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Showing posts from 2016

The street as a stage for photography

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.

Paul
www.indigo2photography.com

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 …

Capturing the decisive moment

Two ladies pass on the street. Their hands, legs and expressions mirror each other. Both carry document folders, both are taking a step with their heel on the ground. They are unaware of each other.

It's a perfect Cartier-Bresson style decisive moment.

I believe that you make images, you don't take them. In photography, luck and serendipity always play their part. The unpredictability is what makes it so exciting. You never know exactly what you're going to get but you can plan and control a lot of elements that will help you make better images.

Walking down the street looking for a background that could work as a 'stage' or canvas, I saw this interesting blue wall. I set up and waited for something to happen. Minutes went by. I waited. People passed but nothing caught my eye. I waited.

Then I saw these two ladies approaching from opposite directions and I knew I had a potential image. The thing that struck me was how determined they both looked, striding purposeful…

Photographs that last

Some images earn a permanent place in your portfolio. Let's take a look at one of my favourites.

In this image a couple react as a large wave crashes over the promenade. People often play this game with the waves. Sometimes with tragic consequences.

I shot this on a Hasselblad, on film, using an 80mm lens. So I was close to the action. One chance. One exposure. I pressed the shutter button and just had time to spin around to protect the camera with my body, as the spray engulfed us.

I had been waiting for a moment like this when all the elements would come together.

The spray blurs because of the speed of movement. It reveals the force of the wave. Both the man and woman have a foot off the ground, giving the image a sense of urgency and action. I love the way the dog's ear is flying up and this movement is echoed by the lady's urgent hand gesture.

That hand gesture is the essence of the image. It's an instant protective gesture, which says so much about the sense of …

Inspiration from Joe McNally

Joe McNally shares his photography story and offers insights into the challenges an editorial photographer faces. I hope you enjoy this video featuring one of my favourite photographers.




"Joe McNally is a 25-year contributor to National Geographic and a former staff photographer at LIFE. Working in 54 countries and all 50 states, he has photographed cover stories for virtually every significant magazine of our times. One of his best-known series of photographs is the Giant Polaroid Collection, known as “Faces of Ground Zero,” shot immediately after 9/11. He also photographed the first all-digital story in the history of National Geographic. This is Joe’s 11th year teaching at the Workshops. His web site is joemcnally.com; his blog is joemcnally.com/blog."

I'll be back with more inspiration soon.

Comments welcome.

Paul
www.indigo2photography.com

Inspiration from Jay Maisel

Jay Maisel has inspired and mentored many photographers. In this video he shares his story, how he started and more about how some of his famous images were created. He punctuates excellent advice and insight with dry humour. Like most great photographers, he follows a quest to find beauty in the world around us.

If you want to feel good and feel inspired watch this...


"Jay Maisel is known for color photography that uses light and gesture to create images for advertising, editorial, and corporate communications. His work also appears in books and in private and corporate collections. His honors include the American Society of Media Photographers’ Lifetime Achievement and Photographer of the Year awards, the International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award, and induction into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. A graduate of Cooper Union and Yale University, Jay continues his education by teaching. This is his 16th year teaching at the Workshops. His web site is jaymaisel.co…

Catching the photographer's eye

As photographers we are always looking. Then something catches our eye. Our brain tells us that there's something interesting.

This is the moment the photographer needs to pause and figure out what exactly it is that caught their attention. Here it was obvious. The hair, the lipstick, the colours and their personalities.

So I asked these young ladies and they kindly agreed to pose for a portrait.

Often photographers will take a picture without thinking about what the exact element is that got their attention. The result is a photo that's not close enough. As Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.” He meant that the reason for taking the picture has to fill the frame.

In this case it was colourful makeup, hair and style. I cropped in tight to emphasise these elements. Their expressions convey their different personalities. We have a moment here, in Jay Maisel's words, where "light, colour and gesture" come togeth…

Photographic seeing is different

It's true. Photographers see the world differently. It's hard to explain how we see things. The example above together with the explanation below may help to understand what goes on in my brain when making an image.

The wall with it's artwork set the stage. People passed by. I took several images. Then this guy paused for awhile with his tablet.

I thought it would be cool if I could link him, compositionally, to someone passing in the sunlight in the background. Then along came this lady. She shaded her eyes looking for someone up the street.

I waited and pressed the shutter, and every element came together in the frame. The woodwork forms frames within the frame. The tail shadows and alignment of feathers of the parrot echo the light and angle of the lady's leg. There's an interesting dynamic and angles around the man and the lady. They are together and yet separate. Even the butterfly painted on the wall behind the man's head creates a quirky detail.

An extr…

Go create

As I look through our photos each one brings back a treasured memory. We capture so much of our lives in images. When I look through my archives long forgotten moments come back to life. They truly are a diary of our lives.



Some of these images are photographically not the greatest pictures on earth. Not every click is a masterpiece. Each image has a personal value and then there are images which have something more, the power to communicate an idea and emotionally engage an audience.

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt over the years is to take pictures for myself first.  Every image I make is personal work. Some images are taken just to capture a memory, just for me.

These days everyone's a photographer. People share their photographs on the internet and many people call themselves amateur photographers. In other words they are interested in photography as a hobby and want to learn to take better pictures. They upload their images and receive ‘likes’. Sadly rather than mak…

Video interview with Tom Stoddart

An insightful video interview with Tom Stoddart, one of the world’s most respected photojournalists.

Tom talks about his work, how he became a photojournalist and how he uses photography to tell the story.

Please watch in HD.
Tom Stoddart from Neale James on Vimeo.
Credits:

Film by Neale James
Photography by Tom Stoddart
Music licensing by Audio Jungle and Triple Scoop
Further information: neale@breathepictures.com

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Till soon,
Paul
www.indigo2photography.co.uk