Street photography’s an unforgiving game. You can scour the streets for hours and hours, hoping to come away with a bunch of meaningful images and end up with nothing. And yet, you could take a casual walk about for less than an hour and come back with absolute gold. This is also what makes it such an irresistible form of photography – you never know what you’ll come across.
I started doing street photography with a bunch of like-minded people I’d connected with through communities on Instagram (I realised early on that the London photography community is a small world indeed). We had pretty much exhausted our love of photographing buildings and landmarks and were looking for the next thing, that new thing that would compel us to chuck a camera in our bags and get to shooting.
It’s easy to envy those who live in other parts of the world like New York or Paris with their elements of cinematic looking (in the case of NY) or romantic aesthetic (Paris, obviously) and wish you could be living and capturing images there instead. But it’s been easy for me, particularly as someone who grew up in London, to dismiss the potential of what I could discover on my own doorstep.
We did tons of outings in various parts of London either in large groups or smaller pairings, be that in Chinatown on a cold weekday night in the middle of winter or a South London outpost at the height of summer. We got to know very quickly that no one day would be the same. It was often a case of feast or famine when it came to whether you got something you were happy with.
But it was a great way for us to get to know each other, learn from each other and get out of our comfort zones. Some notable members of our little crew were Mohamed Abdulle (@mabdulle), Toby Ziff (@tobyziff), and Zahhar Borouhhin (@borouhhin). The fact that Zahhar was twelve years old at the time we first started shooting with him was by the by (God knows how he managed to get his parents to let him out roaming with a bunch of guys he barely knew, but we always looked after him).
We all wanted to develop by trying different forms of photography, and street photography became just another discipline to add to the others. It’s certainly benefited us all, as we’ve all gone on to work in varied fields of photography; me in portraits and fashion, Mohamed working for brands as varied as Adidas and Daily Paper, and none other than Lewis Hamilton, Zahhar for publications like Soccer Bible and Toby for…well Toby gets around.
If you’ve ever felt like street photography is something you’d like to try out, just do it. Don’t worry about having the latest camera gear either. Me and most of my peers started with smartphones before we were sure that we even wanted to progress to using proper cameras. Just set foot out of your door and take photos.
There are already numerous sources online about the great street photographers, so I’ll leave you with some of my current favourites:
Below are some sites worth looking at for some good insights and information:
Framelines - the youtube channel created by the aforementioned Shane and Josh covering many good things related to street photography, including camera reviews
Craig Whitehead/@sixstreetunder - Craig has run regular workshops here in London, but has recently created a course on Skillshare
The Candid Frame - youtube channel run by the podcast of the same name
Sean Tucker - to be honest his channel is really great in examining all aspects of photography, not just street