Kirk Lothian Photography: Blog https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Kirk Lothian Photography (Kirk Lothian Photography) Wed, 08 Sep 2021 05:42:00 GMT Wed, 08 Sep 2021 05:42:00 GMT https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u910246505-o676612664-50.jpg Kirk Lothian Photography: Blog https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog 120 98 Charlotte Marshall & The 45s – Cottiers https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/Charlotte-Marshall-The-45s-Cottiers 16/01/2016

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Charlotte Marshall & The 45s @ Cottiers, Glasgow

When Charlotte Marshall asked me if I would shoot the show at Cottiers on Saturday night there wasn’t any answer that entered my head but “Yes!”

“Charlotte Marshall and The 45s” is one of those bands that work…as a band.  To explain that last statement further. They fill every minute with shared, beautifully executed and tastefully considered, ego free glimpses of a small sample of what they are capable of.  The result is you are always left wanting more and this continues throughout the set.

I’ve already done portraits and interviews individually for Charlotte, Fraser and Tim (Clarke) for this site and over the course of the project hope to get all of the players on here as each one has a phenomenal talent and no doubt a story to tell.

There were 4 bands playing tonight. All good and all very different. Charlotte was headlining and, as is the case with most gigs of this nature, the first couple of bands played to a gradually increasing audience who took their time to warm up…literally. It had been snowing all day and looking at the turnout, I started wondering if the weather was going to have a serious impact on the gig.

As people came in I heard some muttering about the lack of seating and “Why is there that huge space in the middle? They could have put loads of seats there!”

I had a wee smile to myself. I’ve seen the band before and I know what happens when they get cookin’.

Photographically, Cottiers is a dream. Huge, ornate, dramatic. It’s an old church, originally decorated by Daniel Cottier and taken on by the Four Acres Charitable Trust back in the early 90s. Restoration has been ongoing since then and there is still some way to go. The obvious disrepair and grandeur adds an imposing and very “cool”, almost grungy element to the atmosphere. The clash of a modern LED lighting rig and hefty PA add to the incongruity of the venue. At this point it is worthy to note the huge efforts that are being put into to restore the site and it is heart-warming and exciting to know that we will have this venue for years to come and that it is being looked after.

As I stood at the front of the stage I turned around and behind and high above me against the faraway back wall, towered the pipes of the original church organ. Imposing and bathed in a dull purple LED glow. I couldn’t help wondering how the sound from those 150 year old pipes would have mixed in with a Nord Elektro.

A pulse of electricity went through the crowd, I turned round and Charlotte was on stage.

Opening track, boom! I had to work hard during the first track, there were solos going off like fireworks from one side of the stage to the other. Piano, then sax, then guitar and all the time Charlotte grinning, spinning and strutting all over the stage. There was no gradual build up here! These guys were “ON”. This was Audio Visual Central and the train had left the station!

Having played in bands for years, the standard of musicianship and professionalism is blindingly obvious to me but it is so slick that it looks effortless.

The horn section is just one of the things that sets the band apart.   Gordon Dickson(Saxophone) and Fenwick Lawson(Trombone) are amongst the tightest brass players you’ll find.  If you have horns in a band I always think it can be tricky to get the arrangement just right.  Too little and it looks a bit weird, too much and there’s no space for vocals and fills.  Some bands find it hard with 4 or 5 players but to have 7 takes a real talent and a lot of control but the 45s got the mix right all the way through the set.

Tim (Brough – Keys) and Fraser are equally as at home laying down the groove as they are blistering through their solos.  There’s no self-indulgence.  Get in…do what you need to do… and get back out.  Fantastic!

The guys holding it all down at the back are Tim (Clarke) on bass and Michael Harrison on drums.  Again, professional, understated and tight but with the ability to lift the roof and drive the groove to the limit when occasion calls for it.  Perfect!

Obvious also is the level of stage-craft that is demonstrated by Ms Marshall. From the outset she pulls the audience in closer, physically reaching out and breaking down barriers, removing inhibitions, encouraging engagement. She does this also with the musicians in the band, gesturing for them to push the boundaries. Always aware of everything around her, she tracks the players, the audience and even the photographer to make sure everyone gets what they need.

The set flew by far to quickly, incorporating mostly original material.  The one cover that did stand out was the opening number…”Soulful Dress” by Sugar Pie Desanto…what a track!!

