Tim came on a workshop with me in Liverpool around two years ago, and again in Lisbon last month. As a keen sports photographer, Tim initially found street photography quite a challenge – and it’s been interesting watching him develop over recent months. I asked him about his street photography . . .
How long have you been practising street photography? – and how did you get into it?
I’ve always had an interest in photography and cameras but, as a kid, the cost of film & developing was prohibitive for me and I certainly didn’t have a Dad who was into photography to teach me! The digital era enticed me, though, and I bought a Nikon D80 kit in 2009 to start learning proper photography but I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t understand the exposure triangle whatsoever, despite going on a local course. Eventually, I gave up and reverted to a high end Olympus compact and then progressed to buying an Olympus OMD EM10 at the start of 2015. I took it along to one of my local football club’s pre-season friendlies and quickly found myself being asked by the experienced club photographer to submit some of my images for the matchday programme. This escalated quickly and I was soon a National League licenced photographer and pitchside at my beloved club’s games and working semi-professionally for both the local evening newspaper and some nationals. After a season of this and learning so much about photography, particularly the use of ISO to ensure 1/1000th of a second for action shots, my interest in photography snowballed. So, in the summer of 2016 while I was going through a redundancy I discovered StreetSnappers and booked a one day course with Brian in Liverpool. This inspired me to get very interested in street photography. I continued with the football for three more seasons but it wasn’t allowing me the time to enjoy street photography so I recently gave up the football photography and try to have one or two Saturdays a month shooting street.
What is ‘street photography’? What does it mean to you?
I like photos of real people in real situations. Images can be “the moment”, amusing or, to a limited extent, artistic. For me, people are the key, though. I do enjoy monochrome images which I tend to prefer over colour.
Which street photographers do you admire – and why?
When I first got interested in street, I saw an image on social media by a Singaporean photographer called Jimmy Tong which really inspired me – a monochrome night shot with lots of contrast. I now have far too many books and not enough time to look at them – I certainly like Vivian Maier and also documentary-style images such as Don McCullin.
How would you describe your own style of street photography?
Possibly up close & personal but I don’t think I have a particular style. I’d like to think that the quality of my images is improving as I become more experienced.
Has that style naturally evolved or have you made a conscious effort to steer yourself in a particular direction?
I think it’s changing and developing with experience. I became too preoccupied with getting close and shooting random people for the sake of it. I went on Brian’s StreetSnappers Lisbon workshop in September and learnt so much more about layers, Chiaroscuro and also working to a brief. Layers, in particular, is a big help to me and will stop my endless up close & personal style. I also enjoyed a StreetSnappers meet-up in Blackpool this summer – this was great fun and it was interesting to see how other photographers went about their work and the final images they presented. I would highly recommend joining a meet-up!
What challenges have you faced as a street photographer?
I live in Shropshire where street photography opportunities are limited so shooting street is an event – a train trip into London, to Liverpool or Blackpool.
I’ve only ever suffered one negative reaction when photographing in public after accidentally stumbling into a political march in London. Brian’s advice on shooting demonstrations should be followed! I was naïve and was fortunate to escape with just some severe bruising but thankfully no damage to my camera.
What camera / lens do you like to use?
Thanks to my redundancy, my beloved Leica Q (28mm full frame) and I’ve recently added a Fuji X100F which is 35mm equivalent. I like prime, fixed lenses. Zooms and interchangeable lenses are a hindrance to me when shooting street – I like a fixed lens which focuses my mind more on composition.
What’s your workflow and preferred post-production method?
I shot JPG when I did football photography and used Photo Mechanic to quickly deal with the images from an ingest, cropping and straightening perspective in order to hit online and print deadlines. However, I have recently started shooting RAW and this is new to me. I was using the Photos app in my MacBook but I have now invested in Capture One 12 Pro.
How and where do you share or display your images? Any plans to do more?
I share a few images in the StreetSnappers FaceBook group and I’ve recently reactivated my old Instagram account. I am hoping to have the material to self-publish a book of my images from the Lisbon workshop and, in time, I’d quite like to create my own website.
What about the future of street photography – where do you see it going?
Everybody can be a street photographer if they want due to the capabilities of the cameras on smart phones. I think it’s a fantastic genre and encompasses so many sub-genres that it has the potential to grow and subdivide countless times.
Here’s some of Tim’s work . . .