Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pick of the Week: Waiting for What at the Bag Stand?

For my Pick of the Week this week, I've chosen a photograph that has attracted a few interesting comments. When I saw the scene and made the photo, I just assumed it was a dad and son waiting - perhaps for mum - by a bag stand outside a shop.

Then when I got it onto the computer, I noticed the facial expressions: the man seems to be hot and bothered or tired or...? and the boy is either staring in a bored fashion or isn't happy about something. So I called it Waiting for What at the Bag Stand? Once I posted it I got some lovely comments and a few differing interpretations. One or two people agreed it was a father and son waiting for someone. Someone else, however, suggested that the man looks as though he's crying. And given that the boy looks a little unhappy as well, it's possible to think that they have had an argument or that something else has happened to upset them both.

Of course we will never know will we? It is a moment that has come and gone and only really exists now because I was there and chose to record it with my camera. And, in a real sense, that is the magic of street photography: the photographer is a witness to a succession of seemingly ordinary, yet fleeting moments. Here I think of a quote I like to use often: There are no ordinary moments. We usually hve just a few seconds at most to sum up a scene and decide to make the photograph or not. In that time we can make some assumptions about what is going on, who is who, and the rest.

But, that is all we can do most of the time: make assumptions. What is really going on, who is really who, and the true meaning of the moment will always remain a mystery. Perhaps that is as it should be. After all, we will all make our own assumptions, jump to our own conclusions, when we view a photograph, won't we? And I think this is the case even if the photographer captions the image or explains to us what is going on. It's like history in that way don't you think? It's all very subjective when it comes to whose stories are told and indeed if those stories are "the truth" at all.

So, what is the "truth" of this photo? As I said, we can never know. Or rather, let's put it another way. We will never know the facts of this situation; but can we know the truth? I think we can; it's just that the truths (yes truths, plural) will vary, depending on what the image tells each individual viewer. It is my belief that if a photograph is made with goodwill and with honesty and a commitment to recording what is before the eye of the photographer, the resulting image will speak for itself, give its own story. It will tell its own truth to each and every viewer who looks at it and asks what's going on here.

I don't like to use clichés, but perhaps Frederick R. Barnard was only half right when he coined the phrase A picture paints a thousand words.  Perhaps we should add, "But the particular words painted will vary".

Monday, July 22, 2013

One Thing I've Learned About Street Photography from Kenny Rogers.

Okay, let's begin at the beginning. Kenny Rogers is (or was) a very big name in Country music. Not an obvious introduction to a post on street photography you might think. Well, you see, among his many chart topping hits, there was one called The Gambler. He made that tune famous!
  Anyway, it's about a couple of guys stuck on a "train to nowhere". One, a gambler, starts talking to the other guy because they're both too tired to sleep. He says (and forgive my paraphrasing) "You know son, I make a living out of reading people's faces. And I reckon that yours suggests you've seen better days. So, if you give me a swig of your whiskey I'll give you some advice, an 'ace' you can keep". Or words to that effect.
   He then drinks the whiskey and starts to give the guy some really good advice about knowing when to walk away, knowing when to run; when to hold your cards and when to throw them away. Still, I hear you saying, what's this got to do with street photography? Okay, here's the bit of the song I'm talking about:
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done.
Still not being real clear am I? Alright, here it is in street photographer lingo:
You never chimp* while you're on the street and still making photographs. There'll be plenty of time later once you've uploaded your memory card to your computer for checking how many good ones you got, and how many you didn't; what you've done right, and what you've done wrong.
Now, all of us who use digital cameras have been guilty of such behaviour. And it's a very bad habit! I mean, while you're busy peering at the monitor on the back of your camera, you aren't there and then; you're no longer on the street. You are no longer of the street—and you are no longer in the moment either. You're off in your head somewhere, analysing. You've left the Zone'! Not only does it take some time to get back into the Zone when you lift your head once again to the street, just think of what you have missed as the life of the street has just flowed right on by while you've been distracted by your monitor analysing.
  Many street photographers actually turn their monitors off, so they aren't tempted to 'chimp'. And of course this is where our film using sisters and brothers are ahead of the game. They have no choice but to wait till later to see what they've got.
  The gambler gives his advice about not counting your money while still at the table because he knows that once you take your eyes, mind and heart off the game, you set yourself up for a losing streak. Think about when you last caught yourself chimping. Do you think you missed some good opportunities? Did you miss some good moments? Did it take you some time to get back into the game, sorry, I mean the Zone?
  So, here's what I suggest you do: Resist the temptation (and after several years of photographing on the street, I admit I still succumb occasionally—and pay the consequences too). Just don't look at your monitor. Turn it off if you like. It really is that simple; Tough love of this sort is the only solution. Actually, that's the tough part. You can add some love by setting up a reward system for when you find yourself not chimping for a whole session on the street. Here's what I do: I remind myself that I am going to sit down "in a little while" to have a coffee or cup of tea. Just to rest my legs you understand. If I've been good and not chimped, I will then—and only then—allow myself a quick run through of the images I've made so far.
   But, even then, though, I don't like to spend a lot of time analysing what I've done. If I do, I run the risk of getting too much into the thinking mode, and right away from the Zone where I am really in and of the street, and in the moment. And, really, that's where the best street photographs are made.