I could go on and on but I’ll keep it short and just advise you to sign up to the band’s Facebook page below and get along to their next gig!

https://www.facebook.com/charlottemarshall45s

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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/Charlotte-Marshall-The-45s-Cottiers Sat, 23 Jan 2016 03:51:56 GMT
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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

Quite a few of the guys I’ve spoken to have mentioned Alan Anderson as a good guy and a great Blues man so when I got a Facebook invite to his solo gig at Slouch in Bath Street, Glasgow I decided to drop in and say hello…and I’m glad I did.

Alan is one of those unassuming individuals with a quiet confidence about him and as we talked it became clear that he’d paid his dues on various circuits.

His acoustic playing is superb and his laid back vocals and easy manner soon chill you right out and any stresses of the day fade away as he meanders his way through the set. The original material is quite moving at times as he openly shares the meaning behind certain lyrics.

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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

Alan is one of those players that like to connect with the audience and the eye contact plays a large part of this. Again, the experience shows through and there is a genuine warmth and quiet confidence from start to finish.

It’s one of those nights in Glasgow where hardly anyone is out so it’s quiet in Slouch tonight, it’s quiet everywhere tonight but the audience gradually builds and 2 things become obvious:

1. Everyone is a musician tonight
2. This is not the first time they’ve been here

Something else becomes obvious as each player goes up on stage:

They’re good…all of them…and when I say good, I mean…really good!

I’ll do a quick roll call

Eric Hathaway, Pete Parisetti (and his wife Angela), J B Taton and Martina Alberi

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Eric Hathaway @ Slouch

 

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JB Taton @ Slouch

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Martina Alberi @ Slouch

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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

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Pete Parisetti and Angela Higney

There was a great mix of styles thoughout the night. Jazz, Blues, Americana, Country, Cuban and many more.

I’d got there early and my phone died so I had no idea what time it was and to be honest I didn’t care. I knew Alan was on till half past midnight but I wasn’t going to stay till the end..I had a 6am start the next day.

The atmosphere was really relaxed and great fun and everyone was having a good time but I knew I should probably go so I said my goodbyes and got into the car. The clock on the dashboard said 00:25. Good job I never stayed till 00:30…I’d have been knackered in the morning!

Looking forward to catching up with Alan in the near future for more of a chat and a portrait.

 


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2016/1/Alan-Anderson-Slouch Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:21:09 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 10: “Exhibition” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-10-Exhibition The following images are part of my “Walls” project and represent the barriers that we put up around ourselves.  The full narrative can be viewed in the link below…

walls-photo-essay

 


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-10-Exhibition Sun, 18 Jan 2015 15:50:21 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 9: “Ethics in Street Photography” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-9-Ethics-in-Street-Photography Experiment:

  • Go out in public and ask 3 people to pose for you a certain way. Write about their reactions in your weekly journal.

I went out on a very cold and windy Saturday morning in Glasgow.  This was the only time that I was going to be able to complete this task and I only had till lunchtime to do it.  From the experience gained in previous shoots I decided not to rush it and if the opportunities arose I would take them.  After an hour, I had found nobody.  The streets were deserted due to the weather and I headed over to the Woodlands Road area.  It was there that I passed the Tattoo studio and one of the scariest looking guys I’ve ever seen was glowering at me as I looked in.  I walked past but thought…”You know he is a great subject and if you don’t go back you’ll regret it!”.  Turns out there was another guy in recently asking the same thing.

The gentleman’s name is Frank and he showed me some of the photos that had been taken of him at tattoo conventions and they were very good.  Frank was an experienced subject and acted very naturally.  I only had 10 minutes as he had a client arriving shortly but I made the most of it and asked him to adopt several poses.  I gave him a card and left with the offer that if I ever wanted to go back again I was more than welcome.  As I walked away I was buzzing.  Great experience and lovely guy.  Appearances can definitely be deceptive.

I learnt another valuable lesson and this is something that I do all the time and will need to come up with a strategy to prevent it.  I rushed it!  The settings on the camera were on AUTO ISO with a limit of 3200.  I had a wireless trigger and speedlight in my bag so could have dropped the ISO to the minimum and used the flash but I panicked a bit due to this completely new situation.  The shots were fine but they could have been much better.  The positive is that I’ll never forget to check the camera settings thoroughly when I am in that situation again.

Of the 2 other people I asked, one guy obliged and the girl declined but still a positive experience all round.


