It’s early Saturday afternoon on a hot humid day where there are plenty of grey skies over Rochester in England. I decided to make my way into Rochester town center with my trusted Olympus Pen F to shoot a few photographs.
It got me thinking as to what are my motivations towards capturing photographs before I set off. In general I try to keep an open mind as to what I may photograph as in reality its impossible to know what may happen on any given day and that’s the unpredictability that I enjoy about street photography. Although the idea of going to Rochester doesn’t send excitement through my veins because overall its a sleepy town but I am committed to street photography and need to explore most days.
Always set the camera up before you start work
The first thing I do is to prep my camera and make sure its in the right shooting mode and the exposure triangle is set up to how I want to capture street scenes.
I’m ten minutes into my walk into town when an opportunity arises of a guy sitting in the bar. The door is open and I catch him sitting there as I walk pass. I decide to get the picture so double back and grab a shot before he lifts his head. What caught my eye was his body language and the way he was hunched over concentrated on some aspect of his life at that moment. The fact he is alone adds some tension to the scene and introduces the isolation which is a key theme in my work. His white shirt and fair hair is a good contrast to the darker environment helping to draw him out of the background and keeps the composition on point.
I move on with the first shot in the bag. I do not look at this picture so wont know of its potential until I get home. I keep walking towards the town center.
It is good to be selective when shooting street photography
I walk the whole length of the high street without pressing the shutter release button again. It happens that way sometimes. There is nothing happening that stirs my imagination and I’m not one for taking a photo just for the sake of taking a photo. It is good to be selective when shooting street photography and not to go around shooting everything that moves. I like to enjoy the ride as well through diligent observation and questioning what may or may not work as a photograph.
I run into someone I know who has a stall on the high street and is selling her personal art objects to tourists, but she informed me she had not sold anything so far. I moved on out of the high street and around the corner to the castle. I became interested in this guy in front of me as I walked up the slope towards the castle back roads. It was his hunched body language that made me snap the photograph. Again the theme of isolation came into play and I framed him center to increase this tension of loneliness. I like the play of tones within the image and the textures on show. All in all its never going to be an award winner but it keeps a sense of theme to this afternoon stroll in Rochester.
Consider the elements of art in Form, Light & Space
I walk pass the castle and back into the high street where I come across this couple standing staring at a sign and again I am drawn by their body language and their closeness. It is opposite to isolation and they seem very connected and far from lonely. One of the methods of my madness are the words form, light and space which hang like coats from coat hangers in my mind ready to come into their own as soon as I raise my camera to my eye. They have become like faithful friends always on hand and ready to be expressive in my photography language.
I decide to head home via the back streets and through some of the alley ways that is a feature of Rochester. I stumble across these rubbish bins stacked outside a row of terracing which attract my photographic eyes if for nothing else other than the shapes and their organic design. I have always liked natural compositions and find they make for interesting photographs that intrigue and potentially touch on social documentary. This turns out to be my last photo of the afternoon as I head home for a fresh pot of coffee.