Standing in one spot pays off, especially in front of an art installation in Hyde Park, Sydney which allowed me to capture images of people stopping and appreciating the work done by the exhibiting photographers and artists.
I’m forever amazed by the inspirational work done by so many photographers from all genres and I take my hat off to anyone who gets published or included in an exhibition.
I did something that I’m not proud of and I still feel guilty about it.
I might have well worn a bright red shirt emblazoned in bold lettering across the front “Westerner” because as I stood out like a sore thumb. Everyone stared or looked at me longer than necessary. This was Davao city, home of the President of the Phillipines which had been labelled as one of the most dangerous cities due to the countries war on drugs however, what I found was entirely different to what the worlds media was reporting.
Everyone who I interacted with were the opposite to how they had been portrayed, they were normal people trying to make their way in life. Pay bills, put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads and make sure their kids get an education. Pretty much like the rest of us except for two old ladies that I tried to photograph.
They saw me, I saw them and I had already decided that I was going to take their photo but every time I brought the camera up to eye level, they both turned away from me so I couldn’t see their faces, but when the camera was lowered they had their hands out wanting money.
This went on for several minutes and what seemed the only way to capture an image was to surrender and give them money. So with 20 pesos in one hand and the camera in the other I managed to capture this shot and I tried to photograph the other woman but she wasn’t having anything to do with it and continued to turn away from the camera when pointed in her direction.
The 20 Pesos quickly vanished into thin air and again they both asked for money however neither were going to allow me to take another photo. Turning to walk away I noticed that I had been watched by a woman, who was well dressed and had a look of scorn on her face. In any language I knew, in her books what I had done was wrong and I shouldn’t have handed over any money nor should I have taken their photo. She didn’t say anything as I passed but the feeling of her stare drilling holes in my back as I walked away is not something that is easy to forget.
To this day, I’m not sure why but there is lingering guilt over paying the 20 pesos, this might be due to the scorn from the local woman or something else. I don’t think I’ll ever know.
What do you think, Is my guilt about paying money justified?
Firstly, your safety is paramount. If any protest or protesters become violent towards you or others, including the police interacting with protesters, leave. Your safety is more important and must have a higher value than any photo you take and your safety always come first. No photo is worth you being injured or hurt.
Travelling, mainly for work, I had decided that the photos taken during my trip would be to show my family the famous sights of London with no intention of sharing, so I was surprised to stumble across a what looked like a protest, a peaceful protest, on a bridge, a famous bridge (Westminister Bridge) in London. What an opportunity!
Pushing through the crowds trying to get a feel of what the protest was about I found that there were plenty of photographic opportunities with good light and everyone seemed pretty happy, might be the whacky weed that was in the air, to have their photos taken.
Some people will struggle with my next comment, I selected Auto on my camera and started shooting. Why not? Camera companies spend millions of dollars developing incredibly small computers and sensors to work everything out so why not select auto.
Documentary and street photography are genres that I have always been attracted to, I find them to be challenging as you have little to no control of what is about to happen and how you capture those moments can be a challenge in itself. Ultimately you want people to feel connected to your images and to possibly inspire them in some small way.
Please remember, if you do decide to photograph a protest, remember your safety must come first over any photo opportunities.
This is an image that has stuck with me for years and was taken by Elliot Erwitt in 1946 in New York City. If you don’t know who Elliot Erwitt is, I highly recommend this interview by his son, Misha which will add some context to this image and who he is. Elliot Erwit has an amazing body of work and dare I say is an inspiration to many people, including me who have picked up a camera over the years.
I love this photo because he has got down low, real low and he has managed to maintain the dogs eye contact while showing just how small the dog really is. For me, taking this photo takes skills and some incredible forethought. He has other photos of people with small dogs and some are photos that easily recognisable.
I have always wanted to use the theme of the photo as inspiration to see what I could create. As its been pretty hot in here in Australia lately (40+ Degrees Celsius) I figured the best spot would be the boardwalk at the beach to attempt to take my concept of the small dog theme. There should be plenty of people around and some should have their pets out for a walk in the mornings or late in the day.
I sat on the kerb of the footpath and watched this little dog with its humans to see what he would do. He kept looking back behind him and turned around completely while they waited for someone else to join them.
This little one, called Melluka, rides the train on the boardwalk and keeps his human train driver company.
I asked his humans if I could take a photo of their dog and they said that he wouldn’t come near me but he did exactly the opposite and walked straight up to me and let me take his photo. Maybe he was looking for a sniff, a lick or maybe some food but he was pretty happy that he was out for a walk with his humans.
It was definitely worth getting out in the sweltering heat to photograph these dogs and their humans and I must admit that the British Bulldog photo is my favourite photo of the day.
What inspires you to get out and shoot ?
Please note that I am unable to link Elliot Erwitt’s image or text to a specific website as I am unable to find one that has all of his work located however I am going to provide two links, both from the New York Times. This link is an interview with Elliot Erwitt and an Art Review. If someone finds an appropriate link please let me know in the comments as I will update these links.
I would pretty happy if ever get to be as old as these two and still cycle, even just to get a coffee and sit by the ocean.
I took this with a Samsung Galaxy S8 and processed it ever do slightly using snapseed. Never leave home without your
Now to dig through my garage to find my bike.
I watched as these two old ladies walked across the Opera House forecourt happily chatting away not knowing if they were tourists or locals.
But what I did notice was that their shadows weren’t old and showed no signs of ageing.
There is always someone, normally a student or a backpacker holding a sign pointing down an alley to where you can buy Ugg boots in Pitt St Mall. Only their fingers move as they tightly clutch their smartphones surfing the net.
The lack of movement provided an opportunity to photograph him, albeit without his knowledge.