Books, books and books. A tangible art form. The printed page. How many of us purchase books, flick through them, then the initial interest wans or we don’t set aside enough time to do them justice so they are eventually consigned to the bookcase to only be regarded in quiet moments when we can’t get outside with the camera. Now, in lockdown, we have the time. I have been reaquainting myself with some old friends from my bookshelves and its been an enjoyable process. Even if some of the ideas and inspiration I am gleaning from them may take some time to put into practice.
In these ‘unprecedented times’ (the most overused phrase of the past 6 weeks) learning to adapt is important. Rightly or wrongly I still take the camera out with me on my daily walks. I am now photographing empty streets and the purpose of my pictures has changed. They have become a personal record of lockdown in my usual haunts. Places where I would often take street shots with people all around. These will serve as a reminder of life in Edinburgh in Cvirus ridden times. I believe we will quickly forget the changes the city has undergone in the last few weeks . So we have life BC and life AC – before and after Coronavirus. Occasionally I manage to snap a picture with people in it too, social distancing of course.
Where else to find inspiration but the internet of course. Last year I purchased the Magnum online Street Photography course. I have been going through the lectures again and I think I’m paying more attention second time round. All these world renowned photographers including Martin Parr and Bruce Gilden, how could any street photographer fail to be inspired. Just search for the Magnum website and in the menu look for online learning. https://magnum.com
The work and interviews of Joel Meyerwitz are incredible. He speaks very eloquently about his craft. He is now 82 and still has the passion and desire to go out and make pictures. What is it that makes us all do that. The feeling you get when you think a street story is coming together in front of your eyes and you just hope you’ve captured the feeling of the street at that particular second. Cartier-Bressons Decisive Moment. That’s what spurs us on to go out the next day and the next in a bid to replicate that day when it ‘all came together’ and the feeling it elicits when it does. Check out https://www.lensculture.com for the Meyerowitz and other interviews. He explains it much better than I can.
Normally visiting Art galleries and exhibitions would be included in this list and whilst its not possible to visit in person right now, many galleries are making parts of their collections available to view online. Also BJP has a special offer of 3 months digital subscription for £1 this allows the viewer access to 5 years of archive material plus other benefits. So many talented photographers work to scroll through. Who could fail to be inspired.
Finally I must say that the work of my fellow photographers on https://www.fotobuddies.co.uk is always inspiring as it is more personal when you know the authors of the images. Equally looking at street photographers pages on social media platforms and entering in online competitions. There such a wealth of talent out there and through the internet we can tap into it all. Lockdown has placed constraints on where and when we can take our daily walks and consequently make pictures but it has also slowed everything down so perhaps we need to go with the flow and slow our photographic process. Street Life is less cluttered our images will be too, allowing more time for considering and planning our pictures should result in improved composition, framing and content. We have pressed the reset button on our lives in many ways and thats not necessarily a bad ting.