#maexhair: Ten Commandments of Street Photography

01. 10 CommandTWENTY SIXTEEN WAS REALLY THE YEAR of the still image for me.  My MultipleMediaManagement™ hat, as it were, (more like doo-rag) was donned more often than not, in the guise of the maexhair (Media Assassin Extraordinaire crosshair).  This was originally intended to refer to my photography persona; waaay before my journalistic self stepped in and usurped that handle.

This year, twenty-seventeen, has seen me throw myself into the deep-end with Street Photography. It’s one of those areas, that, up until now, I hadn’t really taken too seriously; strangely so, as I studied photography back in school, and street photography is really where I originally cut my teeth; on the cold, concrete, unforgiving streets of Bermondsey Saaaf Laaandan! [Cockney Accent]

07. Violins _MG_5167Photography for me somehow got left behind though, in the wake of the birth of DeskTopPublishing graphic design, and fancy image manipulation software, that marked the advent of affordable home computers in the late 80’s.

DTP then made way for DeskTopVideo in the 90’s, with early titling, and flaming logo graphics, to overlay on Standard definition video via fairly inexpensive genlock cards that ran on the amazing Commodore Amiga. Things progressed throughout the noughties, and my career saw me transition through design, production and Multimedia.  Now, at least for me, with the return to photography the cycle is complete.

I’ve carried at least one of my dslrs (sometimes two) everywhere with me for most of this year; ready for whatever the world has to throw up, and in doing so, have come up with my own Ten Commandments of street photography. Not necessarily hard and fast rules, more like guidelines, that assist me when out on a mission. Every street photographer has his/her own method, and I’m told it’s always good to share, so here goes…

02. Crane IMG_1043Rule 1: ALWAYS have your camera, and make sure you know how to use it, and that it’s ready to SHOOT! CLACK! [sound effects]

Rule 2: If in doubt; SHOOT!… ask questions later… CLACK!

Rule 3: OVERCOME the fear of subjects seeing you shooting them; then SHOOT! CLACK!

Rule 4: THINK while shooting; framing; foreground; background. Be prepared to move if the composition is not right; then SHOOT! CLACK!

Rule 5: SLOW DOWN, use your eyes to see things developing in the scene before you’ve even raise the camera; look for good light, and SHOOT! CLACK!

06. Sing Out IMG_9804Rule 6: REDUCE “Chimping!” as it impacts on shooting time, and you’ll end up missing shots… (chimping means; constantly reviewing images on the back of your camera screen. You can do that in your own time when the session is done) CLACK!

Rule 7: DON’T CHASE SHOTS, make the shots come to you, when it does come to you, thoroughly work the scene! SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT! CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!

Rule 8: don’t waste time crying over missed shots; they are gone, and they ain’t coming back! (Actually sometimes they do come back, but when that happens, see that as a bonus and SHOOT! CLACK!)

Rule 9: DEVELOP a style. This will come the more you SHOOT! CLACK! 

03. Wreckless eye IMG_2140Rule 10: ALWAYS SHOOT! RAW… *This last rule is not really a must, but it will help no end, in post processing the hell out of those shots with potential, that somehow got over-exposed.

I carry a small non-descript shoulder bag, that doesn’t look like a camera bag. Inside, is my camera, a spare battery, a lens-cloth, and a second lens so that I can vary it up. The bag goes everywhere with me; shops, meetings, recreation… I carried it so much this year, that I feel strange whenever I decide not to carry it, or forgotten it, and I’ve often turned right around and gone straight back home to get it.

For some of the example shots on this page, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, fully-strapped with my Canon, and lo and behold, Serendipity-doo-dah decided to do her thang!04. Silhouettes IMG_2501CLACK! Then there are days where I’ve set aside some time specifically to do Street Photography. On those occasions I really am fully-strapped, as I like to go in Jesse James style with two guns blazing!… You know how we do! [smile] CLACKety-CLACK!

Of course I’ve engaged other forms of photography this year; events, portraits, architectural, products, etc… not to mention the usual videography stuff that I’m more known for as JetBlakInk™.  I’ve also launched the MicroSeries Life And Times Of a MultipleMediaManager™, to commemorate ten years of Multiple Media Service, but there’s something about being on the street, in the moment, and quick with the camera; and looking back over some of the many images I’ve made, I’m definitely witnessing my own growth, and unique style develop like an image in the dark room before my eyes.

[A sizeable amount of my favourite images which I have made this year, can be viewed on Instagram, twitter, flickr and other social network sites using the searchtag #maexhair… enjoy]


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