Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas market image explained

From my new  #CreativeInsights video series.

In this video I explain the composition and why I think the image works. View the photo here Happy with sausage A man looks forward to tucking into a giant sausage on baguette at the German Christmas market in Leeds.

Thanks for watching. More to follow in the New Year.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The photo and the experience are different

It’s hard to take a photograph that does it justice.

This is one of my favourite views in the world, looking toward Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak Drive.

You stand there with the wind plucking at your clothes, enveloped by the smell of fynbos mixed with sea air and you feel the heat radiating from the rocks and ground around you.

Your heart beats a little faster as you try to take in the immense grandeur of the Cape Peninsula at the South Western tip of Africa.

How can you put this experience into an image? One way is to add a description, as I have done here. Captions are immensely important. But a photographer has other tools as well. Using the language of light, composition, colour and gesture all help us convey the feeling of what was like to see what we saw and photographed.

It's a real challenge and something to think about.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Street photography. More than snapping people

Strangers united
This lady stepped forward, curious, and at that moment I noticed that she was aligned with two other people in the background. Instinctively I pressed the shutter, uniting this little group of strangers in a photographic composition.

The image gives form to the idea that we are constantly physically and mentally joining groups, sometimes at random and at other times out of choice, like the tour party in the background, aware or unaware of our behaviour.

I am pleased I noticed the moment everything clicked into place.

For me street photography is far more than just taking random snaps of people in the street.

Till soon,

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Tiny details that matter

On the Burg in Brugge looking toward the Tompouce, terrace filled with people enjoying the sunshine. In the background you see the Halletoren. Brugge is a magical place.

I particularly liked the way the light etched out the gables and lit the terrace and the small group standing chatting on the Burg. To the left of the frame the light is just catching the greenery in the flower boxes at the edge of the terrace. The lady with the grey hair on the left sitting in the sunshine helps balance the composition. All of these tiny details come together to create an interesting image.

A few minutes later and the beauty created by the light had gone. It’s one of those moments. When you see it you have to grab it.

Till soon,


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Photographer exploring the world

Raindrops colour abstract
Raindrops travelling down the window in little rivulets have always fascinated me. At night together with the lights of the city they make for a lovely abstract and colourful image. Beauty can be found everywhere, in the ordinary and in the extraordinary.

I don’t want to have a certain style, a look or only ever photograph one subject. I want to be free to explore and discover new things, the beauty in people, colours, shapes, landscapes food, black and white… everything.

The only parameter I consistently apply is to avoid over manipulation and digital trickery to create a fake scene. When you look at my work what you see is what I saw when I was there.

Thank you for visiting my blog.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The street as a stage for photography

Stepping out on stage
I’ve often thought of the street as a stage. It’s a place where life happens in front of your eyes. People go about their business, communicate with each other and generally keep moving to their destinations.

The street is a place of transition. As a photographer you can set the scene, a blank stage and then wait for magic moments. That’s how I got this shot. The perfectly matching colours of his hat ribbon, the movement, the way things all align to create a colourful composition.

If you’re a street photographer you’ll understand the joy of seeing an image come together, like this, in a fraction of a second, as you stand there camera in hand.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Powerful images are not necessarily perfect

I saw this long row of porters struggling under the weight of the heavy barrels on their backs. Every step seemed difficult. They were crossing a street next to the harbour in Istanbul. Each time a fellow porter would turn around and help the man behind him step up onto the pavement.

Instantly I saw it as symbolic, this human gesture. I was a long way off and ran flat out to get closer. The porters in the photo were the last two in the row. I knew that if I didn't stop and take the shot I would miss it. So out of breath I screeched to halt, still quite a long way away and zoomed to 200mm, pressing the shutter to capture the moment they gripped each other hands.

The picture is not perfect. I should have had more of the man foot and the pavement. But this is one of those examples where the emotion in the image is so powerful, it is not important. The image communicates something about the human condition.

It one of those rare shots that stays in people's minds. It been praised by art directors, curators, won awards, been in exhibitions and has taken on a life. I am proud of it.

It another example of what I have continued to do in my photography: see, anticipate and capture the decisive and expressive moment.

The photograph was taken in Istanbul in 1987, on 400 ISO black and white HP5 Ilford film and printed in my darkroom.

Thanks for reading.