I have been making images with cameras for well over 20 years, starting out with 35mm and medium format film cameras now predominantly using digital. My Dad was a keen photographer, as a small child I remember finding light meters in the house and using them as toys. I was also aware of the process as he would have makeshift darkrooms in the house. In the 70’s when I was at school Kodak instamatic cameras were quite popular, they were compact film cameras, limited exposure with a fixed lens and a distance scale for focusing, glorified pin hole cameras really. I had one with me during a school trip to London, aged 11, think I got some good shots of my feet, accidentally tripping the shutter while walking around Trafalgar Sq. Later when I was 19, I had one with me when I travelled overland to India. Unfortunately I wasn't into photography seriously, wish I had been I could have got some great images. I did take a few memorable shots, one a busy street scene in Tehran, Iran. I've scanned a few but the prints are quite faded now. The film in the Kodak instamatic cameras was smaller than 35mm, it came in a cartridge which just fitted into the body of the little plastic camera. You would then send it off for processing and get small square prints back. It wasn’t until I was about 30 that I caught the bug and took it up seriously, after receiving an Olympus Trip 35 as a present, the one David Bailey advertised on TV, it was a metal bodied camera with a 40mm fixed lens. Apart from an inbuilt light meter it was all mechanical, no batteries required. It was probably the first decent camera I had, later on I started using Canon 35mm SLR’s
Downtown Tehran, Iran. 1979.
Apart from some help from my Dad, I am mostly self taught. I did start a BTEC in photography and related studies in the mid 90’s but left the course, I enjoyed the related studies part but the actual photography Tutor seemed negative and uninspiring to put it politely, other students had similar opinions, a hardcore of die hards actually stuck it out. I learnt a lot more through my own efforts, in fact for something like photography teaching yourself is the best way in my opinion, everyone has different styles, you need to find out what works best for you and shoot from the heart, enjoy what you do. I try not to get bogged down too much with technical stuff, I know what I need to know to get the best out of a camera, everything else is art, looking and seeing. The creativity starts the moment you put your eye to the viewfinder and start framing, constructing the image. With a lot of newbie’s its all about the equipment, which is all very well I enjoy the equipment side to a certain extent, but the more experienced you become the more you realise its simply a tool. You could have the latest state of the art camera, but that wont give you great images, only you, the person behind it can do that. And I think learning with film cameras gives you the true fundamentals of photography. Its still popular with students, last time I was in London I saw three schoolgirls on Brick Lane, photography students with Pentax 35mm SLRs, I wanted to get a shot of them all pointing their cameras at me but they seemed a little paranoid about my motives, this is a problem with street photography.
A Leeds City Market Character
I enjoy most genres of photography, landscapes, abstract, portraiture etc. I had a spell at wedding photography. Loved it at first, felt like a film Director posing and arranging people, but after a while it became just more of the same. I thought it was actually stifling my creativity. I call it production line photography, next group, next group etc. I am not saying it can’t be artistic obviously it can be given the right locations, but most of it is pretty routine and all the hard work starts after the event, processing and editing. Not for me really. My real passion is street photography and social reportage, it’s become a labour of love. I like the spontaneity and unpredictability of it. You never know what you might come across. It’s also challenging. For me good street photography is about capturing something unique, or the unusual or something that is portraying a message, funny or serious. I have been inspired by all the greats of photography, Henrie C Bresson I like the surrealism influence in his work. Sebastiao Salgado's work is terrific too, and Don McCullin, who is more known for his war photography, but his street photography is top notch. “Weegee” Arthur Fellig was a big influence and inspiration for me. He was a press photographer in 40’s and 50’s New York, but also enjoyed documenting everyday life. He was probably one of the first street photographers, I think he was actually ahead of his time. In his later career he worked in Hollywood and did the special effects in the film ‘Dr Strangelove’. I am based in Hull City, my home town where I grew up, we received the "U.K. City of Culture" for 2017. The art scene in Hull is alive and well, some great grassroots, homegrown talented people have originated here. I have many good street shots taken in Hull, but I enjoy travelling about to do my photography. Leeds City is a favourite place, you can often find unique characters in the Markets there. I also like the streets of London. Recently I put together an exhibition of my street photography which will be on show at the Islington Arts Factory in London in May, 2016. I also put together a slideshow of the images which can be viewed on Youtube. There's a link to it via my site @ www.timages.webs.com
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