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-9-Ethics-in-Street-Photography Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:00:20 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 8: “How to Edit Your Work” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-8-How-to-Edit-Your-Work  

 

Experiment:

  • Go out for an entire day and go shooting. When you go back home, select your best 3 shots. Then go back to your portfolio and select the best 3 shots you have ever taken.

These are the best 3 from today.  I’m normally pretty severe on editing and can quite quickly determine what images I want to keep from an individual shoot.  These images were all taken around the vicinity of the Riverside Museum by the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.  There was good light and the subjects presented themselves consistently throughout the day.  There were a couple of locations that I found that would have been incredible if the right person had walked into them but it wasn’t to be today.

Going through the entire portfolio is another matter!  I have only been shooting for 2 years but already I have nearly 15,000 images in my library.  With regards to Street Photography, I have only been doing this since September last year so to pick from this portfolio is slightly easier, although I tend to think that at the moment, that the more recent shots are the best.  The test of this will be to keep going back and assess them.  I’m sure that old photos will have different qualities when they are left to marinate.


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-8-How-to-Edit-Your-Work Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:00:05 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 7: “The Power of the Image” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-7-The-Power-of-the-Image Experiment:

  • Walk around an area for a neighborhood and after taking your first photo, wait five minutes until you take your next image. Repeat this until the hour is over.

This was an excellent experiment which made you focus on the detail around you rather than waiting on inspiration to appear.  With the need to keep shooting at regular short intervals I found that I was immersed in the task and my observation was very much heightened from level I have previously operated at.  The rate at which I found interesting material was quite surprising to me as sometimes I have come home with nothing after hours on the street.  I acquired a new camera for Xmas and I think that this may have had something to do with it as it was a small CSC and allowed me to get much closer to my subjects.  I am sure, however, that this was not the main reason.  From following the reading materials and researching techniques and the way that other people shoot, combined with a greater understanding of the law around photography, I have found my confidence increasing dramatically over the last few weeks.

I have always tried to look for scenes that “mean” something and have realised that this is not nearly as easy as I had previously imagined.  The skill of combining a well composed image with a visually compelling aura and at the same time commenting on society with a degree of depth is a real challenge.  However, I tend not to beat myself up about this and at the moment if I get 2 out of 3 of the above components I’m happy.  One thing I am noticing that to get a real connection to the social comment you are attempting you need to be really close to the subject…most of the time.  An example of this is the 5 people sitting outside the cafe in on e of the images below.  When I crop into this image it is interesting but from the position I have taken it from, the message is too diluted.  I have been given the challenge of not cropping and am trying this.  I am also trying not to do any post-processing but I am finding this too hard to resist at times :-)  However, there are only a couple of images that have been touched in the selection below and none have been cropped.


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2015/1/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-7-The-Power-of-the-Image Sat, 03 Jan 2015 06:45:18 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 6: “Contemporary Street Photography” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-6-Contemporary-Street-Photography Experiment:

  • Take a photo of a stranger without their permission, and explain why you took a photograph to them. Show them the photo you took of them on your LCD screen, and offer to email them a copy of the photograph.

The challenge I found with this experiment was to find anyone that was interested in the shot I had taken.  I eventually managed to get a guy and his dog to show enough interest and explained what I was doing.  The guy seemed interested enough but was not keen to get a copy of the image, which I thought was very good, but then, I may be biased.  This was another useful experience though, and highlighted the fact that although you may be nervous, the subjects on the street so far, don’t seem to be to concerned about having their photograph taken

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The readings for this week were very interesting and the “In-sight” documentary highlighted how well protected we are as photographers and I found it very encouraging that the police were so supportive in the situations shown.  I have recently met some photographers on my walks around the cities in Scotland and have had some random conversations with these complete strangers about the situations they have been in with privacy laws, tripods and general misconceptions from the photographers themselves and the people in “authority” that they talk about.

I’ve recently had feedback from Eric about the progress so far and this was very encouraging.  I am taking on the tips from here on in and will avoid cropping, and stay with either colour or black and white.  I will also be using the same camera for all shots.  I have decided to go one step further and avoid all post-processing on the essay photographs as an extra challenge.  A decision I may regret but what have I got to lose?


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-6-Contemporary-Street-Photography Sun, 28 Dec 2014 13:46:58 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 5: “Classic Street Photography” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-5-Classic-Street-Photography The idea I have come up with for my essay is a theme of “Walls”.

