I once had a boss whose motto was ‘JBDI’ (just bloody do it!) and I think he had a point. I’m constantly hearing about street photographers complaining because ‘there’s nothing to do’. Well, I think they’re wrong and there is plenty to do.

Yesterday I needed to be in Liverpool (for legitimate work-related reasons) and, looking around for street photography opportunities, I quickly realised there were none. The streets were empty. But I thought ‘hang on – there’s an opportunity here’. The light was stunning, with bright sunshine and a clear blue sky, so I just decided to do some photography. Not street photography – just photography. And I really enjoyed myself. No pressure to get lots of keepers, just some leisurely walking, exploring and observing.

Here’s what I learnt yesterday (or what I reminded myself of) . . .

  • You do not need people to take pictures in urban environments.
  • Look for the detail: you’ll often find ‘beauty in the mundane’ in the most unlikely places.
  • It’s good to try something new. For example, I rarely shoot black & white but I decided to force myself to do something different so I set up my X100V with the Acros film simulation + red filter and off I went.
  • Always think – really think – when you’re walking around with nothing much to do. As I was walking the empty streets of Liverpool I had a lightbulb moment and came up with an idea for a project to shoot in Liverpool. Now I can look forward to developing it, planning it and then eventually shooting it.
  • You’re much more focused – and productive – when you’re walking round with a project in your mind.
  • Don’t get hung up about ‘labels’. Photography is photography. Just get out there and enjoy it. Produce pictures YOU like. Make them for YOU.
  • Liverpool is a great city, people or no people. I run 3-4 workshops there every year and would encourage you to give it a try.
  • Batteries run down easily in very cold weather.
  • Shooting anything is good for the soul – and it keeps you fresh. Just get out there and shoot. JBDI.
  • I really miss playing cricket (despite the snail reference in the picture above!).

I’ll post a few pics from yesterday below. Nothing special, but I enjoyed taking them 🙂

Brian Lloyd Duckett, UK Street photographer, street photography workshop in Liverpool, 2021

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