Life in Plain Sight

This is such a self-congratulatory project. The photos aren't incredible. I was often moving too quickly to get a sharp shot. I was also often too nervous to whip out my VERY obvious Samsung EXC1. But I am so proud of myself for this humble collection. Inspired by Youssouf, who goes by fuossuoy on instagram, and Adama Jalloh, who goes by _adamajalloh on instagram, I took to the streets of Morden, Brixton, Shoreditch and Leicester Square with my chunky camera and I tried to sneak candid shots of Londoners going about their business. Why? Because nothing beats the thrill of street photography, especially when you're taking candids of people who don't know you are weirdly interested in their faces. I shot from the waist, with the neckstrap tied around my wrist and my hand bent at a weird angle. A couple of people definitely caught me but I was really surprised by how oblivious most people were. I am constantly people-watching and I notice near enough everything about people I walk by. Probably because I'm a photographer. But it was obviously beneficial for me that people didn't notice my camera. Doing this little project helped me overcome my fear of shooting candids of people facing me on the street. I have plenty of shots of the backs of heads and sides of bodies, but to see actual strangers' faces in my negatives was exciting. I love the look of pure candids but have always been afraid to use my camera so boldly. So I cheated by not letting my subjects know I had a camera at all. I developed (poorly) and scanned (questionably) these shots in my university darkroom and I edited the photos to increase contrast. I am definitely going to do this again though probably with a smaller point-and-shoot. For full disclosure, the last photo is of my sister and dad. Maya didn't know I was going to take the photo but her cat-like reflexes meant she caught me out at the last second. Also, I saw the actor Will Poulter walk by me on the day I went to Shoreditch and I didn't get a picture of him because I was slowly mentally processing why I recognised his eyebrows (you might recognise his crazy eyebrows from the films Detroit, The Revenant and We're The Millers). Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at these imperfect photos (spot the bizarre angles, big old scratches and even one rogue gloved finger covering part of the lens). Rookie mistake.

 

Photos taken on a Samsung EXC1 loaded with black and white Ilford HP5+ ISO 400  film.