepreneurs would get together to create and start up a new photography based magazine. But this is no ordinary ‘Photo’ publication. The Fall, is not your usual ‘how to do it better’ photo periodical. There are no instruction sections; Seasonal projects; book ideas; and the dreaded ‘biased’ camera and lens reviews… How refreshing that is! It could even be considered a book rather than a magazine.

Why The Fall? F=Fashion; A=Art; L=Literature; L=Lifestyle….  The Fall could be considered a photographers GQ. Its all about great articles, great location shoots and stunning Photo projects with expert photographic direction. At 288 pages large there are no advertisements – which I’m sure will change in the future; for how can a magazine of such design survive. If you’re interested in fashion, lifestyle and portrait photography it has always been considered to study the various publications such as GQ, Esquire, Vogue, InStyle, and Tatler. The Fall can join that illustrious list, as it offers the photographer opportunities to get inside the photo shoot or project. With projects by photographers named on the front cover and others such as OriolKeith, Roberto Aguilar, Mahaffey and Lambrechts, plus the intuitive and considered articles by writers WassPerry and Pierce,  The Fall is a must buy for any photographer both professional and amateur alike, who should consider adding this to their periodical subscription list.

On my show “Photography Live and Uncut” (here’s a link to the live show), this week the photographic director of the magazine, Alex Lambrechts, (a top fashion and lifestyle photographer in his own right) will be joining me to talk more about The Fall, its background, his role and what they’re looking to do in the future.

The Fall has established its brand, lets hope the publication continues to produce quality articles and stunning images as this first edition has.

by Griffo

The Value of Workshops. by Paul Griffiths 11th January 2017

It’s around this time of the year that some of you have probably set some targets or made New Year resolutions to improve your photography. Maybe, join a camera club, read more books, study the masters, watch You Tube videos or maybe listen to the odd interview! But, there’s nothing better than getting out street_12-04dscf0147with your camera ‘taking’ or rather making images. For those that enjoy Street Photography you will be aware of the Photo walkabouts, but it could be argued that these are not necessarily the best option to learn from. A walkabout typically starts off with good intent of a group sticking together but as with many they slowly disintegrate, as many attendees drop away, get lost or sometimes decide on another route. Not really the type of event to gain more tips and skills from. Yes, in may cases you can make some really good friends on a walkabout and there’s nothing better than to spend the best part of the day, talking about cameras, gear and sharing photographs. Practice makes perfect! Your photography will improve if you practice! You no doubt have heard these statements? Well they are true, nearly, as long as you are ‘guided’ the correct way to practice!

Inevitably, the ardent photographer, will start to xt10_street-1176look for better options as they search for their insatiable “want” for learning and to improve, would probably be better suited to a “Photography Workshop”. Whether you prefer working outdoors or indoors you will find one to suit you. In such an event of not more than 6-8 people, you will invariably get a ‘hands on’ tutor who encourages and can demonstrate camera skills and be prepared to be taken out of your ‘comfort zone’. That’s the best way to learn! Not to repeat the way you have worked so many times before, but to be shown another way, a different and successful way, which the tutor has used with great effect.

london_24-11_dscf9822This is what we at ‘Photography Live and Uncut’ intend to offer the photographer; a workshop that will teach you new skills, to try different ways to make photos; take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to look and to be observant. The workshops will be either studio based or out on the streets, depending on your preferred genre. Whichever photo’ interest you prefer, we want to ‘share our knowledge’ with you, to ensure you gain the most from the event experience and improve your photography.

Go to Photography Live and Uncut workshops for more details of future events.liza_0149vf-2         img_2089

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle and fashion photos ©Roberto Aguilar

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