Saturday, 18 June 2016

Through the eyes of Alex Webb

Yesterday evening we descended upon Leica City in the Royal Exchange to hear a talk by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image. Polly's hero is Alex Webb, but she's also a massive fan of Matt Stuart whom I attended a Leica Street Photography workshop with a year or so ago. I offered to introduce them and she found it difficult to stop shaking his hand once she'd started. Actually, he didn't stay for the talk because he said he had to run home and be a daddy (not just that he was scared of Polly). After the talk, I mentioned to Alex our obsession with triangles because of his love of a triangular composition, and he looked as alarmed as Matt had earlier. He's just told us that he doesn't intellectualise have enough to, he leaves that you others (Polly).


Alex Webb is an intriguing Street photographer, he has a unique and distinctive style. I can admire much of his work but find some of his images too noisy, too busy and cluttered for my tastes. When I review my own street photography I prefer the images with cleaner lines, negative space and punches of color or all monochrome. I particularly struggle achieving photography calmness at a street market, especially Portabello Road market. So imagine my delight with today's London Street Photography Meetup challenge with channelling Alex Web and his style at Portobello Road Market.


I did find today's challenge difficult, as I suspected I would. I think I managed to locate some tenuous triangles. I rather liked the photo of the paparazzi descending on the extravagantly dressed Indian gentleman with silk flowers on his shoes, a multitude of vibrant scarves and his headdress adorned with plastic fruit. I left the nose in top right, I decided that it added to my attempt to channel Alex Webb. I don't know why, but in homage to him, I've opted to not intellectualise it!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

London rebel!

Today the London Street Photography Meetup Streettogs had to immerse ourselves in the street art and street markets of the rain! In the glorious June weather we were lurking and waiting for people to walk into the frame and become, albeit briefly, part of the artwork.

I particularly admire those who'd put some effort into coordinating with the wall behind them. The dark-haired women in the purple top cycling past the raven headed graffiti women in purple, the boy with the stripe on his tracksuit matching the stripe in the wall and even the women with the yellow scarf on carrier bag. And a few pedestrians were considerate with their umbrella colours too.

It's a popular past-time of strolling around Shoreditch and Brick Lane photographing the ever-changing graffiti. However, as Polly took pains to tutor us, it's not enough to take a photo of someone else's artwork and call it street photography, that's more like a documentary. To make it our own we must find our own take on it, wait for a passersby to complete the image, and then it becomes your artwork.


I must admit I enjoyed the art part better than the markets, and was very much taken with my first visit to the fabulously vibrant painted wall and the facing mirrors of Chance Street.



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Lurkations in London Bridge

Our midweek London Street Photography Meetup (to make up for none last weekend) was entitled Lurking in London Bridge. Polly's choice of location meant that my journey was a mere descent of our lift, so I actually managed to not be late!


The remit was we'd scout a suitable location (or lurkation, as we prefer to call it) and wait (and wait) for characters to enter our chosen stage, all whilst being surveilled by the ever-eager security guards. You can take a photo of the Shard (though they'd probably rather we didn't) but standing in one spot for 20 minutes photographing shadows falling onto the blinds of the Shard is mighty suspicious! I was challenged, but in a curiously passive way. "Are you taking photos of shadows?". Response, "yes!" "Ah, okay then!"...mumbles into walkie talkie..."Yes, she's taking photos of shadows..."


I chose three main lurkations, plus two subsidiary spots and shot nearly 250 photos - that's a lot of lurking and a lot of whittling down!