*The Urban Dictionary defines 'chimping' as:
What one does after taking a picture with a digital camera and looking at the result.(My Note: The street photography take on this would be: checking whether or not we have "captured the moment").  Derived from the words they (photographers) speak when chimping: "Ooo-oo-oo!" (as in the sounds chimpanzees make)

         I do not endorse gambling. In fact, I believe gambling (as in poker, horse racing, sports betting            and the rest) is a curse and more often than not simply another way for the rich to get richer.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


The title, the song, and the dedication say it all. A slideshow of just a few of the street photographs I have made of women over the last couple of years in various places . They are indeed the rhythm of the world. 
Comments, feedback, Likes, shares. All are welcome.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Street Photography - How I see the world: Wonderful insights & advice from Adam Moore

You know, I sometimes think I should give up on reading and watching advice from street and documentary photographers: so much depressing, ego driven, "hunting" advice. I can't stand it!
But, then I come across something like this from Adam Moore. Not only is it a beautifully constructed video in its own right, full of extraordinary images, it is also a full of advice and insights into the art of people photography in the street and on the road.
I promise you, you will be inspired, as I have been. I'm about to watch it again, and you will want to as well.! I hope to share what Adam calls a "more informative version" (this one's pretty informative mind you!)) when it becomes available.
I suggest that anyone with a serious desire to improve their skills while in the street and photographing people, needs to watch this video and reflect carefeully won what they will learn here.
So, thank you Adam, for permission to share your work here. And, dear reader, please enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do Good with your Camera Street Photography tips. John Free

John Free is in my not so humble opinion one of the finest street photographers and teachers around today. Not only that, he is a decent and  modest man, who simply goes about his business of doing good with his camera and passing on his vast knowledge and wisdom to others. I am honoured to know him. And anybody who aspires to be a true street photography will do well to watch his videos, go to his workshops if you can and read his writings.

Pick of the Week: Pucker Up and Pose for a Self Portrait

This week I post my first image from my Netherlands adventure. And it's a great example of how being fully present, "in tune" if you like, with your environment will help produce better street photography.
I saw this woman posing for her own camera phone. So, I quickly made a photo. It wasn't till later, on my laptop screen, that I noticed she had her lips all puckered up. And for me it is that expression that really makes this photograph.
Coincidence? Some would call it that. But, for me, I believe we see much on a sub conscious level only, and if we are really fully present, fully "in tune" and what I like to say "of the street", then we see these small things on that level which causes us to react and take action on the "conscious" level.
You see, it happens all the time. Too often to dismiss as mere luck or coincidence.
Try it and see. Just being is the key, not expecting, not waiting, not struggling. Just being there and in the now as they say.
Peace my friends

Friday, July 12, 2013

FAMILES: Slideshow of Street Photographs of Families - backed by some fine music!

Paul's Pictures is proud to present "Families", which like the name suggests is a slideshow of street photographs of families encountered on the streets.
This video is dedicated to Families in all their diversity.
Special thanks to Drew McAlister for his great song "Part of the Family", and to Keith Whitley for his wonderful and melancholy tune "Family Tree".
Please enjoy. And if you do enjoy the show, please let me know. And as always if you don't, I would like to hear why. If I am truly fortunate you will want to share the slideshow with your friends.
Peace to all

Thursday, July 11, 2013


This video was first published in December 
Mostly I try to have a theme for my slideshows, but occasionally I have thought I would like to post images that are my favourites. I guess that's a theme, now I come to think of it!! Some of the images on this one are also favourites with friends and others too. This is the second of that occasional series of "Artists' Chooses" slideshows.
I have chosen John and Yoko's Give Peace a Chance for the soundtrack because, in essence, that is why I do what I do: to try to spread a little love and promote a little peace So, please enjoy and as usual, your comments, Likes, feedback, Shares are very welcome.
Peace to you all

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Pick for this week Spotted by Some, Ignored by Many

This week (well it's the first week for the "My Pick" feature) I've chosen an image first made in June 2012 but only processed and posted just a couple of days ago.
I like it a lot. It's an ordinary scene, but so full of life, full of story, and full of people. Not only that, a couple of the kids and at least one of the adults has spotted me!
And I don't mind that at all really. You often read how if "they" spot you, the moment's ruined. Well, have a look. Has it been "ruined" here? I don't think so. In fact there has been a special, even decisive, moment made manifest simply because I was there with my camera. I like to think about that idea.
If you like image, please tell me. If you don't, please tell me! Any comments or feedback is always welcome.
Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tower of Song A Tribute to All Who Labour There

Musicians, singers, performers of all kinds bring us not only listening pleasure but can change our lives and always enrich the cultural life of any society. Here you will find a slideshow of some of those creative souls. And as a treat the show is backed by the master himself Leonard Cohen with his Tower of Song, which is of course where all workers in song labour for all of us.