Experiment:

  • Stand still at a busy intersection for 20 minutes. Take photos of people who come to you and don’t move.

For this assignment I stood at the entrance of Glasgow, Hillhead Subway station.  From this viewpoint I could see people leaving and entering the station and people on the pavement outside.  This gave me a varied selection of locations and light sources to work with without moving around.

I loved the warm light of the interior compared to the cold light outside on the street.  I waited around for the 20 minutes in the one location and then moved on and found it a very useful exercise.  I went back into Glasgow one night during the same week and found a great location and although it was not too busy there were enough people passing by to make it a successful shoot.  I’ll be trying this a lot more.  There is sense in moving around as well but a combination of approaches is probably the best, especially if the weather is as awful as it was on the first day :-)

Day 1

Day 2


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-5-Classic-Street-Photography Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:23:19 GMT
Week 4: “How to Shoot in the Streets” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/Week-4-How-to-Shoot-in-the-Streets Experiment:

  • See somebody you want to take a photo of, approach them and take their photograph without permission. After taking their photograph, wave at them, smile, and say thank you.

My confidence has been growing over the last weeks as I find that very few people have objected in anyway to having their photograph taken by a complete stranger.  The 2 shots below were taken whilst I was on a Street Photography walkabout course.  The course was very static and as there were 8 students on it there was a restriction on the amount of freedom of movement, which was really frustrating as we were in Edinburgh, which is a buzzing location.  Anyway, having said that, things were learned and a good time was had so objectives met.

During the day I asked permission of a few people and also took some shots without permission.  The guy coming down the stairs never even acknowledged my existence and the girl seemed to be flattered and was laughing and acting kind of embarrassed so both of these were fine.  One of the shots I attempted was of a lady with her face completely pierced…to the point that there was no skin visible.  She completely turned her back on me and I later realised that she had a table in the street and was charging to have her photograph taken.  Another lady noticed me taking her photograph and said “I charge to have my photo taken!”, I asked her how much and when she came back with a figure I argued that she should be charging much more as she was very beautiful.  She walked away laughing and if I’d tried again I am sure that she would have not minded, but I let t go.

Overall a very positive and enjoyable experience and my confidence has built a bit more.

I’ve been brainstorming the essay due by week 10 and ideas are coming up all the time.  I’ve scored out a few and this is the short list at the moment…

  • Homelessness in Glasgow
  • Street performer audiences
  • High fashion in Glasgow
  • People juxtaposed with Street Art
  • Scottish sense of humour (Laughter)
  • Old and young juxtapose
  • Rich and poor juxtapose
  • Scary guys & Beautiful Women (Beauties & Beasts)
  • Street portraiture
  • Rainy days
  • Imprisoned/Locked/Trapped
  • Alleyways – Light & Shade
  • Lines
  • Hats
  • Glasgow Subway
  • Men at work
  • Street Art juxtapose


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/Week-4-How-to-Shoot-in-the-Streets Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:00:00 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 3: “Aesthetics and Styles in Street Photography” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-3-Aesthetics-and-Styles-in-Street-Photography The juxtaposition of a person against a sign, billboard etc for this week’s assignment was something that I had not really thought of as being difficult.  When I left in the morning I honestly thought that by lunchtime I would have a good selection of images that I would be able to go through and just pick the best one.  I was surprised to find that this was nowhere as easy as I had imagined.  The selection of billboards and signs in Glasgow city centre had somehow managed to magically disappear and nothing I saw was inspiring.  Anything that I did judge as reasonable for the exercise had nobody relevant passing by and then I started to feel self-conscious hanging around in the middle of a busy street with a dslr in my hand.

The more I walked around the city the more I began to understand that having a particular goal in mind for street photography does not always provide an enjoyable expedition.  This view is expressed by a couple of street photographers I’ve been looking at(e.g. Elliot Erwitt) and it began to strike home the more frustrated I became.  This was a good lesson and I’ll reference this when searching out the images for the essay in this course.  Keep an open mind and do not focus on one type of image to the exclusion of all other options.  At the end of the day I am going to have to settle for a juxtapose between a man and some mannequins in a shop window.  I saw the space between the mannequins and waited for someone with a similar look to walk past and fill the space.  I liked the way that he was face on to the mannequin with the bag and he too was carrying a bag.  They were all dressed in black and one of the male mannequins is almost looking on with longing, wishing that he too could be outside.  The text on the window “Man -1″ almost infers that the main character has been removed from the window scene and I also like the fact that my reflection can be seen in the window and my stance is similar to one of the other mannequins.


