I’m super excited to start a new feature within my blog – Guest post.
This is something that i have been thinking about for a while. Collaborating and exchanging experiences with people who share my passion for photography is extremely fascinating to me. As an amateur street photographer, i would like to connect and hear stories of other aspiring photographers around the world and share these stories with you dear reader. In this post my guest is Christopher Wilson
Chris Wilson is an aspiring street photographer based in Krakow, Poland but originally from the suburbs of London. He loves good photos, good beer, good coffee and good conversation.
Yuri: How did you get into street photography?
Chris: I’d love to really know the answer to this better, If you saw my stuff about two years ago and a year ago they’d be very similar, but then in the space of two months it radically changed. I bought a mirrorless camera as my first “pro” camera having really gotten into taking photos with my iPhone. I basically bought it so I could “BOKEH ALL THE THINGS” and I joined a few communities to learn how I could use this camera properly. I was shooting a lot but not really street.
At some point I must have read an article on street photography or saw someone’s photos because I tried taking a few street shots (the usually 90mm equivalent lens, lots of bokeh, at great distance, and of the back of someone’s head) and it just didn’t work. So I wrote about why those photos sucked. Next thing I knew, I was hooked on street photography.
It makes sense looking back now as I’ve always found people and groups to be fascinating, for example at university I used to go “people watching” in the library with some study mates. However the actual switch in my photography happened very suddenly.
Yuri: When did you stop taking pictures and started creating images?
Chris: I guess that transformation has happened a few times in different ways. The first time it was with posed subjects and I realised I could get them to react differently by saying little things, getting them to do a different movement or something.
I learnt that again with street portraits and working out that I could change that “okay” image where the background sucked or the gesture was too subtle, into something more.
However, I’d say the most significant lesson I’ve learnt about “creating” image was from Charlie Kirk who told me that you could “create lies” with your camera. That cutting out this detail or that vital element could actually enhance the whole image.
I’m still learning this aspect though, and I’d honestly say that some of my best photos are ones I “took” rather than “created”.
Yuri: How hard it is to run a blog and where do you get ideas for your blog from?
Chris: I’ve been blogging for years so I don’t find blogging hard at all now. I have a piece of paper somewhere around with a goal I set myself in 2008 to blog “at least once a month” by 2011 I was blogging more than daily (admittedly for a range of topics). So now, only having to publish something once a week on a topic I’m deeply passionate about is fairly easy for me.
For ideas, I always have a notebook with me to save ideas, I also have an app on my phone called “drafts” where I can save quick ideas. Then I use a todo app called todoist to list out the ideas I like and remind me to write them.
I have two set times a week when I write (Monday and Tuesday morning) and I can often write on some other morning too. I write out the first draft then, and then at the weekend, brush it up, add some images, links, etc and schedule it for the coming week.
The topics usually find me, It’s often the lesson I’ve just learnt in my photography, or the idea I’m fascinated with. Maybe it’s something I heard from another photographer, on a podcast or often something about writing which I try to apply to photography.
I also sometimes do a brain dump of ideas on different topics with the goal of getting at least 10 ideas for each one. Sometimes it’s really easy, sometimes it starts hard and then gets easier over time, sometimes it’s just tough but I always eventually get at least 10 ideas (the number of ideas I actually use varies).
Yuri: Where or how do you find inspiration?
Chris: I’m trying to pour all of myself into my photography. My philosophies, faith, music taste, interesting in history and politics, stupid puns I like, everything. I often find that good writing inspires me, interesting podcasts (I really recommend street focus and on taking pictures for photography podcasts) fascinate me, and of course quality photos really inspire.
I still struggle to know where to find great photos to be inspired by. In the summer I realised that most of the social media sites and groups tend towards cheesy junk photos and practically stopped sharing my own photos. I left pretty much every group I was part of too.
Now I look at great photos on Magnum photos (of course), Burn my eye, in-public, Hardcore street photography on flickr a handful of guys on Instagram, Pinterest (I save great images I find on website, I set up a board about a photographer when I hear about them, the more I’ve done this, the more Pinterest recommends other great photographers) and what .
Krakow is also pretty good for art and photo exhibitions so I go along to some of those. The local library often puts up some amateur photographers work.
Yuri: Do you prefer working on long term projects or just shooting for pleasure?
Chris: I’ve only been shooting regularly and with a focus for a year so I’m no where near a long term project yet. I am working on one but It’s very vague and I’m letting it evolve as it goes.
I think it’s always great to have a long term idea in mind as you can consider how certain images fit into that bigger picture, but ultimately I’m focused on having fun at the moment. I had a bit of photographer’s block (basically feeling like I’d never be good and wondering what the point was in taking photos) and I realised it didn’t really matter, sure I want to get great and take amazing pictures, but ultimately I also want to have fun, so I’m doing both! If I never get great, or create a world changing project who cares, I still had fun.
Yuri: What gear do you mostly use and how important it is to you?
Chris: Since the summer I’ve had a fuji x100t and I just use that. I keep a backup battery and an extra SD card or two around (Sandisc Extreme plus) but that’s it. Oh and I take a bottle of water, notebook and pen.
I try not to care about my gear and just use what I have but I do think it makes a difference. A couple of months back my Fuji x100t decided it wanted to visit the repair man so I went back to using my iPhone. On the one hand it’s great for street photography but at the same time I found I missed shots I know I would have taken with the fuji (and probably got some I wouldn’t have got with the fuji). In general though, I shot less than I was before.
It shouldn’t matter what gear you use, but when you get used to how something is and then it changes, it upsets your system. I think that is the most important thing with gear, have the gear that encourages you to shoot. So it should be comfortable, and suit your way of shooting.
Yuri: And finally, who are your all time favourite photographers?