The Next Step?

I have the camera & I have the ability to make good images so what should my next move be?

So at this moment in time i'm thinking could i make a living from this ? Its my dream to get that one commission that would get me out of the rat race but would it really get me out of the race?. The competition is fierce and you only have to put #travelphotography into instagram to find out there are millions of people all chasing that same dream. But this should not deter you or me from doing this thing that we love. As i go along on this wonderful journey its so easy for me to forget why i do photography. I do it because i genuinely love it and like i have stated in previous post's its like a form of mediation as it gets me out of me, which is priceless. But this does not stop me from dreaming of doing this for a living and after hours upon hours of research i have come to realise its a lot harder than i thought as Its a saturated market out there.  So do i throw the towel in ? sell my beloved camera ? sit at home waiting for that email or that message on facebook? or do i get out there and pound the streets for hours on end? because the image wont come to me. I have to get out there and learn from every mistake which is only going to make me better. Giving up is never the answer and this is not just about me doing photography for a living its about life in general because who knows what is in store for us and i would rather fail in trying than to have never tried at all. And has my very good friend Jed always points out to me its about letting go and letting it happen.  

But that does not take away my dream of doing this for a living but the more i push it the more it gets away from me and this causes frustration which then seeps into my work and then i go through that stagnation period which cuts off my creative juices and then it pops that little seed of doubt into my head about why i'm doing this and before you know it i'm back on the merry go round of self doubt. (see my previous blog about "Losing the Groove" )

So for me at this very moment in time as i sit here writing this blog i'm at a place where i have decided not push it too much because if its going to happen then it will happen i just have to keep chipping away by working on my photography and keep networking with like minded people and avoid the negative ones and who knows that dream job just might arrive but in the mean time i have to be grateful for what i have and stop trying to push square pegs into round holes. 



Tunnel Vision.

One of the reasons why I took up street photography was that I enjoy people watching its been a favourite past time of mine for many years which then encouraged me to pick up a camera and start documenting the things I see. But I can easily forget why I took up this style of photography in the first place and I can find myself getting "Tunnel Vision" by that I mean I can start hunting for that one shot instead of letting the shot come to me.

The action is not always in front of you its going on behind you as well, if you see an interesting street scene move around it see what it looks like from a different angle try a lower or higher point of view and wait for the right subject to walk through. These are the things that I can easily forget about when I have "Tunnel Vision"  sometimes it's good to stop and wait.

So when I feel myself falling in to the trap of hunting for that shot I now stand on the corner of a busy street for half an hour i turn the camera off and watch the action unfold in front of me, yes I may miss that shot but what I'm doing is refreshing my photographic eye and I'm still taking images in my head.  Basically I go back to basics and start "People Watching" again.



Losing the Groove.

I think most if not all Street Photographers "Lose their Groove" at some point and this blockage of creativity can last for days or weeks and at this moment in time  i'm in that situation.

I can only speak of my own experience and it can be frustrating when you are out on the street and nothing is happening . I like to call it "Right Place - Wrong Time Syndrome" 

I can find myself questioning what i'm doing  and i can easily forget the real reason i do street photography. Maybe i'm too critical of my work ,maybe i'm looking to hard and should try and keep it simple. But what ever it is it can be disabling especially when you are gripped with this self doubt.

So how do i get myself back "Into the Groove" ?

The first thing is to have a break from the street for a few days and recharge the creative batteries and spend some time going over images from previous street walks that i have done , i have found loads of little gems that i forgot i had.

Pick up your favourite photography book and sit down with a coffee and really study the images , look at the colours ,the composition and the style of photography. My 2 favourite books for inspiration are Bruce Davidson's Subway & Ernst Haas Colour Correction.

Use your camera around the house - I like taking portraits of my son using different techniques like flash , playing with the  camera settings and trying something different to get the creative juices flowing again.

Limit the use of social media !! For me i can find this even more of a distraction as it can put that little seed of doubt into my head when i see all these wonderful images from exotic places and i'm sat at home watching the rain pour down in Manchester.

Listen to Photography podcasts- I'm a massive fan of the candid frame podcast presented by the wonderful Ibarionex Perello . For me this is the best photography podcast out there. -

Plan a trip to another city. You can get stuck in a rut shooting the same streets day in day out , i know we all can't afford expensive trips abroad but i recently booked a flight to Brussels for £38, so it can be done on a budget. Fly out on the first flight and come back the same day on the last flight.. Or take a train to your nearest City and get lost in the streets.

Losing your Groove is never permanent and it always passes but its what you do while your stuck that matters.

 Portrait of my Son using Flash.

Portrait of my Son using Flash.



Story behind the Picture #2

Summer 2016 and the UK is about to decided if we stay or leave the European Union.

If was the topic conversation for millions of people in pubs , clubs , at home , at work , on the bus , social media was awash with people's opinions right or wrong everyone had a view. You couldn't switch on the radio or the television without hearing about it. We was overloaded with information probably to much information.

As we was building up to the day that Briton went to the polls i decided to set myself a challenge . How could i sum up the referendum in one image?

I had a few ideas but it would take time to find the right location with the right subject which is all fine but with street photography anything can happen and sometimes nothing does happen.

Whilst out and about in Manchester one late afternoon i was strolling around the Northern Quarter watching people leave work to go home or meet up with friends. With the referendum image on my mind i found myself at the bottom of this alleyway and i spotted the sign at the top and i thought this would be a good place to get my picture as it had  that "in-out" scenario that i had been looking for and no sooner had i thought it then this gentlemen walked into the frame as i raised my camera he looked towards me and everything was spot on. His step was perfect there was no one else in the frame no cars passing as i pressed the shutter i knew i had it.