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/12/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-3-Aesthetics-and-Styles-in-Street-Photography Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:29:00 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 2: “The History of Street Photography” https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-2-The-History-of-Street-Photography After having looked at the images provided for study this week, I find it amazing how the photographers (particularly Brassaï ) managed to capture the amount of intimacy, considering the size and of the cameras and the set up time. This has sparked my curiosity about the social attitude towards the camera and photographer in the 30’s and 40’s.  Was their an openness/innocence to the relationship between photographer and subject back then due to the fact that the percentage of people that actually owned a camera was minuscule compared to now?  Was it that you very rarely saw a photograph of yourself outwith a family album or a commissioned portrait and you had little suspicion of the photographer due to there not being the same paparazzi scandals so frequently and widely publicised?

For this week’s experiment, I saw a young actor and introduced myself as a street photographer and asked if he would mind if I took a photograph of him.  He immediately responded, “Why of course!” and then assumed a a completely different look, with a beaming smile, looking straight into the camera from about 3 feet!  I lowered the camera and smiled, explaining that the thing that had prompted me to ask him was that his original “look” had been perfect and a great contrast to the grubby back street.  He then went back to what he had been doing previously and after I took the photo he eagerly smiled again “Yes?” he asked.  “Perfect”, I replied and smiled back.

Being a candid photographer, I found that now being in the situation, where I could ask this complete stranger to adopt a pose, quite confusing and I found myself completely unprepared.  I could have taken much more advantage of this situation in retrospect but it has made me think about this for the next time, which is a great lesson.

I really enjoyed the experience as this is the first time I have done this and was genuinely surprised by the positive reaction.  I spent the walk back to the car looking for the combination of interesting characters against an interesting background and would have quite happily struck up a conversation with someone else but nothing presented itself.


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-2-The-History-of-Street-Photography Sat, 29 Nov 2014 05:59:14 GMT
All the World’s a Stage: Week 1: An Introduction to Street Photography https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-1-An-Introduction-to-Street-Photography What exactly is street photography and how does it differ from reportage or documentary photography?

What makes it so special and unique, and how does it help us learn what it means to be human?

There are many different views on what street photography is…or is not.  I am open to all of these and my personal current viewpoint is that it should be candid and un-staged.  To remove the accidental, spontaneous energy from any scene moves the art into another genre in my opinion and the comments below apply to the style I believe in.  I say this is my current belief as I have proven to myself that I am a great lover of assumptions.  I’m keen to see how education and experience affect this belief over the coming weeks.

Street photography is a window to humanity, with a single person on one side and the rest of the world on the other, both aware of each other’s existence but both with very different roles.

The human eye observes and documents millions of random disconnected events every second of every day in every private and public space on this planet and beyond, and each observation fires a neurological message to the brain for processing, reaction and storage or deletion based upon the observer’s state of mind at that exact second in time.  The impact and resulting reaction to each of these images is as unique as a fingerprint and forms a singular interpretation of what is happening in the immediate vicinity of the observer.  The camera, up until this point is immaterial.  The image has already been captured and very often the reaction times involved in getting the camera to the eye, combined with the burden of learned “rules” that have to be followed: composition, depth of field, shutter speed, iso, combined with any amount of mental distractions (trepidation, guilt, fear, indecision etc) mean that the resulting digital “hard-copy” can be far removed from the original flash of inspiration behind every shot that fires the desire to spring into action when the “link” is made inside.  The link I refer to is the link between what has just caught the eye and the photographer’s past, their dreams, their pain, their sense of humour, their sense of irony, their empathy, their sympathy, their desire, their curiosity, or any other facet of the complex, incredible coincidences that have shaped them to this point.

By then further observing the result on film we can analyse ourselves and those around us and take our time to unravel the connections between us.

It is this connection that makes street photography unique.  We are not merely observing the image, which is the typical relationship with reportage and documentary photography: we are also observing the deeply personal motivation behind the image and getting the opportunity to look back through the window from the other side.  In street photography we also observe the photographer.

image below taken in back streets of Nice, France 2013


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(Kirk Lothian Photography) https://www.kirklothianphotography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/All-the-World-s-a-Stage-Week-1-An-Introduction-to-Street-Photography Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:00:00 GMT