I never leave the house without my camera, always wear comfortable shoes and when on the street I look around and take as many photographs as I can. Am rarely happy with all of them, I might shoot 80 pics and if 2 or 3 are keepers then am very lucky.
It’s not always about the sharpness but it is always about the light.
I love my photography and am lucky to be in a position where its not my main source of income so this leaves me time to perfect the art of flanerie and freedom to find beauty in the banal.
adventures of an Old Bird, Americana, art, chippy, creativity, Dawn Mander, diner, documenting Blackpool, everybody street, fish and chip shop, Harry Ramsden's, life, photography, photography is art, tables and chairs, women in street, women street photographers
When passing a window and something makes you stop and view the scene before you, you then have to convince the owner of the closed diner to open the doors and let you in for 5 minutes, you’ll be quick, really quick you promise him, you just have to get in and try to capture the image that was calling to you through the window. The table, those legs, the red benches, the repeated red slats on the benches, the glass window, everything perfect, everything so clean and quiet but it was the salt cellar and the vinegar bottle that brought it all together for me.
Using flash and getting as close as possible on the streets these last months, trying to fill the frame but show there’s more to the story continuing outside the frame.
Capturing a story on the street is, for me, the hardest part of street photography , as ‘street’ gets more and more popular with everyone and we are all out there with a camera of some sort, it is easy to just point and shoot, we do it in the hope that we’ll catch something worth keeping, posting and maybe even printing but I often found mine were just snaps of people ‘milling about’.
So, with this in mind this last winter I promised myself I would be more selective in what I try to capture, would get as close as possible with a prime lens and use a small off camera flash gun. Have found that the more am on the street the more I enjoy my photography and the more inspired I am to try something different. Fill a frame, catch a story and hope the viewer can see that there’s a story on the street. I have been organizing photowalks and encouraging friends and students to get out on the streets and do it, just do it. Get close, fill the frame, try and capture that one subject that looks straight into your lens, straight at you, it’s a great feeling and so liberating with small flash. Enjoy!
One of those moments when was walking along a busy main road about 9 at night and saw this image through a hotel bar window. It’s one of those scenes that I have no idea why I like it or why I have this mad feeling of having to capture it before someone walks in to the room and sits at a table ruining the loneliness. Still, the feeling was there and so I took the shot, mumbling to self about low light, dodging passersby and trying not to get a self portrait in the reflection but happily it all seemed to work. Maybe not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but I really do like it and it’s looking like yellow leatherette could be a contender for favorite greasy spoon decor. “Red leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow…..
Have to be honest and admit that up until these last few months I was never a huge fan of Bruce Gilden. I always found his method of using flash up close and personal, shooting the unsuspecting public on the street, a little too intrusive and rude. But have to admit that having tried it myself this last winter, it is harder than it looks and takes courage and a lot audacious impertinence.
When I heard about the ‘Strange & Familiar’ exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery I knew that this was an opportunity to see just what Gilden was really saying with his brusque manner.
And I was really blown away…a great day spent wandering through the rooms with images beautifully displayed, thinking to myself one visit wasn’t ever going to be enough to absorb the details, locations and characters in all the images. Then I saw them…
..displayed across one wall, these huge violently grotesque color portraits, four faces staring back at me complete with every type of blemish, pimples, spots, cuts and bruises, nostril hairs, caked makeup, toothless gums and furrowed brows. What a spectacle these faces are and what a privilege to see them, love each one, spots and all! Will be going back again and will be venturing out with my off camera flash just to see if I can ever muster up the courage to capture a stranger close enough to see the downy hair on their cheeks or the veins on a bulbous nose.
Above images were taken at the exhibition and am quite pleased with the result but also realize that if not for Gilden these would be bland everyday images of people just milling about. Would love him to come to Blackpool and see what he could capture on the streets of the best coastal town in UK.
Call me crazy …I just love the color, symmetry and simplicity of this ‘chillin’ space at Ramp City in Blackpool.
Worn,torn red leatherette seats and scuffed mustard yellow walls …Americana in Blackpool. I love it!