Here in Scotland the slow process of easing lockdown begins today. Don’t break out the champagne too soon though as the only concession now implemented is that we don’t have to ‘stay at home’ but can now ‘stay local’. My understanding is that translates into having to remain within our council area.

In anticipation of more freedom to come I am reaching for the camera more often on my daily perambulations around the city. As it is still very quiet, I have, as is usual for me, taken the easy, lazy option and turned to someone else for inspiration. This time Valerie Jardin @valeriejardin has come to my rescue. Her book ‘Street Photography Assignments’ being the catalyst for putting on my comfy shoes and heading out camera in hand. I am taking a random approach with the book and just letting it fall open at a page rather than going through the assignments in numerical order. Fittingly my first assignment is ‘Humanity without people in the Frame’.

Considering this assignment I began to evaluate how we as humans impact on our environment. So far the images I have taken have shown a negative influence. Signs of human presence are often apparent by the mess we leave behind and therefore generally detract from the environment. Now to set the challenge of photographing images which convey evidence of a positive human impact or intervention. Perhaps that will take more thought and planning.

Wonderful Leith : This is at least pleasing to my eye.

Alternatively, is there ever a situation where human impact is positive? Nature tends to manage pretty well on her own. Cultivation of land may improve and create a more productive landscape, however is there a cost to wildlife through the manipulation of the ecosystem. We as humans tend to bulldoze our way both literally and metaphorically in order to follow our own designs.

It’s a well worn argument and we need to find ways to inhabit the planet without destroying it. I’m not an eco warrior is just makes sense to preserve what we have.

However, I’m off at a tangent again and digress from the topic of photographic assignments. Venturing out with an aim and a purpose. The book’s subtitle is ‘ 75 reasons to Hit the Streets and Learn’.

So, returning to my first assignment ‘Humanity without people in the Frame’ was ironically appropriate as we are only now being released from Covid imposed captivity and the city streets are still depopulated.

The assignment has awoken the dormant grey cells and has the potential to become a more in-depth project and one which I may revisit in the coming months. In the meantime I can share my preliminary pics with you for comment.

In general the back streets yield more interesting images for this type of assignment. Always have safety in mind when out snapping though, the camera and subsequently you, may not always be welcome.

I hope you are all able to dust off your camera kit and hit the streets again. Slowly people will emerge from their homes, possibly a bit pale and wary of the world, soak up some Spring sunshine and gradually confidence will return and a new normal will evolve. We will have our cameras poised and ready.

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