4 Dec 2010

street photography talk at Photofusion

I was fortunate enough to be invited to talk to a group of street photographers at a course run by David Gibson of In-Public at Photofusion in London last week. It was the first time I'd done something like that and I certainly hope those on the receiving end enjoyed it as much as I did.

In the spirit of this website I wanted to convey "the how" and "the why" of my work as much as the end product, the picture itself.
Preparing the talk lead me to review my work in a chronological way. Surprisingly to me, but perhaps inevitably, I couldn't separate it from my own journey, from the certainty of youth to the less than certainty of older age.

If you're interested you can see the pictures I talked about at the bottom of this entry.
I wanted to break up the presentation of my images with ideas that gave a little more background to my state of mind at the time so, before you look at them, I'll explain some of the more random ones...

I characterised my pull to the febrile atmosphere of New York City through the images of David Byrne, an icon of the New York art/music scene, and Telly Savalas, an icon of my misspent youth watching TV, the New York City detective Kojak. I could have gone on to include Andy Kaufman from Taxi and Gene Anthony Ray from Fame but I think I got the idea across...
The technique I'd developed, more by accident than design, was releasing the camera's shutter away from my body, requiring a degree of hand-eye coordination. Who better than the tennis player John McEnroe to represent that? Then, sticking with sporting metaphors and perhaps pushing them too far, I chose an image of the great Austrian skier Franz Klammer to represent my physical approach on the street of moving at speed but with control. Make sense? No, perhaps only to me.
The other images I've chosen are those of Shane McGowan and Viriginia Woolf. I admit I liked their juxtaposition but they also helped illustrate the part of my story where I've been influenced by musical and literary work.

The final pictures represent photographers I particularly admire. There are so many I could include but I chose these for my audience, ones which perhaps are not so obvious: Roy DeCarava, Ray Metzker, Daido Moriyama, Sylvia Plachy and Michael Ackerman.
You can certainly include Don McCullin in that group too. A photograph from his book Homecoming opens my talk.

There were some very good questions and comments which were really interesting for me, not having gone public in such a way before. I'll pick those up next time.

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