Street photography whirlwind weekend
Guardian readers may have seen ads for their masterclasses: screenwriting, gardening blah blah. So I blew my pocket money on a Street Photography weekend, 9-10 June. I went up to London on the Friday with the notion of visiting daughter No.2 plus a spot of geographing combined with finding a building where I used to work in another existence. Checked in to hotel, it was a sunny afternoon, so I went exploring in Somers Town, a community bounded by an infrastructure of railway termini and highway arteries. Took in Mornington Crescent then headed for Oakley Square. Daughter No.2 worked one-to-one in a hostel, nearest the camera I believe, for women with mental health issues who had come out of institutions — including a murderess. I strolled through the gardens opposite. London is on such a scale: time was going by, the photos were accumulating. I got as far as Ossulston Street and decided to head for Camberwell and a meal with daughter and partner (can't call him a boyfriend, they've been together since 6th form). Hot rush hour tube to Elephant and Castle then a bumpy bus ride to Camberwell Green. After a Chinese takeaway, a lorra red wine and a good natter they put me on the bus all the way back to Euston.
On Saturday we assembled at cool comfortable Guardian HQ in York Way and met our photographer tutors, Matt Stuart and Stephen McLaren. They showed us the work of street photographers since the 1920s, took our questions with ample breaks for coffee and delicious biscuits. Then we headed for the tube, taking in an exhibition of street photography in the new concourse of King's Cross station. It's about unposed photography in public places — I suppose Geograph is at one end of that spectrum. Of course we all took pictures on the tube, to warm up for shooting in our two locations: Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Both were thronged with people: a Jesus Army had gathered in the square and a crowd was waiting in Piccadilly Circus for the World Naked Bike Ride to steam through. Just about everybody was popping off cameras and camera phones so we need have no inhibitions about photographing close up and personal. Exhilarating! Then we broke for the day, exhausted. Back at Euston I failed to find my old place of work but there were compensations. Anyway, there was homework to be done: select five photos and email them to Stephen for Sunday afternoon's slideshow and critique. On the sunny Sunday morning before breakfast I found what I think was my old place of work nearly 50 years ago. I typed, worked a telephone switchboard and made the tea. We all smoked. Back to Ibis for a hurried breakfast then got the bus to Old Street then another to the Hackney Road for Columbia Road and the Sunday flower market. Matt and Stephen briefed us in the quiet of the surprising Jesus Green. Then they let us loose in the crowded, intimate market. I was stressed out by the crush and found a more relaxed location in Ezra Street. After some refreshment we walked up Goldsmiths' Row to the Regent's Canal before heading back to Spitalfields Market for a bite of lunch before tubing back to King's Cross and the Grauniad. Five slides each presented by 30 or 40 of us made for an intensive afternoon. There were some great photos though we all admitted that most of what we'd shot was rubbish. There's an intention to post everyone's work in a Flickr group. In the meantime you can see a selection of my snaps at Link I don't like the way Google+ presents them but it was the easiest option. Many of these photos don't really work but, hey, nobody's perfect. What a great weekend!
This blog includes photos by Chris Whippet, R Sones, Oxyman. Mike Quinn, Richard Rogerson and ceridwen.
- Thu, 14 Jun 2012 at 21:45
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