It was Sunday early in July so I headed down to the coast to a small town called Dymchurch just to be by the sea as much as shooting street photography. In general it is too small a town for intense street photography but if you have a semblance of patience then you may be able to pick up a few jewels if you are willing to put in the spade work or footwork as the case may be. I frequently visit this town mostly to escape the bigger urban civilizations and to recharge my batteries so to speak. This town basically consists of a single road that runs the entire length of the high street around a thousand yards in length. It can get busy here on a hot summer day as there is a fairground for the families to enjoy at the other end of this photograph that I took and plenty of fish and chip shops to feed the masses. But today my first photograph shows how this place can sometimes become just an empty town especially in the winter. Once this photo has been taken I cross the road and walk up to the beach which is just over the back of those buildings on the left hand side. The beach itself is incredible as it is a vast sprawl of sand when the tide is out, which does go out hundreds of yards, believe me. It goes so far out the water seems to disappear over the horizon but when it comes back the tide comes in very swiftly. I walk up a dirt track to get to the beach and come across these 3 run down garage buildings that is the kind of thing I love to find in these small towns as they really are full of character and are storytellers in their own right. It’s like they have just been left and nature is moving back to reclaim what is rightly hers. I try a few different compositions but settle on this one shooting through a nearby bush that helps to frame the garages and cut into some of the bland sky. When you become entrenched into the photography language then seeing potential subjects in abstract ways helps to build your photographic prowess.
It does take time to develop a photographic style of your own and is something that will stand you out from other photographers in the long run. When there are few people around with which to shoot street photography then it forces you to explore other potential subject matter that may not include people but does include the human condition and it can lead on to aspects of humour, irony etc. I first took a picture [below] of the ‘please do not feed seagulls’ sign which in itself was ok and has an aspect of humour to it but when I moved back a seagull suddenly landed on the wall next to the sign but a little too far away to include from the front position where I stood so I had to move very gingerly to my right so as not to scare the gull off. I tiptoed forward into position keeping the camera fixed to my eye so I could make a simple composition of the 2 elements key to the shot, the gull and the sign and using the sea wall as a diagonal line to draw the viewers eye from one to the other. I did not take many more photos whilst being by the sea but moved back into the high street for one final look before chilling in a coffee bar and then heading home up the M20. My last photograph kind of sums up this quaint old English town where they run an event called the ‘Dymchurch Day of Syn’. The sign hangs broken and some of the skeletal figures have been left outside a shop for another day. It goes to show you don’t always have to be in huge sprawling urban cities to get some decent and interesting street photographs. On the journey home I was blasting out Beethoven symphony number 4 just for the hell of it.
For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them. – Thích Nhat Hanh