Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Book to Read While Taking Not-Great Photographs of Strangers

Posted by Daisy

On Sunday morning, I borrowed my brother in laws camera and headed off to a street photography workshop in Shoreditch.
Brick Lane Gary works in the bike shop across the road
He has lived with 2 former girlfriends but is currently single and searching
('Aren't we all Gary, aren't we all,' I said)
He loves his bracelet made of a bike chain

The class started with a tutorial, where we looked at examples of street photography. Famous names include: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Martin Parr and Robert Frank.

I learned that street photography = spontaneous, unplanned, candid shots of people or places.

Then we hit the heaving Sunday morning market at Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road.


We were given a series of 20 minute activities to do. Before each one, we met our teacher and he showed us examples of what he wanted us to do. They included trying to capture:

  • 'The Decisive Moment' - This can involve waiting around for long enough to snap it.

'I go straight in very close to people and I do that because it's the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don't find it easy. I don't announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone's photograph, it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it's the one thing that gives the game away. I don't try and hide what I'm doing - that would be folly'.
Martin Parr

  • 'Up Close portraits' of people - and try not to be noticed! Don't bother with a zoom lens as it's too obvious.
I wasn't as discreet as I had hoped
  • The best tip of all is to take the picture, and then keep the camera up to your eye, as if you are still taking pictures.

  • Also, try holding your camera down low ('shooting from the hip') as it's less obtrusive.

This man had 2 games of  outdoor chess on the go

He told me proudly that he's 91!
  • Reflections - lots of interesting things can be captured in reflections of sunglasses, mirrors and shop windows.

We ate halloumi wraps and drank pineapple juice and I can't think of a nicer way to spend four hours on a sunny Sunday morning.

Holding a camera also gave me an excuse to stop and stare at everything, in a way I don't usually do.

Note his pink painted nails!


As I walked home through the empty streets of the City, I stumbled upon a film set from 'Suffragette', complete with dressed up actors, dirt roads, horse and carts and an old bus. Unfortunately Meryl Streep was nowhere in sight.

(I paid £59 for this lovely workshop with The Culture Club. However, it's worth looking online as I recently spotted the same workshop on offer on meetup.com for £29.)

I’m in that zone. You know the one. Tiredness, cramps and a chocolate craving. Unable to bear the empty feeling any longer, I headed for a tube-station McDonalds after work today, and sat in the window seat making love to my quarter pounder with cheese, large fries and iced coffee.

Afterwards, I wolfed a box of Maltesers and finished ‘How to Get A Love Life’ while lying on my bed.

Written by Rosie Blake (who organised the Book Camp I attended last year), it’s a lovely story about Nicola Brown, who is a Very Uptight Girl - She plans her weekly meals, is never late, and looks forward to eating her lunch-time chocolate mini roll at precisely 1:15p.m. every day. When her office mate Caroline dares her to find a date in time for Valentine’s Day, Nicola breaks free of her comfort zone and embarks on a series of humorous/disastrous/pathetic dates.

I can hear Rosie Blake’s voice throughout the novel, as she speaks EXACTLY as Nicola does. There were a few laugh out loud moments too.
As for the author - I’ve never met anyone so dedicated to writing. She writes in cafes while waiting for friends, on trains, on the beach during exotic holidays, before work and after work. She deserves every success.

‘How to Get A Lovelife’ is available in ebook form online from Amazon for 79p.