The great British jazz pianist Stan Tracey sadly passed away today. Stan lead the UK music scene for many years and his album ‘Under Milk Wood’ is a jazz classic. He will be sadly missed by all who had the joy of listening to him play. I had the great pleasure of photographing him at the Swanage Jazz Festival in 2010. RIP Stan!
There will be a photographers get-together every first Tuesday of the month at Caffe Momento in Guildhall square, Southampton at 5 p.m. Everyone with an interest in photography is invited. The first meeting will be on Tuesday 2 December, and the first coffee is compliments of London Camera Exchange, Southampton. Whether you just have a coffee, one of their delicious cakes or a meal is up to you. It will be kept very informal, just a chance for like-minded people to get together for an hour or so. It would probably be helpful if I know who is likely to be there.
I have been gradually adding new work to my ‘Street Photography’ gallery, and there is a slide show you can view by clicking on this link. I hope you enjoy the images, and maybe smile at one or two. I am afraid it appears the slide show may be a bit slow to start, but once it is underway it is fine, so hang in there.
The other day I was listening to a TV programme about filming wildlife by one of the BBC’s top cameramen, and he made the comment that it was important that you study your animal in it’s natural habitat. Stating the blindingly obvious he stated that you should know the animals habits, where it likes to eat and drink and what pathways it likes to travel along. That way you are ready to get the great shots because you know it’s behaviour and you can often be one jump ahead of the animal by being prepared for what it will do next under any given set of circumstances. Pretty obvious you would think – AND THEN IT SUDDENLY HIT ME!!!
People are animals too, whether we like to accept it or not. Exactly the same rules apply in street photography as they do in shooting wildlife. We need to know good habitats for the human animals, where they like to eat and the pathways they like to follow at any particular time of day. Basically we need to know all of their habits, and how they deal with all the situations that life throws at them whether they are good or bad.
It is only by the study of the human animal and it’s life style that we can become successful street photographers. Whether it is a gesture, a laugh, a grimace or whatever can we ever hope to get that image which is a fleeting moment – the famous ‘decisive moment’ of Cartier-Bresson’s teaching. It is essential we do as much groundwork as the very best wildlife photographer if we are to successfully shoot the wildlife that is the human animal.
I have been away from my blog for far too long whilst I deal with the sad loss of my darling wife Pat, who died on 23 September whilst we were on a trip to Barcelona. She had cancer for 15 years and I am afraid it got her in the end, quite suddenly and unexpectedly. We had been married for 44 years less a few days, and I am obviously devastated by her passing. She was a talented writer and artist who never recognised her own gifts, but more importantly she was a loving and caring companion and mother who is missed dreadfully by all around her. I have set up a tribute page to Pat so that you may help Macmillan cancer charity to help others fight the scourge that took her from me too early.
All religions have birth ceremonies, marriage ceremonies and death ceremonies, and I have wanted to do a project to show the similarities rather than the differences for many years. It should therefore come as no surprise that when I was offered the chance to photograph the life of a small local free church I jumped at the chance.
Lighthouse is a Christian group which aims to outreach in an inner city area, especially to members of the strong Asian Indian community. Formed 30 years ago by two like-minded people, it has grown to a congregation of up to 300, and because it was their thirtieth year I was asked to record some of their year. I centered on 3 main events, a study group looking at ‘Why Jesus?’, a Passion Play, and the thirtieth celebrations themselves (which were held in a ‘borrowed’ church because of possible numbers). These images are from those three events.
This project was shot on the Fujifilm X-Pro1 using the 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses using iso speeds up to 6400iso and was post-processed in Lightroom 5 and SilverEfex Pro2. I am very pleased (honoured) to say that it has now been published on the Social Documentary web site here.
I want to thank all those who assisted me with their patience at my intrusion into their devotion.
One of the greatest pleasures of photography is the interesting people you meet along the way.
The small village of Honningsvåg sits firmly some 600miles (1,000km) inside the Arctic Circle and just about as far north as you can go in Europe without falling off the edge. The 1.21 sq. km. city (yes, it is a ‘city’ by special decree of the Norwegian government) has a population of just around 2,500 people and yet they are regularly invaded by cruise ships spilling their contents on to the streets, outnumbering the local population in most cases.
It is, of course, a mixed blessing and one or two of the local Sami people compete with the large souvenir shop with its ‘Made in China’ trinkets to sell paper knifes and earrings etc. made from the bones of the reindeer that provide there living. These are people who have been herding reindeer for generations, it is the only life they know. They do not regard themselves as part of Norway but are Sápmi, the indigenous people of the European Arctic.
I got in to conversation with the kind lady who was selling her wares (and who spoke excellent English) and after a few jokes asked if I could photograph the older lady (the grandmother). After a few words the lady kindly agreed. It was an honour to have a few intimate moments with this lady who had lived a life that I can only imagine, and I will remember those moments for a very long time.
People allow us into their lives when we photograph them. It is an honour and we should never take it lightly. I sincerely hope that I have done her justice and hope she will remember me as fondly.
Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 60mm lens. 1/400th at f8 and 400iso. Post-processed using Lightroom 5.