Rather than do my “best of” street photography for 2018 I’ve chosen, instead, to review my year through a street photo I took each month.
After all, trying to pick your best or favourite images, is a little like being asked to choose you favourite child. Besides, I find my favourites change with time or mood, so “best of’s” become largely meaningless.
2018, it would be fair to say, has been a tough year on a personal level. There have been a number of difficult family illnesses to deal with.
With regards street photography it’s felt like a good year. I managed to get out more to shoot street, which is always a positive. I’ve also felt I’ve challenged myself more by shooting less on those occasions but getting better and more consistent images as a result.
I’ve not blogged nearly anywhere near enough this year, but I hope to make amends for that in 2019. So, with that in mind, here’s the story of my 2018 through a street photo I made each month.
January 2018 was a big milestone for me. It was the month I reached my half century and turned 50 years old. I still can’t believe I’m a man now in my 50s. My head often still thinks I’m 14!
I didn’t get out much at all to shoot street photography in January. For my birthday I did spend a long weekend in an old fisherman’s cottage in the Kent coastal town of Broadstairs.
I didn’t really take any street photos that weekend, but did manage to grab this shot of some locals chatting outside a cafe, near our holiday cottage.
I wonder if the girl could guess what was inside her package?
In February I was thrilled to be asked by Andreas, of the Urban Street Diving website, to shoot a short hour or two street photographhy project.
I often preach street photography is one of the most accessible forms of photography simply because, no matter where you live, you can step outside your front door and immediately start shooting it.
So that’s what I decided to do for Urban Street Diving and hit my local high street in Wallington, south London, one bitterly cold February weekday morning.
You can see my mini series here on Urban Street Diving.
For a number of years now I’ve been heading out to Benidorm in Spain for a week each March. This year it was no different.
To mix it up a little this year, I took an old Olympus XA4 compact film camera and a load of Portra 400 colour film with me. This image of a superhero coming out of a supermarket in Benidorm’s Old Town district was one of those I took on film.
Sadly, due to family illness, I won’t be heading out to Benidorm in 2019.
With the weather getting better in the UK for Springtime, April has always been a good month for me to get out and shoot some street photography – before wedding season starts kicking in for me!
This image, near Covent Garden in London, was taken whilst out and about doing the touristy spots with family staying for the weekend.
I always find shooting street photography difficult to do when with others. It’s usually something I prefer doing alone and losing myself in completely. However, this particular scene was too obvious to miss, if enjoyably cliched.
May is traditionally when wedding season begins in earnest for me. This May I was extremely fortunate enough to be have been booked to photograph a wedding in the Finnish city in Tampere.
Whilst there, I hit the streets in order to do some street photography. I absolutely love photographing street scenes in new places, although can find it a bit overwhelming at first – with everything being all so new and unfamiliar. I can find it takes a day or two to adjust.
However, I managed to make this image a few hours after arriving in Tampere, on the day before the wedding. I did also get out for a while on the day after the wedding too, but I don’t think anything topped this shot for me.
In June I found myself presenting at a conference up in Manchester. Staying up there the night before I did head out and shoot some street, getting one or two ok images.
But it was next morning, heading to the conference I happened across this particular street scene – and was grateful for having my trusted (but now battered) Ricoh GRII digital compact camera in my pocket.
I always preach the importance of always having a camera of some kind with you – even just going to buy some milk from the local shop.
Street scenes can happen any time, so having a pocketable Ricoh GRII – with its fast fixed 28mm lens – with you, means you’ll never miss shots at unexpected times.
On a hot, sweltering July day I found myself at the Barbican Centre, to take photos of a graduation ceremony.
No matter what I’m commissioned to shoot, I’m always thinking about street photography opportunities.
It was during ceremony intervals I spotted this opportunity presenting itself. It’s definitely one of those occasions when the frame is more questionable than the reality.
The “security” guy staring intently at me, in the background, wondering what I was up to always makes me smile.
I had the great pleasure in August of having the host of the PhotoBiz X wedding and portrait photography podcast, Andrew Hellmich, came and stay with me, whilst he was over from Australia. You can even listen to my podcast interview with Andrew here (recorded on a train no less!) where I discuss my street photography with some forthright views!
During this time I also loved meeting fellow listeners and photographers Simon Hawkins, Sara Brown, David Weightman, Mervyn Reid-Nelson, Steve Vaughan, Matt Badenoch and Anja Pohlmann.
You can see Andrew himself lurking in the background of the above street shot from London Paddington Station. That’s him in the blue tee-shirt and denim shorts, before he headed off to meet fellow wedding photographers Mark Seymour and Paul Rogers.
By September things were starting to quiten down on the wedding photography front for me. This gave me the opportunity to get out and do some other stuff.
One of these was hooking up with fellow photographers, Simon Hawkins, who I’d met the month previous and Sarah Willis-Hazarika. We headed to Greenwich to see the Great British Seaside photography exhibition – which was both enjoyable and engaging in terms of the “discussion” after.
The above shot I made on my way home on the tube after the meet.
In October, things got a tad frustrating with some fallout from the PDN Street Photography 2016 competition I had been very excited to be a winning finalist in – as judged by the likes of Colin Westerbeck and Alex Webb.
Myself and a number of very talented street photographers started to reach the end of our tether with all the lies and deceptions we’d experienced with the organisers Acuity Press and PDN magazine. A blog post all about this sorry affair will follow in the new year.
However, on the positive side, I managed to make this highly popular image in Covent Garden. Did I stake it out? Nope – it all happened in about 5 seconds.
Rain and bad weather can be the bane of most street photographers. But back in November, whilst out with my brother Dom Lehane, host of the number one hairdressing podcast How To Cut It, a torrential downpour forced us onto the tube.
As a result, I came across this colourful scene in Tottenham Court Road tube station. Without that rain it would have been a lost street photo.
I should also reserve a special mention for my brother Dom, who’s most probably the biggest fan and supporter of my street photography – and never once moans when I’m off chasing street photos when out with him! Thanks Bro!
So during the final month of 2018 I found myself doing a short one-on-one intensive workshop with someone on getting to grips with a DSLR camera.
This was also a great opportunity to get out around London’s West End hunting down some street photos.
This image from Oxford Street really epitomises the whole day in one scene: photography, gear and Christmas. It was the perfect street photography way to end the year…for now!!
Merry Christmas & Happy 2019!!!
So there we have it, my year through street photography. I look forward to catching up with you all in 2019!