Saturday, 9 September 2017

Workshops; Are they worth it?

On Saturday I did something I thought, I'd never do and that was to go on a street photography workshop. The reason I never thought I'd go on one is because I was never sure that I would learn anything from one.

Now there are probably hundreds if not thousands of these workshops going on, they seem to be quite popular with a lot of people running them as well as attending them.

The one I was on had twelve attendees plus two 'instructors'.  My reason for attending was that I felt my photography had stalled and I felt I needed help to move forward.
 
The workshop was centred around Soho which is an area I am quite familiar with.

We were separated into two groups to go and do some street exercises,  which was basically walking up and down Gerrard and Lisle Street (Chinatown) acting more like a tourist than a street photographer.  The exercise to me felt pretty pointless and didn't really add anything to the way I would shoot or like to shoot. 

Endless Love
Could I have captured this image without a workshop?
Answer: Yes


This went on for about an hour, and with very little feedback from the instructors after this we broke for lunch which was in Costa, with such a big group, it wasn't easy to chat to the instructors unless you were sitting close to them and they didn't seen to be talking that much anyway.

I spent more time talking to a couple of the other attendees, mainly about cameras and the different workshops they had been on, for some this was they third or four different workshop!

After lunch we moved into Trafalgar Square and was shown a few examples of abstract street photography and told to a find similar things, this time we were told to just wander around and more or less left to our own devices.

There was some kind of demonstration going on, in the top part of the square so this was easy to pick up shots around here, but again nothing that I wouldn't normally shoot on a Saturday in London. 

We were give around an hour to 'work' in the square, I shot some stuff but have to admit the square isn't one of my favourite places to shoot, its to open and as silly as it sounds, there are to many tourists.

I spent a fair bit of time talking to another attendee, who didn't think it was a good workshop, his comment was 'it was more like a sponsored photowalk'.

Red Hat
Ok; not a great image but no better or worse for being on a workshop

While walking around I did bump into one of the instructors but he didn't ask how things were going or pass on any advise on where or what to look for.

Next we move on to Soho and again there was some vague instructions about light coming into the streets and how to use it. 

Again Soho is a regular shooting area and  I know the streets well and where to look for shots and good light and again we were left to ourselves to wander around and to met up again in a hour.

So I just walked the usual route of Berwick St, Broadwick St, Carnaby St, Brewer St and Wardour St.  By now the light was starting to fade, so it was a quick trip back to Chinatown and a quick walkthrough what we had 'learnt during the day'.  

Silhouette
Not difficult when you know where to look


A few of us swapped instagram handles and there was talk of a hashtag to attach to any images uploaded but as yet, neither of the instructors have acknowledged anything I have posted.  I never had a real chance to ask any of the others what they thought of it but not sure that this is the done thing.
I tend to be quite obsessive with any thing I do, be it music, books, collecting memorabilia and will consume vast amount of information on a given subject, I can honestly say that I have learnt more watching youtube than I did on this workshop. 

Over the last few years I have put on photowalks, and have always tried to make them interesting, mainly because its something I want to do.  Usually it is just a core group of people I called friends but sometimes an acquaintance will come along and I try to help them with as much information as I can to help them enjoy a trip to London.

These are my thoughts a week after the workshop and I'm still not it 100% sure how I feel. I don't think the workshop was worth the money, there wasn't enough interaction with us (the attendees) the structure of the workshop was quite flimsy and personally I think there were to many people attending.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Swap Crazy

Since my last post, it seems as print swapping is becoming a bit of a crazy.

Along with the Magnum one, which has now closed; there are two others that have appeared online.

The first is Photography on a postcard which will give the winners a change to be displayed along side artists like, Martin Parr, Dougie Wallace, Homer Sykes and many more well known artists.

Entry is free, and up to images can be entered, and with a shortlist of 200 being exhibited in October. Although not actual a print swap, the public will have a change to buy a ticket which will guarantee a photograph.

The second is part of Hoxton Mini Press' Street London Symposium, The Symposium is a three event over the 18-20 August and part of this is a Print Swap. This one allows up to 5 images to be entered and again a shortlist of 200 will be chosen.

Full details of both events can be found on their websites.


 Joel Meyerowitz exhibition at Beetles+Huxley


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Fairs, prints and zines



Ed Templeton @71a London

For the majority of this year. I have felt pretty uninspired when taking pictures. Nothing felt new or interesting, I even started a project to try to make me to go out and shoot images, this has help but is now on hold for a few months but some other inspiring things have come along which I hope will help me to feel good about photography again.

The first of these was the Deadbeat Club's exhibition at 71a London.  The thing I liked was the down and dirty aspect of it, no fancy frames just images either pinned to a wall or hung with bulldog clips. It was all so grungy, so far removed from the usual stuff we would see at Beetles and Huxley or the Photographers gallery. Their whole ethos seems to be go and enjoy the taking of images but also support each other when the time comes.

This is alien to me, as I find photography quite a solitary pastime, I have shot with others but can find this counterproductive as we can spend more time talking than shooting and outside support is only from likes on social media. I am usually happy at looking at my own images and deciding what is good or bad (some may say the're all bad) but sometimes it would be nice to have a second option from people that shoot is the same genre, and have an understand of what you are trying to convey.

Offprint London

The second was Offprint London, an independent and self-publisher book fair held in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Along with some high end book by the likes of Daido Moriyama, there were loads of small self published works covering art, writing and especially photography.  There were some pretty random stuff along with run of the mills photo essays, which again got me thinking that there would be no reason for me, not to have a try at producing a small run photozine.

I feel as though images should be more than just 1s and 0s on a computer screen and the best way forward with this is either as prints or zines.

A collection of zines

Prints


My final piece of inspiration comes from a post on the Magnum website about swapping prints with other photographers. Now I know the article is talking about well-known high end photographers and we normal's don't have a chance to swap with them.

But surely within our own social media group this is a possibility, I have read that like click don't really mean that much but surely a like means you like that particular and if offered the change of a print of it, wouldn't you take it?

Print swaps may already be going on and I have join the party later than all the rest.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Art of the brick


Art of the brick are DC Comic book Superheroes and Villains sculptures make from Lego.

There are over 120 artworks, with some standing 2ft high, others larger than life, all made from over 2 million Lego bricks.

 The exhibition is housed in a tent at the back of the Southbank in London.


Friday, 14 April 2017

"Are you a professional photographer?"

The Shard


"Are you a professional photographer?"

I was asked this yesterday whilst taking the above image, by a workman/security.  My reply was does it matter, he then proceeded to tell me that I couldn't take pictures there, had to explain that, one I was taking a picture of the Shard and two I was on a public road and had a right to take pictures there.

I did ask him, if being a professional would make any difference and he mumbled something I didn't hear.  He then disappeared to the back of the yard, and reappeared along with a friend who asked the same question, to which I gave the same answer.

I did hear mention of Police; but not to me, so I hung around for an extra 10 minutes but either the Police were to busy or it was just a bluff to frighten me away.

Moral of the story, know your rights, stand your ground because photography isn't illegal (yet!).